Are both our faith and works needed for salvation?

Are both our “faith and works” needed for Salvation?

It is a long-standing Christian tenet that a person has to have faith and do good works, i.e. follow the Ten Commandments, Aseret ha-Dibrot, Torah ( Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21). As to whether our obedience to the Law is a requirement to be saved, not just faith, is where teachings differ even among those in traditional Christianity. But not to traditional Judaism and Islam that hold “our works” to be essential. What is the truth? What exactly is the proper role of “our faith and works” to salvation? Do our “works” really lead to salvation, or what some believe that having “works” is proof that one is “saved”? Are our good works the “result of salvation”? Notice the reward for our obedience or “works”/deeds:eternal life
  

Rom. 2:6-9 ” Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;”
The preceding verses clearly support the principle that the reward for “patient continuance” in”our works” is “immortality, eternal life”; whereas, the consequence of sin is death. Why no mention of reward for our faith? Is this really the contextual truth? Eternal life being the result of having “works”, the righteousness of obedience(Rom. 6:16), what then is the end-result of having faith? What then, is in it for “our faith”? 

Follow God’s commandments:
The Law is the Ten Commandments given to Moses in 2 tablets of stone. This defined sin as a violation of that Law as in I John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
From Genesis, disobedience (sin) to the Law even before it was given in Mt. Sinai, nevertheless was met with punishment of eternal death. This is the final death (2nd death) from which there is no resurrection; hopeless, were it not for the set plan of Passover Lamb “slain from the foundation”, as a substitute for us, as in:
Rev. 13:8 “…..the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (NIV)
Contrariwise, a natural death (1st death) is a consequence of being mortal, and as such can die. If Adam/Eve did not sin, they would still die the natural 1st death as they were mortals. Having been created, as such, humans already have been destined to die and afterwards the judgment at resurrection, as in:
Heb. 9:27″It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

On the other hand, eternal death, the 2nd death is the consequence of Adam’s sin. It even includes any human being, peri-Adamic, i.e., any human before, during or after Adam’s life on earth. This principle is based on all sin imputed to one man (Adam), after the Law was given at Mt Sinai, so death of one man, i.e. man-Jesus’ can also be imputed to and counted as our death, (and that of humanity) as in: 
Rom. 5:12-15 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
Romans 5:17″For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15:21 “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.”

The Old Testament (Tanach) clearly confirms that eternal death (2nd death) is a consequence of sin:
Gen. 2:17″but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Referring to the 2nd and eternal death. Note that Adam and Eve did not actually die after they sinned but was driven out of the garden of Eden, lived and had offspring and died a natural death).

Gen. 3:3″but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.”

Ps. 34:21″Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.”

Ezek. 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him”

The New Testament also confirms that eternal death (2nd) is the punishment for sin:
Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
James 1:15 “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

Romans 6:16″Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”
Romans 7:5″For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”
Romans 7:11″for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me”

The take-home message from the preceding verses clearly exacts eternal death for those who do not follow the Ten Commandments, and continue living in sin, following the “flesh”. 

Role of Faith and “works” in defining righteousness ?

Following the Law is commanded for all, otherwise the punishment is eternal (2nd) death. Righteousness that comes from following the Law has its reward, but not our justification or reconciliation with the Father for Adam’s sin, which comes from faith as in:
Gal. 2:16 “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”
It is “our faith in Christ Jesus” that justified and reconciled us to the Father. It is the “righteousness of faith, not the righteousness of works”. Our own righteousness that comes with following the Law does not compute, as in:
Isa 64:6“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”.
Rom 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”.
Whatever “goodness” we have is not good enough for reconciliation with the Father. Even Job learned that his own righteousness, following the law on his own, is not what the Father is calling for. Read the whole Book of Job which shows that God decides what is required, even when others consider Job “righteous and an upright man”; God punishes even the righteous as a type for what would happen to man-Jesus. The narrative in Genesis about being “like God” is not going to come to fruition by the action or “works” of Adam/Eve themselves eating the “fruit”, and for that matter, by any man, except by the man-Jesus himself. Nothing can any man do for justification, except to have faith. Rather, death as a consequence of sin, has to be paid for. It took the death of man-Jesus, as a Passover Lamb, to be substituted and imputed for the death of humanity. Jesus’ death, which was his “works” (including following the Law) did not gain “righteousness” for reconciliation of mankind. Rather, it was Jesus’ “righteousness of faith” in the Father, trusting that his death will account for justification and reconciling us back to Father and against the eternal death of humanity . Faith was counted by the Father, in love, as righteousness worthy of reconciliation/justification. As Paul said, in 

Rom. 5:6-10 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Righteousness as accepted by God for reconciliation is the “righteousness of faith”, so no one can boast, not the “righteousness of works”, even that of man-Jesus. Having been justified, we then shall (future) be saved. We need to be justified first, and be reconciled with the Father, before salvation comes in the future.

Notice that it was not just anybody’s faith; rather it is the faith of Jesus, to initiate this process, as in 

Rom 3:22-23″Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”

Eph. 2:8-10 ” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Because of the Father’s love and by his grace, that he counted faith for righteousness; the “righteousness of faith” that was for reconciliation. 

How did we actually get saved
?

As Rom. 5:10 states, Jesus’ death, as proof or aftermath of his faith in the Father that what was promised will come into effect, reconciled us to the Father and ends there. But this “reconciliation/justification” was not based on that “works of Jesus”. It was not because of the “righteousness of works” so “no one can boast”. Rather, it was the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith” that the Father will count his death as full payment for the eternal death of mankind, that reconciled us. That said, while Jesus’ faith was the basis for “reconciliation/justification” that did not actually save us. Instead, we are “saved by his life”. Meaning, Jesus’ faith that the Father would resurrect him back to life for us to be saved.; again “faith-based”, not “works-based”.

What then in his resurrection or his life that empowered us to be saved? Consider what Jesus said before he died in John 16:7, that he has to go the Father in heaven to receive the Holy Spirit for us:

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

Jesus had to be resurrected to receive this promised “power” and “gift” of the Holy Spirit, based again on Jesus’ faith and trust in the Father. Jesus acknowledged this receipt of the HS to be crucial, for without which, salvation will not happen even in his life. And with that gift and promise of the Holy Spirit in us, what then? John 1:12 states that this is the power that will help us becomes “sons of God”, 

John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Note that without the Holy Spirit in us, we will not become “sons of God” And having such, gives us “immortal/spirit bodies” at resurrection, which is the essence of “salvation” from eternal death. This HS is a gift based on the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith”, and not his “works”. And, this was an unwritten covenant between the Father and YHVH/Jesus before any action of Jesus materialized, before the foundation of the world. Hence, trust in the Father that he will fulfill all he promised to YHVH/Jesus and righteousness that comes from “faith instead of works”. Faith or substance/evidence because YHVH/Jesus was with God the Father (Compare Jn. 1:1 and Heb. 11:1 ).

Holy Spirit prophesied to come in Old and New Testaments

Ezek. 32:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow”
Ezekiel. 39:29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” 

Joel 2:28-29″And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Compare with Ac.2:14-21)

Isa. 32:15-17 “till the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”

Isa.44:3-5 “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel”

Zech. 12:10 “And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem”

Matt. 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Jn. 1:33 “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

Jn. 7:37-39 “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

Jn 14:16-17, 26 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bein you.But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Jn. 15:26-27“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

Jn. 16:13 (AMP).“But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the Truth. For He will not speak His own message ; but He will tell whatever He hears , and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come ”   

Mk. 1:7-8 “And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Lk. 3:16 “John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

 Lk 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Lk 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Ac 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  

 Ac 1:5 “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Instead of the Ten Commandments written in our “stone heart”, the Holy Spirit was prophesied to come into us and write them in the “fleshly tables” of our heart, and empower us to follow. 


Fulfillment of the Promise
:

Ac 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Ac.2:32-33″God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

 Ac 2:38-39 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Rom. 8:11-13 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Rom. 8:14-17 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Eph.3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”
Clearly, the preceding verses confirmed that Jesus received this HS from the Father and now has been poured to the apostles starting the day of Pentecost and to many during that time and still being given into us. This will bring life and strength to our mortal bodies for so long as we allowed ourselves to be led by and to walk with the HS. With it, we are adopted to “Sonship”, to be “born” as “sons of God” at resurrection.

Does the presence of the Holy Spirit of power in us, take away our freedom of choice?



Devoid of the Holy Spirit, Adam & Eve had the freedom of choice and they chose wrongly; a bane to whole humanity. Without the Holy Spirit on the other hand, Abraham, also with the freedom to choose, followed God, on faith that his promises to him will be fulfilled. Clearly, without the Holy Spirit of power, one can choose rightly or wrongly. Nonetheless, no matter how good we are, still we are as “filthy rags”(Isa. 64:6).
However, some teachers have it that the Holy Spirit in us is so powerful that we have no “freedom of choice” and in a way has to follow it. Many instances of “forcible compliance” have been mentioned, for those prior to the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of power was given. As a classic example, notable among them of God’s prevailing power no matter what, was the story of Jonah. The narrative goes that God commanded him to go and warn Nineveh of impending destruction in the hands of God. But, he was so stubborn that instead, he went the opposite way from Nineveh. He was then swallowed by a “big fish”. He was praying before he died in the belly of the fish. After 3 days and 3 nights, he was vomited in the shore of Nineveh, where he was resurrected to life. Fear, being the beginning of wisdom(Prov. 9:10), he then followed God’s command and warned the inhabitants of Nineveh of their impending doom. It can be argued that Jonah was being forced, and he was. Yet, even with that horrible experience, he could still say “No” to God. And there are and will be people in that category that will end up in the “lake of fire”. However, Jonah wised up and followed God this time around, as he should. 

The preceding example is ample enough to support the principle that even when forced and without the Holy Spirit of power in us, freedom of choice is maintained. Still, it begs the question: what if we have this Holy Spirit of power? Does it negate our freedom to choose? The narrative about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane proved otherwise. Fully imbued with the Holy Spirit, still he did not follow his own will. Instead, he “walked in the Spirit” and let the Father’s will “be done”, as in:

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
This is what the Father wants and hopes that we will do, to be “one” with him as his way is “the way, the truth and the life”John 14:6) Our battle is spiritual (Eph. 6:12), to overcome the flesh using the power of the Holy Spirit in us. God desires a “mature and willing soldier”, not a robot. 

Summary:
The aftermath of faith is reconciliation or justification, nothing more. As crucial a step that is, it is just the beginning of the process of salvation. Having been reconciled, we then “shall be saved by his life”. Jesus had to be resurrected to receive the gift of the the Holy Spirit for us , as promised by the Father. The “righteousness of faith”, initiated by Jesus and becomes actionable by us, was the acceptable payment for Adam’s eternal death ( and the whole mankind’s) due to sin that the Father recognized, not the “righteousness of works”, so no man (including man-Jesus) can boast. Conversely, “righteousness of works” is the principle that will “render reward” i.e., future salvation, eternal life/immortality at resurrection, for those who continue to walk “in the Spirit”, those who “bear fruits of the Holy Spirit”. While actionable by us, these are works of the Spirit in us and in conjunction with our “spirit of man”, although strictly speaking not ours, per se. 
Salvation is attainment of immortality, eternal life ( Rom. 2:6-9). Jesus proved this with his own resurrection to immortality; he was changed from man-Jesus, in a twinkling of an eye after 3 days and 3 nights being dead in the tomb, into an immortal and glorious body. As Jesus received the Holy Spirit coming out of the water of the River Jordan and with this power that he followed perfectly, he became “one” with the Father. His works or obedience were the “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, and again, strictly speaking not his own, per se. After receiving the Holy Spirit for us from the Father at resurrection, he then at Pentecost gave his church this gift. The “elect” then used this power for sanctification by following the Law, now written, “not in tables of stone but in the fleshly tables of their heart”, to walk in the Spirit.
Our faith and works are needed indeed. But, how did we have faith and works? Paul stated in:

Rom. 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”

As humans we were created with ears to hear material things. But, it is God who opens our ears (Matt 16:17) for faith to come and for us to understand”spiritual truth”, a gift, for us to do “good works”. While these are our works, they actually are “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, given as a gift based on the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith and therefore by ” the grace of God”.

 

Yes, having “works” is proof, but not that one is already “saved” which is yet future at resurrection, nor good works the “result of salvation”. Rather, “good works” accepted by the Father are an indication or as a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, the power that the “spirit of man” follows, to bring forth “fruits of the Holy Spirit”. 
Trust is evidence-based, i.e., faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Heb. 11:1). CreatorYHVH/Jesus was with the Father (John 1) from the very beginning and knew of his power and will deliver what he promised. He then trusted him with all that was promised him. Righteousness of man-Jesus’ faith imputed his death for the death of humanity, the “righteousness of faith” for reconciliation/justification of mankind. On the other hand, “righteousness of man-Jesus’ “works” result in his “immortality/eternal life”. With his life, he could then receive the promised Holy Spirit from the Father, to then be given to us; as in, we are “saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10). Similarly and on the same mechanism, righteousness of our faith imputed our eternal death to the death of man-Jesus for “reconciliation and justification”; righteousness of our “works” results in our “immortality/eternal life”. 

In essence, righteousness of faith brings about reconciliation or justification; whereas, righteousness of works/obedience leads to salvation, i.e., immortality/eternal life. Ultimately, all boil down to God’s love that brings about grace for our reconciliation and salvation. He established the plan for both goals. To paraphrase John 3:16, God so loved the world that he graced and gifted us with his only begotten Son to die as a Passover Lamb, substituted for our death so that we will be reconciled to him. And having done so, we still needed to be saved as promised to his Son. His death, as seminal it was, it was not the proximate cause of our salvation; rather,it reconciled or justified us to the Father. Jesus’ life post resurrection gave us the power to be “sons and daughters of God”, as in:

John 1:12 ““But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”
Original post: 3/30/17

BORN AGAIN?

Born Again?

Are you a “born-again Christian”? Many in today’s world, claim now to be so (1). But is this a tenable teaching? When, really, can one be “born again”?


A Must, to see the Kingdom of God

The critical significance of being “born again” cannot be overemphasized. Jesus himself alluded to this principle when Nicodemus approached him “at night”. Notice the narrative in John 3:1-8 (NIV):

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Jesus affirmatively without equivocation and emphatically, that the only way to see the kingdom of God, and by common parlance be saved, is to be “born again”. For anyone who was already born, it can be puzzling to be born again. And Nicodemus, a learned and member of the Jewish ruling Council, carried the same doubt. Continuing on:

How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

From the above narrative, one sees that Jesus acknowledged the difference between the 2 births as far as the original makeup and end-product, i.e., “flesh gives birth to flesh” but the “Spirit gives birth to spirit“.  It originates with flesh/matter and the finished product is flesh; and so does the spirit starts it and finished with spirit-product. There is a physical birth that manifests as flesh-composed and a spiritual birth that manifests as spirit-composed. 


Birthing is a Process

As a common knowledge, being born of water in a physical birth is a process. Biologically, it takes a process of fertilization of the ovum by the sperm (both matter) to develop into a zygote, then development into maturity for about 9 months in the womb of a mother before delivery as a full-term newborn flesh-baby, i.e., “flesh gives birth to flesh“. Similarly, and by deduction, being born of the Spirit is a process that follows the same stages, spirit to spirit, i.e., the “spirit of man” (psyche/mind, the spirit-component of man) has to be “fertilized” by the spirit of God, goes through the process of mind-development in the “womb of the church” through sanctification and guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, develop wisdom, bear fruits shown in action, before delivery into “full-term” immortal glorious-spirit body at resurrection; i.e., “spirit gives birth to spirit”. This spirit-birth is yet future as in:
For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God”(Rom. 8:19). (at the resurrection of the firstfruits.”



As physical development in the womb may not come to maturity and can “abort“, so can spiritual development in the church may not come to fruition (by not being overcomers) and although “written in the book of life” (Rev. 3:5; 17:8; 20:15; 22:19; Phil. 4:3) may not “bear fruits of the Holy Spirit” and miss out. 


Why the need for the Holy Spirit in us?

Man is weak as far as the “flesh” is concerned because this “flesh-body” is ephemeral and will die and decay as it was formed from matter, dust, ground, earthy and will go back thereto, as in Eccl. 12:7
and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
It did not come directly from God, unlike the “breath of life” (spirit of man) that made the body a “living being” (compare Gen. 2:7, Jer 18:1-6 and Rom.9:21). But this “spirit of man” gets all its influences from the physical senses and stores them in memory; it becomes a composite of all the flesh experiences.This “spirit of man” needs re-education through the guidance, direction and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, to be strong, be “one” with God, before a “glorious body” will be formed. Jesus alluded to the weakness of man’s flesh in:
Matthew 26:40-45 “And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? . See also Mk. 14:38-40


How will man be strengthened ?

Prophesy has been made to achieve this event of empowering man. Consider the following:
Jer. 18: 1-4 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. (Man sinned and became marred so God remade the clay to be better)
Isa. 29:16 “You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding “?” (we were made clay but marred and incomplete).
Isa. 64:8 “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (God is still working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit). 
Isa. 45:9 “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?”
Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary” (strength was future, but now is developing, as the Holy Spirit has been given)
Jeremiah 31:25 “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes”

Rom. 9:20 “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” ( we were made flesh + “breath of life”).
The preceding verses proved that while man was made as such, God will re-visit him to be transformed and “be made again”.


Why and the Ultimate End?



The answer lies in Heb 2:6-18:
But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. 

But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.      

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.For in that he himself hath suffered “.
Essentially, man was created lower than angels, flesh-composed but with the “spirit of man” in him. Yet, he is the best of creation and destined to “reign or dominion over all” (Gen. 1:26). Even so, he is vulnerable to sickness and death(first). As Heb. 9:27 states:

it is appointed for man to die once and after that the resurrection“. 

Being matter/flesh-composed, Adam would die a natural death, “as appointed“, which is the 1st death. In general,  all flesh deteriorates, ages and dies. The consequence of sin of Adam in Genesis is death, eternal death or 2nd death, not natural death. Since Adam sinned and imputed to humanity, this resurrection  referred to for all is towards “damnation” or “eternal or second death” in “Gehenna fire” (John 5:29) unless this death has been paid for.  

This is why the Creator YHVH(Jesus) became human to suffer death by crucifixion (not a natural death) so that through his death and on his faith, he can “deliver humanity from the fear of death“. And this, by having his death, as a substitute (Passover-lamb) for mankind. This then reconciles humanity to the Father. With the resurrection of Jesus, he was then given the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (by the righteousness of faith of Jesus) to be subsequently given to us. The Holy Spirit in us then “sanctifies” those who follow instead of rejecting his will.

This prophecy that God will re-shape and strengthen man found the start of its general fulfillment for mankind on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of God was sent. Read this event in Acts Chapters 1 & 2 when this power was given. The same power that dwells in the “spirit of man”, in the holiest of the temple which is in us, has been guiding, teaching, nurturing the “spiritual zygote” being developed in us during this “period of sanctification“. Remember that God does not dwell in a “temple made by hands” (Acts 7:48). The Holy Spirit is the power that is writing the Ten Commandments, “not in tables of stones but in the fleshly tables of our heart”(2 Cor. 3:3). Paul continued to affirm that this is the power that helps our weakness and strengthens us, as in:

Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;”




How and to whom this Holy Spirit was given?

For us to answer the question, one has to be clear about the effect of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Specifically, Jesus’ death is substitutionary for our “second/eternal death” that came about because of Adam’s sin at the garden of Eden. His death reconciles us to the Father. Again, his death is a payment for the consequence of Adam’s sin so that we will be reconciled to the Father. As necessary as that death is, his death did not finally save us. Rather, we are saved by “his life” (has to be resurrected from death to life) as in Rom. 5:10 ,

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” 



He needed to die first, be resurrected to life to go get this Holy Spirit from the Father, as in John 16:7:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you”


Summary:

To be “born again” is to manifest as a “glorious spirit-composed body” which can only happen at resurrection, not before and not now. Much like flesh-birth that the zygote has to develop before actual birth, spirit-birth is also a process that takes time to develop before it actually happens in a”twinkling of an eye” (I Cor. 15:52). Jesus’ death paid for the sin of humanity as a consequence of Adam’s sin. On the faith of Jesus, he was then resurrected by the Father to go to heaven and receive the promise of the Holy Spirit of power. Jesus then subsequently has been giving this power to those who believe, I.e., “the faithful”. Through a process of “sanctification” by the Holy Spirit of God, we then become “one” with the Father. Any “good works, decision or righteousness” that come from our “flesh” without the guidance of the Holy Spirit are as “filthy rags” and as “dung” to God (Isa. 64:6;Rom. 3:10; Phil. 3:8-9). While not on our own flesh , it still “our works” but due to the “gift of God” which is the power of the Holy Spirit. Even Job has to be “lectured” by God that while “perfect” on his own, that he was still dirty in the eyes of God. (Read the whole book of Job). 
Our righteousness is the “righteousness of our faith” that started with faith “of” Jesus for which he received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit then given to the faithful to bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, not fruits of our flesh. It has to be God’s fruits in us and not our fruits that come from flesh. One can deny or reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because freedom of choice is key to the development of wisdom and to be “one” with the Father. Even Jesus with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has to correctly choose between “his” will and that of the Father’s (Matt. 26:39; Lu.22:42) to be “one” with Him. 

References:

1. History of born again:

http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Born-Again-Christians-Christianity-Evolution/2015/02/06/id/623238/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_again
http://www.giveshare.org/churchhistory/born%20again.htm
http://about-i-am.net/bornagain.html

Original post:March 12, 2017