BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17. Throughout the word the Holy Scriptures, shining with the clearness of the sun at noon, set forth the blessed hope of an entirely new relationship between God and every man who through faith has been brought nigh to Him by the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. It would seem to be almost impossible for any word of inspiration to set forth the perfection of that new relationship more clearly than does the scripture quoted above. This scripture shows in the plainest possible language that all men in Christ are both new creatures and new creations as well. They are new creatures because they are new creations from the Father’s mighty hand. Furthermore, with the coming of this new relationship to Christ these new creations make the blessed discovery that the passing away of their old selves is accompanied by the passing away of every old thing that pertains to their former unregenerate state, and with the coming of the new creation new hopes, new ambitions and new loves are born.
It is doubtful if any Christian on earth has fully understood as yet how great is the transforming upheaval that works within the soul when men and women in godly sorrow repent of their sins and through the operation of the Spirit of God in their lives are born again, born from above, renewed, regenerated and recreated. The all-powerful, incorruptible Christ seed, which liveth and abideth forever, being placed within their spirits, develops and matures – first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full com in the ear (Mark 4:28) until from the incorruptible Christ seed, planted in the fertile womb of the spirit, there comes forth a new creation in the glory of the Father and the image of Jesus Christ. All of us, especially that honored company of women to whom God has granted the blessing of motherhood, know that the period of time from the day the child is conceived in the womb to the hour of his birth and manifestation to the world is a time important and momentous. During the days of gestation, there in the darkness of the womb a completely new human being is being formed in the likeness of the parents who conceived him, a life that will not pass away. In the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry a full display may be seen of the development of the human fetus from the time of conception to the hour of birth, or manifestation. It is a display capable of greatly solemnizing the spiritual mind as one realizes that these remarkable developments of the natural man from the implantation of a corruptible seed to the birth of a corruptible body are in fact typical representations of the implantation of the incorruptible seed in the believing heart to the time of the birth and manifestation of a son of God in the image of the Father.
We poor humans, restricted as we are in understanding, are still woefully incapable of explaining the wonders of a natural birth. Our minds are baffled to explain “how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child.” Eccles: 11:5. The clever minds of men of science may be able to trace the progress of that development and discuss the many wonders of it, but they can neither explain its process nor reproduce its substance. The very fact of our ignorance of these natural and corruptible things explains as nothing else can the significance of our Savior’s words to Nicodemus, “If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” John 3:12. But let those who long for eternal realities rejoice in this wonderful fact: “The Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Prov. 2:6. “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Cor. 2:11. It is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Cor. 2:9, 10 Therefore with all truth it must be said that those blessed people who with open hearts receive the revelation of the Lord are possessed of a greater understanding of spiritual things than men of science and learning have in natural things. Men and women who walk in the Spirit become wiser than all their instructors. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. He giveth understanding to the simple, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. “He giveth widsom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Prov. 2:6. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Prov. 9:10
Think, O reader, of the profound depths of truth that lie hidden in these inspired words: “The knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Oh that God’s people could be exhorted to flee from the commandments and doctrines of men to look away to heaven until the Spirit of light from God comes streaming down from above, bringing the knowledge of the wisdom and glory of God from the face of Jesus Christ! “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:18. He declared the Father’s glory to certain humble ones who loved Him while He walked among men in the lowly realms of earth, and He declares the Father’s glory in this the end of the age to men who love God and who open the gates of their believing hearts to the Spirit of revelation and understanding from above. There is little or no hope for the man who demands that all truth and revelation must fit into the mould of his tradition and the crucible of his doctrine. How often do God’s people reject the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world by the seemingly wise, though silly, interrogation, “Have any of the rulers believed?” John 7:48. But this people who know not the laws are accursed. John 7:49. To put new wine in old wine skins is foolishness. Of how much greater foolishness is he guilty who thinks to confine an expanding revelation in the old wine skin of religious tradition!
When it pleases God, who separated us from our mother’s womb, to reveal to our spirits His Son from heaven, there is henceforth no place left to confer with flesh and blood, or even to go up to those who were apostles before us, (Gal. 1:16,17), but rather to go, as Paul did, to some Arabia of God’s own choosing where the light of the ages can stream down forever into our famished spirits, bringing the knowledge of the glory of God from the face of Jesus Christ, our Lord. 2 Cor. 4:6. We will always find well-meaning people who condemn the truth made real to us by the Holy Spirit because it does not comply or agree with the truth as they imagine it ought to be; but those who walk in the light of the Holy Spirit, as He shines as the sun in strength upon the path of the just, are not at liberty to give ear to the thousand plaintive voices that call them to return to the apparent safety of the old way with its multitude of followers.
How often we hear the statement in advertising, “Can two million people be wrong?” Or “Can fifty million users be wrong?” The same childish prattle is carried into the world of religion and doctrine. I still recall an article published in a denominational magazine under the caption, “Can twelve million people be wrong?” Yes, indeed, twelve million people can be wrong! So also can six hundred million! But, even if they were right in some experience of the past and they rejoiced in the true light that once shone upon them to transform them, the fatal fault conies when they refuse to budge from their old camping ground, covering their eyes against the ever increasing light that shines more and more till the day is full. Do not proudly boast, O man that you are exactly the same as you were forty years ago. Repent rather that you have become a stagnant pool where the river of life has ceased to flow. I am the same person who was born in the pioneer town of Souris, Manitoba, in the year 1909, but today, though I am the same person, I am by no means the same as I then was. What a dreadful tragedy it would have been if after seventy-four years I was just the same as I was that morning they told my mother she had borne a son! I am the same person in whose penitent heart the Holy Spirit in 1926 implanted the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever and ever; yet I am not the same. What a dreadful tragedy that would be if I, fifty-seven years after my conversion, were just the same as I was that night when the angels in heaven rejoiced that a sinner had come home! Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection, no more laying and re-laying those foundational doctrines of repentance, faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, and physical healing. There is more, much more, beyond for each and every life that becomes hidden with Christ in God. With the eye of my spirit I see nine men struggling with a violent demon at the foot of a mountain, unable to cast him out; but a little higher up three others of their company are beholding Him whose garments are white and glistering and whose face is shining as the glory and brightness of the sun. Matt. 17:14-21. Away from their vision has passed the form of Moses, that giver of God’s holy law, and the figure of Elijah, who represented the prophets who prophesied of Christ. Vanquished forever is their childish hope of building tabernacles to house the glory of a message, for now they see no man save Jesus only. It is not our adherence to Moses and the law nor our steadfastness toward Elijah and the prophets that is so important, but our relationship to the Christ of whom they spoke, saying that of the increase of His government there should be no end. We shall be satisfied when we awake in His likeness, and when we do, yonder violent demon in the regions below will be found to hold no power at all.
The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (life-giving) Spirit. The first Adam was given power to produce only corruptible seed, full of death, and dying. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, the Lord from heaven, is given power to produce incorruptible seed, full of life, and living. From the corruptible seed placed in the womb of Eve by the first Adam has come forth a world of corruptible men in Adam’s likeness; but from the incorruptible seed of Jesus Christ, the last Adam, placed in the womb of the repentant spirit, comes forth that incorruptible new creation which liveth and abideth forever. Often in my writing I have tried to explain that the natural life, the corruptible life, is not life at all. It is really death, as Paul so forcefully taught. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” When Jesus said, “He that hath the Son hath life”, He was speaking of that incorruptible life which He is and which liveth and abideth forever. When He said, “He that believeth on Me shall never die”, He was not teaching us that He would merely extend our corruptible existence forever so that we would never go to the grave. He meant that He was planting a new life within us, even the incorruptible life, which He is, a life that could never end though we entered a thousand graves. The life He gives, the life He is, is the life of the ages. It is as endless as Christ Himself, for He is that life. It begins in our spirits the moment we believe, as Jesus said: “I give unto them eternal life (i.e., the life of the ages), and they shall never perish.” John 10:28. That life, which begins in the spirit of man when Christ comes in to him by faith, extends more and more until corruption is swallowed up by incorruption as in type the yolk of an egg is swallowed up by the developing chick within, until in the end it is “not I, but Christ.” Even now at this very moment the life that we live in this body of flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God; and that faith assures us fully that the uncorruptible seed, sown by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit, shall issue forth in incorruption, immortality and eternal life, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Death is corruption, as we pointed out above. Life is incorruption. As the rush cannot grow without mire (Job 8:11) and as dung is fertilizer to the budding fruit trees, so, in a manner beyond my understanding, the incorruptible Christ seed, planted in the corruptible earth, which we are, bears its fruit in immortality, incorruption and life eternal.
I am wearied a little because so very often it becomes necessary to momentarily break away from the excellent glory of these sublime truths while we explain again and again that none of these things can be grasped at all by the intelligence of the intellect or the understanding of the natural mind. As the light of the world flooded the eyes of the man that was born blind when once the hand of Jesus touched him, so the rays of eternal truth, shining as suns from afar, burst in glory upon the fields of our spirits, kissing the hills with revelation and flooding the valleys with the light which He is. “I am the light of the world,” said the Savior. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. Darkness and death abide together, the former deceiving, the latter slaying. Light and life are twin sisters, the one revealing, the other giving life.
It gives sadness just to know that by far the greater number of God’s own blood-bought people still live in the outer darkness of the natural mind, though every one of them will testify that in the day they first believed the Bible became a new book. Their understanding was enlightened; their relationship toward God underwent a mighty upheaval; life itself wore a different face after they found the Savior, but, alas, all too often they were content to bask forever in the glory of the new light that had been revealed. As time went by, the settling down process began. The new things became old and the extraordinary became the ordinary and commonplace. They soon imbibed the doctrines of the people among whom they dwelt and quite unknowingly settled down behind the high fences of their denominational creeds and their sectarian beliefs. I am not trying to curry the favor of those who read this article when I tell them with a sadness which God alone has placed in my heart that within the denominational walls men walk in craftiness, handling the word of God deceitfully lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them. They handle the word of God with deceit because they want their sheep to remain within the constricting confines of their fence, and not go wandering off from their fold to follow yonder shining light that streams from God’s throne afar. Thus do they waste their lives contending for their faith and for their way of looking at things, meanwhile condemning the experiences of other men as being of the devil, or refuting the truth that has transformed the life of another.
“No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father. He hath declared Him.” John 1:18. What the eye has not seen nor the ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man God reveals by His Spirit. 1 Cor 2:9–10. These great edicts notwithstanding, Christians and sinners alike are loath to believe that their natural minds are useless tools, deceitful instruments, and distorting instructors in all that concerns the spiritual realm. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14. Let us therefore leave off forever this vanity that would have us believe that the natural mind can understand spiritual things. How dare we assume that by wearying the flesh with much study the truth of God can be found? As in a mirror face answers to face, so natural ways of looking at things only produce natural reflections. Christians seem determined to refuse and reject the lesson that only the Spirit searches out and reveals the mysteries of God.
If you seek God, you will find Him; but in finding Him you will discover that He is not as you thought He was or how you thought He was. You will find that He is in no way confined or restricted by any tradition, doctrine, or imagination of men. Utter trust in God means utter abandonment to God. There is a holy abiding place where Christians may forever dwell where with fervent spirits, holy awe, utmost consideration and perfect reverence they can declare with complete abandonment, “I care not! Thy will be done!” When you can say with utter abandon, “Lead me, Lord! I care not where,” then He will lead you. Ten or twenty years may pass before you are aware that He has led you, but you will find at last that your path has been the path of the just, leading you to the perfect day. When you can say, “Lead me, Spirit of God, I care not how,” then some glad morning your happy soul, awaking as a sleeper from his dream, will have made the blessed discovery that the storms, shipwrecks and the fires have been the messengers of God to guide you to His desired haven, and your lips will be saying with Jacob, your friend, “Surely the Lord is in this place, though I knew it not.” Gen. 28:16.
“One ship drives east, another drives west
By the selfsame wind that blows;
Tis the set of the sail and not the gale
That tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate
As we voyage along through life.
‘Tis the set of the soul that decides the goal,
And not the calm or strife.”
There is a wicked trait in human nature that always has us believe that solemn words of exhortation do not apply to us but are directed to someone else. But the “truth I write concerning revelation is directed to everyone. However great the insight which God has given you, you must humbly and honestly admit, “I know nothing yet as I ought to know.” If you love God with all your heart, your one great interest will be to love Him more and more: and His great delight will be to manifest Himself more and more unto you. The true secret of revelation, or illumination, if you prefer the word, is simply an ever increasing love and an ever increasing devotion to your Father in heaven. “If any man love God, the same is known of Him,” or, if any man love God, God knows that man. Jesus our Lord told us in the plainest possible words that our love for God was the secret key that would unlock the gates of spiritual understanding. “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him. Judas said unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love Him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him.” John 14:21-23. Christ is the light of God. Christ is the word of God. “The entrance of Thy word giveth light.” No wonder the Lord has declared that to fervently love Him is the very fountainhead of all revelation, illumination, and spiritual understanding.
I am not same as I was forty years ago. I am not the same as I was twenty years ago, nor five years ago, nor am I the same as I was yesterday. Neither will I be tomorrow as I am today. “The path of the just is as the shining light that shines on and on until the day is full.” Without light there is no growth; without revelation there is no spiritual progress. Let us then lay aside every weight and every imperfect tradition that by an ever increasing communion with God we may lay hold on the perfection He has set before us.
With this brief but fervent appeal let all who read seek that illumination which the Holy Spirit gives to make wise the simple and increase in strength the fainting heart that we may consider with renewed understanding the wonderful power of the incorruptible seed, Christ, the Logos of God, who liveth and abideth forever. The foregoing paragraph was written yesterday. In it I said, “I am not the same as I was yesterday, nor will I be the same tomorrow as I am today.” And now I must testify that this is even so, for today I see truth concerning the incorruptible seed, which yesterday had not been revealed to me. It is this: Our Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray, saying “Our Father, which art in heaven.” No man on earth is truly my father except the man by whom I was begotten. Therefore, I cannot call God my Father until I am begotten of God. Man is begotten of God that moment in which the Holy Spirit by His power divine places the incorruptible Christ seed in the repentant sinner’s heart. The incorruptible life planted there liveth and abideth forever. God is spirit and only those who are born of His Spirit can call God their Father and only those who are born of Him can say, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” This was the question that puzzled the learned but perplexed Nicodemus. “Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” he questioned in disbelief. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” the Savior replied, “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The good man Nicodemus was greatly mystified, because the natural mind receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. Such things seem foolish to him, but the Spirit gives light, illumination and understanding and sends us away, not only believing but receiving as well.
To those of us who realize the darkness, the death and the hopeless void of man’s unregenerate state it is scarcely necessary to observe that we, who were without God and without Christ, were both as hopeless and as helpless in our corruption and death as was the dark, void earth before the wonderful day when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep and the voice of God rang through the darkness, saying, “Let there be light,” and there was light. We have not been saved because we were worthy nor because we were good or wiser than other men. We were saved because the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be the first to put our trust in Him. When in God’s wisdom the appointed time came, the Spirit of God moved upon the darkened waste and trackless void of our beings even as He moved upon the formless earth from which we were taken in the beginning. The wind of God, which is the Spirit, bloweth where it listeth. Its breath of life, overshadowing a man, breathes into his spirit the power of an endless life. By the power of that same Spirit the incorruptible seed is placed within the believing heart and we are born from above, begotten of God and born anew. The light of God shineth out of the darkness. The fragrance of the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the valley becomes the perfume of our life. The fruits of the Spirit begin to bud and bloom as old things pass away and all things become new.
How wonderful is the wind of God, how matchless the breath of His eternal Spirit! How complete is the change that is wrought by the power of an endless life; how wonderful the assurance within as His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and, if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ!
“Breathe on me, Breath of God;
Fill me with life anew
That I may love as Thou dost love,
And do as Thou wouldst do.
“Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine;
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
“Breathe on me, Breath of God;
So shall I never die;
But live with Thee that perfect life
Of Thine eternity.”
There is a remarkable similarity between the inspired statement of Gen. 1:2 and the words of Jesus in reply to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” The divine record gives this statement of truth concerning the earth before the creation of Adam and the Garden of Eden: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” The earth is old-very, very old. It was old and dark and void long before Adam or the account of Genesis 1:1. The former creations that had once dwelt upon it had long since passed away and now all was as void as the moon while darkness, ice and fearful cold surrounded it all in a mantle of death. Not only was the earth without form and void and covered with darkness and cold, but it was useless, hopeless and helpless as well. It could do nothing to change its deplorable state. There was no power within itself to change or transform its timeless wastes or its hopeless future. If help or change should ever come, it must come from without and from elsewhere; otherwise it was doomed to abide in darkness forevermore.
O that the eyes of men might be opened to clearly see that back of all things and before all things, yea, in the beginning of all things, standeth God-eternal, immortal, invisible, almighty, omniscient, immutable, holy, loving, and greatest and most glorious of all, full of purpose! Thus it is written, and thus it was, that “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep; and God said, Let there be light, and there was light,” and by the mighty moving of the Spirit of God the earth was born again, begotten anew. Darkness fled away to its secret hiding place. Icy mountains melted and flowed down before the light of His presence. Timeless snows, released from the vise-like grip of some former curse, transformed themselves into bubbling streams of live-giving water. Flowers appeared on the earth. The time of the singing of birds had come. The fig tree brought forth its fruit, and the vines with the tender grapes gave a good smell. The breath of God, the wind of the Lord, passing over its wastes, had brought forth life where once was death, and the earth was born anew.
“How can a man be born when he is old?” questioned the puzzled Nicodemus, and Jesus, seeming almost to quote the first two verses of the book of Genesis, replied, “The wind (the Spirit) bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The Holy Spirit, like a wind of God, moves over the shapeless void of our corruption. “Let there be light,” is the fiat of the Lord, and the light of God, which is Jesus Christ, and life eternal, the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever, enter the darkened void of a soul dead in trespasses and sins. The Christ seed, incorruptible and eternal, is planted in the repentant heart. A new creation has begun, for he is begotten of God, and Christ henceforth dwells in his heart by faith. Let the redeemed of God now thrill with joy to the inspired words of Paul: “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” The glory of God is the image of Christ, and we shall be fully satisfied when we awake in His likeness. When the incorruptible seed is planted in our hearts by faith, we are begotten of God, and “every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1. And “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” John 5:18
Your understanding will be greatly enlightened when you are able to grasp the simple truth I now bring to your attention. A child is begotten the moment he is conceived in his mother’s womb, but the child is born when he comes forth from his mother’s womb to be manifest to the world. This is a type, an allegory, of the spiritual process at work in the believer’s heart. We are begotten of God when we believe. The incorruptible seed of the word of God, the Christ seed, the power of an endless life, is planted within the believing spirit. There it grows and matures in the darkness until death is swallowed up of life, until it is “not I, but Christ.” Then comes the day of manifestation when that which was conceived in faith, that which was begotten, is fully born and manifest to the world. This is what the Bible calls the manifestation of the sons of God-a man child come forth from the travailing woman, a son in the image of Christ, who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron.
The Holy Spirit had a very definite purpose in mind when in wisdom He employed these two enlightening terms-begotten of God and born of God. Believers are begotten the moment they fix their faith in Christ. At that same moment of faith, without their understanding or knowledge of what is taking place, the incorruptible seed, the Christ seed, the quickening Spirit, the power of an endless life is placed within the believing, penitent spirit they are begotten of God and the Christ life has begun. Time and again I have taught that all natural things have spiritual counterparts. Therefore you have only to consider that brief history of your own development from the moment of your conception in the womb of your mother to the hour of your birth and manifestation to the world to understand almost perfectly the divine process by which the Christ seed, the incorruptible seed, is placed in the womb of the believing spirit, there to gestate and develop as a chick develops in its shell until corruption is swallowed up of life and in truth it can be said, “It is not I but Christ.” Then will follow the birth and manifestation in resurrection and incorruption of the vast family of newborn sons, not as individuals only, but as the many membered body of Christ as well.
Christians have always been puzzled by the seeming contradictions found in the first epistle of John. We find it difficult to understand why the writer said in chapter 3 and verse 9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God,” while in a number of other places he makes it clear that Christians both can and do sin; and for this cause he makes the provision that, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), and “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9. But this seeming contradiction vanishes the moment we make a sensible distinction between the two progressive phases of our redemption, which John speaks of as being begotten of God and being born of God. In 1 John 5:18 this distinction is very clear. We read, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but (please notice this distinguishing conjunction, but) he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” We who are begotten of God and are as yet in the stage of spiritual gestation are often tempted and at times overcome simply because the old Adamic nature is still larger and stronger than the new nature, and the corruptible still wars against the incorruptible. He that is begotten of God keepeth himself. He must do so by the grace and power of God or he will fall into sin as others have done. Times without number we fail either to keep ourselves or to seek the grace of God to keep us. But, Christian Brother and sister, you will find endless spiritual strength and power to keep if you will ask the Holy Spirit to make vivid and real to your heart the indisputable fact that at this very moment the incorruptible seed, the Christ seed, is developing within your spirit, your life and your body as well. He who has this divine understanding keepeth himself in the blessed knowledge that the divine Christ life begotten within him will issue forth in a birth and manifestation in the glorious image of Christ.
We may not be wise in drawing too many parallels between the natural and the spiritual, but we would be lacking, indeed, if we could not see some definite similarity, yes, even an allegory, between the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through that earthly vessel, the virgin Mary, and the formation of the Christ in us by the impartation of the incorruptible seed. See now with what reverent and holy awe the Virgin Mary regarded the great thing God was doing as the physical form of the Son of God was being prepared within her for His birth and manifestation to the world. “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” she cried, “and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.” Luke 1:46-55
We cannot be wrong in affirming that each and every statement made by this holy, rejoicing woman because of that great thing God was performing can also be made with equal truth by us in whose spirits the incorruptible seed has now been planted. God did great things for Mary when within her physical womb He placed the seed of Him who was to be called the Son of God. I am not wrong in saying that a greater thing by far is now in progress in that the incorruptible Christ seed is now by faith gestating in a multitude of human spirits, swallowing up death with life, corruption with incorruption, and mortality with immortality. Our spiritual understanding of the great thing the Holy Spirit is performing in the hearts of all who are begotten of God causes us to keep ourselves. “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not.” Do you not think that Mary kept herself in all holiness and purity, knowing as she did that the Christ was being formed within? Could any imagine that she would defile her body by uncleanness or lend her ears to unholy or unspiritual conversation? Would any venture to believe that she feasted her eyes on corruption and filth as Christians are wont to do today? No, indeed, she did not! She kept herself because of her joy and anticipation of the life that was forming within.
O, that God’s people would seek Him until the Holy Spirit illumined their minds, giving them a mighty understanding of the great things now transpiring in the spirits of all who are begotten of God! Every man who has this spiritual understanding will keep himself with utmost joy, knowing that, when God’s process is complete and all that is death and corruption within is swallowed up by the life and immortality which He is, his sonship will be complete and a man child will come forth to rule all nations with a rod of iron. It is not in me to understand all the mysteries being wrought by God, but he must be a blind soul who cannot see the association between what we have been saying and the great revelation given to John, who said, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, (heaven is the spiritual realm); a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered … And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.” Rev. 12:1–2, 5
Soon, very soon, there is coming a time of birth and manifestation. At this present hour we are begotten, but not born; but in that wonderful day of manifestation the saying will be wholly true, “He that is born of God cannot sin, for His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” It is not my intention to leave the impression with anyone that it is wholly wrong for us to say we are born again, though strictly speaking we are not as yet born, but begotten. I do say, however, that a correct understanding of the two terms – begotten and born – will greatly assist us to comprehend the wonderful power of the incorruptible seed now growing to maturity in the believer’s heart, and the yet greater wonder that will be when the babe who now leaps in the womb of the human spirit shall issue forth in the power of an endless life.
The first epistle of John is a most remarkable revelation of the progress of the believer from that heaven blessed hour when by simple faith the incorruptible Christ seed is placed within and we through repentance and faith are begotten of God unto the wonderful hour of manifestation when sonship is complete and we stand on Mt. Zion in the very image of Christ Himself. The King James version (which I generally use) somewhat obscures this vital fact by saying in chapter 3, verse 1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,” and again in verse 2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God”. Since the original Greek word was teknon, meaning children, and not huios, meaning sons, the passage should read, “Beloved, now are we the children of God.” See Emphatic Diaglott, Weymouth, and others. Even in the natural realm there is a vast difference between children and adults, or between little boys and mature men. This difference is symbolic of the contrast between spiritual children, spiritual young men, and spiritual fathers. John himself emphasizes this cardinal distinction by saying, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.” 1 John 2:12–13. The moment we are begotten of God, we are God’s children regardless of our age in the flesh. From spiritual infancy we progress in spiritual wisdom, spiritual stature and favor with God. This process continues until we reach the stature of full grown men in the image of Christ as Paul also wisely said, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:13
With this understanding fresh in mind Weymouth’s translation of 1 John 3:1-2 is capable of giving us an enlarged comprehension concerning the great spiritual work now in progress within. “See what love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called God’s children: and that is what we are. For this reason the world does not recognize us, because it did not recognize Him”. Notice the words here, “and that is what we are.” God’s children – that is what we are. The fleshly part of us is still here. We are still corruptible and in the natural we are still the children of the/irst Adam. But a miracle has taken place. The germ of never-ending life is growing within. The incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever, has been planted in our hearts by faith, and the process of maturing from infancy to adoption and full manifestation is in progress. The blessed and wonder-filled hours of gestation are passing swiftly by and we are now maturing from infancy to full sonship in Him.
Then John by the wisdom given him by the Holy Spirit continues to enlighten our pure minds with the words, “Beloved, we are now God’s children, but what we are to be has not yet been manifested. We know that if He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And anyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself (keeps himself) as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2. Weymouth. Though we know we are now God’s children, the glory of what we shall be has not yet appeared, but we know that, when He appears, we will be exactly like Him.
My heart is often saddened when I contemplate the multitudes of Christian men and women who vainly imagine that sonship may be attained through mighty works, spectacular gifts, or miraculous ministries and manifestations. O nonsense! Nonsense! Nonsense! Childish, foolish, misguided nonsense! Have you never heard that Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.“ Matt. 7:22–23. This solemn truth applies to almost all the great men of our day with their signs and wonders and mighty works which they do in the name of the Lord. Spectacular ministration has nothing to do with that sonship for which creation groans. Most of this spectacular exhibition is the product of man’s misguided will and not the work of Christ or the Spirit. But take courage, O thou afflicted, for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. Isa, 54:1. Have faith in God, O man unknown, though thou be unhonored and unsung, for the Lord our God, who reserved to Himself seven thousand in Israel, has reserved in our day a people who are known of Him. There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, but to none of them was he sent but to a woman of Sarepta. Many lepers were in Israel in the days of Elisha, but none were healed saving Naaman the Syrian. The Queen of Sheba shall arise in the Day of Judgment to condemn this generation, because she came from afar to hear wisdom of Solomon; but, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. It is Christ in you that is the hope of glory. It is the power of and endless life working within your being.