We all have decisions, choices, to make in life. Every day we make choices from the very time we wake until we close our eyes and venture into the world of sleep. How we sleep also depends on a choice. How many forget to pray for protection while in this state? I seem to remember a prayer I prayed as a child, the words went something like this. "Lord, if I die before I wake, I pray you Lord my soul to take". It is only now, the significance of this prayer is being understood by me.
I guess the three most significant choices we make are,
1. What will I believe?
2. What will I do with my life.
3. Who will I marry?
I notice the first decision, that of 'what will I believe' impacts on the two that follow. Before you are born, what your parents have as commitments and interests will also guide you in this decision until later in life you may change through other circumstances you bring on yourself. None of us can blame our parents for where we end up if we are not content to be where we choose. For me the first belief is the most important, for it should contain our accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour or the rejection of Him. For this part, I would refer you to Romans 8:1 to 17. For ease of reading, I have split the reading into two. One is regenerate man and the second part is unregenerate man.
Regenerate Man reading.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. To be spiritually minded is life and peace. You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Now that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. By the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body. Now you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father”. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Unregenerate Man reading.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, but to those who walk according to the flesh.
Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, for to be carnally minded is death, because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. If you live according to the flesh you will die.
You will not read the above version in your Bible as it is all together, but separating it up seems to bring a certain clarity to me. You would have noted the words in bold type, 'Spirit Himself' and 'our spirit'. This is all about the 'Holy Spirit' and the 'spirit of man' communicating to each other. This only happens for those who have sought forgiveness and are living with the help of the Holy Spirit, who is not only advising them how to live their lives, but providing the power to live their lives in accordance with the revealed will of God. You would also notice in these readings a common theme which flows through the whole of our Bible. From the Two Trees in the Garden of Eden (Gen.2:9) to the Book of Revelation (Rev. 3:20). Law and Grace.
So what is something hidden in these verses that has not yet been revealed? Let me draw your attention to four of the above verses. Romans 8, verses nine, ten, eleven and thirteen.
You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.
If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Now that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
By the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body. Now you will live. Pardon.
Having discovered the hidden message, what does it mean for us? If you reverse these four, you will find they represent the four chief blessings of divine grace. These are only available to regenerate man.
So what does unregenerate man base their life on? Easy answer. Themselves. Know yourself. Self examination. The power of positive thinking. I can do this. New Age teaching. The secret lies within yourself.
This should be the opposite to what we believe as regenerated man. They say 'Know yourself'. The believers says, 'Know God'. So what is the difference? It is only by knowing God enables the Holy Spirit to bring understanding and reveal the real self to you. Doing this by our own efforts or strength, in our own way, is really the first temptation presented to Jesus in the desert and to Eve in the Garden of Eden. I can do this by myself. I don't need God. As believers we have moved from the stone age where the law was written on stone tablets, now having and accepting the ways of God to be written, implanted in our hearts and the 'spirit of man' bears witness to the indwelling presence of God.