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New Creation: Safe From Men’s Prying Eyes

You’d like to be able to explain it, wouldn’t you. Do you think if God explained how He did this, your mind would be capacious enough to take it in. Or do you think if He gave the scientific formula for creation out of nothing you’d be able to say, “You know, I think I worked that out for myself already?” No, my dear friends, if God was to speak the language and the mathematics and the physics that was necessary to express creation out of nothing and virginal conception our minds would seek to expand to their limit to take it in until we reach the the point that we said, “I’m sorry that I asked the question. I am just a man or a woman, a boy or a girl. This is too great for me!” And you see, that’s the point that we come to recognize that here is the difference between the believer and the unbeliever. That’s the point where the believer is content to say, “You are God and I am not, and I’m content that it should be that way.” Whereas the unbeliever will say, with Friedrich Nietzsche, “If there is a God who can do such things, how can I bear not to be that God; and so I will not believe.” Yes, it is an amazing, supernatural miracle; but like God’s great works—creation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection—done safe from men’s prying eyes. He brings light out of darkness. He brings His Son into the dark womb of a virgin

Significantly, the Holy Spirit hovered over the Lord Jesus and the waters of His baptism—when he took to Himself a sign of repentance, as the sin-bearer of His people. He would be baptized with another baptism—a bloody judgment at the cross (Mark 10). The Spirit was coming on Him in the form of a dove, indicating that He was the antitype of the Ark—in whom everyone who was united would be redeemed. He was the greater Israel, who would pass through the judgment of baptism (i.e. at the cross) and so bring about the true and greater Exodus for all who believe in Him (Luke 9:31). The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God” (Heb. 9:14). This means that throughout the entire life of the Lord Jesus, culminating in His atoning death on the cross, the Spirit was energizing Him and active in the participation of His work. This enables the Spirit to take the work that Jesus did and apply it to the lives of His people today. How can an act that happened 2000 years ago on a wooden instrument of execution effect change in me today? The answer is simple—because the Holy Spirit was there enabling the Lord Jesus to offer Himself to God on my behalf. Amazingly, we are told that Jesus was also raised “by the Spirit” when Paul tells the church in Rome, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11). Jesus was functionally “born again” in the resurrection from the dead by the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is, by the Spirit, the regenerate One in the resurrection. This enable the Spirit to regenerate us. Sinclair Ferguson ties together the role of the Holy Spirit in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ in order to bring about the new creation when he made the following observation.

The Spirit who was present and active at Christ’s conception as the head of the new creation, by whom He was anointed at baptism (John 1:32-34), who directed Him throughout His temptations (Matthew 4:1), empowered Him in His miracles (Luke 11:20), energized Him in His sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14), and vindicated Him in His resurrection (1 Timothy 3:16Romans 1:4), now indwells disciples in this specific identity.

The Effect

Once Christ had finished the work of redemption—the securing of the new creation—through His death and resurrection, He ascended to heaven in order to pour out His Spirit on His people. The Apostle Paul draws together this most important truth when he writes, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, that He might redeem those who were under the Law so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father” (Gal. 4:4-6)! The Son of God purchased the Holy Spirit, and His regenerating work, for all those for whom He died. The Spirit now comes and fills the hearts of believers. He forms the Son of God in our hearts, even as He formed the human nature of the Son of God in the womb of the virgin. The end result is that we too become sons and heirs of God. We have new life breathed into us. As Paul so boldly explains, “If anyone is in Christ he is new creation, old has passed away, behold the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:14). William Still captured the nature of the Spirit’s work in the hearts of believers when he wrote:

What is the effect of the Spirit of the Son in our hearts? This is most intriguing of all. He comes as Christ came to the earth, a very babe, the merest bundle of life, to cry like an infant; but it is the authentic cry of the child who knows his Parent. The Spirit of the Son in our heart does not cry there for His Father as if He was lost in that poor human heart, but as one whose spirit has been eternally fused  (not confused) with that human spirit, formerly dead in trespasses and sins; so that as the Son cries to His Father in our heart, so man’s spirit, newborn and quickened, cries also to his (new) Father…Now he awakens to the reality, and makes his first cry to the Father. And, of course, the first articulate cry of a child, irrespective of race or nation, is ‘Ab-ba.’

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.