- I. Definitions for Biblical Terms
- II. New Creation
- III. The Actions of the Holy Spirit over Time and New Birth
- IV. Extra Dispensational Distinctions: A Literal Kingdom and The World’s Foundation
“So if anyone be in Christ, there is a new creation — the old things have passed away — Behold all things have become new!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
I. Definitions for Biblical Terms1
- Quickening is the imparting of life to dead souls. (Rom. 4:17, John 5:21, John 6:36).
- New Birth commences by the act of quickening and has to do with the new nature in contrast to the Adamic fallen nature. (John 3:8, James 1:18, 1 John 5:1, John 1:12-13).
- Regeneration (Titus 3:5) goes beyond new birth as it refers to the translation from our former condition into an entirely new sphere of life in Christ as risen (Col. 1:13, 2 Cor. 5:17, 18).
- Salvation: I am saved when I believe the gospel that Christ took my guilty place, died for my sins, and was raised for my justification. (Titus 2:11, Rom. 1:16, Acts 4:12, Eph. 2:8, 2 Tim. 1:9).
- Sealing by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling takes place as soon as the soul believes the gospel unto salvation. (Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:21-22).
- Eternal Life is divine life in enjoyed relationship (with the Father and the Son) by the power of the Holy Spirit, as based upon the accomplished redemption and glorification of God’s beloved Son. (John 17:3, 1 John 1:2, 5:11, 13, 20, John 10:9-10).
1 Citation: “Things That Differ”, by A. C. Brown
II. New Creation (2 Cor. 5:17)
This verse presents to us new creation.
Distinctly speaking, it is not exactly the same thing as quickening or new birth; although, there is no such thing as having new creation in Christ without it. Absolutely necessary, but not equivalent.
A person who is not sealed of the Holy Spirit is not part of the new creation.
The new creation began when Christ rose from the dead and breathed into His disciples (John 20:22) Holy Spirit as the power of divine life. That event was separate from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Today, these two things are not separated for the believer, but it happens at once when the person has been sealed with the Spirit.
Christ is the Firstborn of the new creation.
“The beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14).
It begins with the Lord, risen from the dead, and becoming ipso facto the firstborn and head of the new creation. He then comes to the disciples, who were already clean “through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3) — that is they had the new birth and life from God — and He brings them into a new connection with Himself which never existed before, and He breathes into them Holy Spirit as the power of life in resurrection — that is, His own life.
“Except the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, it abides alone; but if it die, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
Christ had abode alone, and though the Old Testament saints were surely born again, they were not (nor could they be) connected with Him in this way of resurrection. They were not grains on a risen stalk. “But if it die, it bears much fruit (grains).” And the resurrection life of the stalk is the same life that flows to and in the grains. Thus, we have the resurrection life of Christ, which was not true of the Old Testament saints. The sealing of the Spirit, having that resurrection life, being seated in the heavenlies in Him, being co-quickened with Him, and being co-raised with Him — this is all very distinctive of the Christian position.
II. The Actions of the Holy Spirit Over Time and New Birth
The action of the Holy Spirit came upon those in the Old Testament, such as Samson or Saul, but it was “in measure.” They were not sealed with the Holy Spirit. The power came and it went.
In the Millenial day, we cannot say that the saints will have the same Christian-like distinctive of having the sealing of the Holy Spirit, either. They will be saved and covenanted to them they will have the knowledge of “I will pardon their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more” (Jer. 31:34). They will stand in the total assurance of their acceptance before God in virtue of the work of Christ. That is a great advance over the Old Testament saint, whose portion and blessing were also in the earthly sphere.
The special operations now of the Holy Spirit are distinct. Nonetheless, in all ages, the Spirit has been operative in relation to the new birth. We get that from John 3, which was before the cross. At the rapture, when the Spirit is removed as the Indweller and as having a special capacity in forming the Church, He will continue in His operation during the Great Tribulation in connection with the Word of God, namely the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Spirit will then be operative to empower the preachers of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Old Testament saints, then, were quickened, and they had new birth; however, we could not say that this quickening was characterized by being quickened together (and raised up) with Christ in the heavenly sphere. It is a distinctive blessing now for the believer with the formation of the Church (which is seated together in the heavens in Christ – See Ephesians, chapters. 1-2 primarily).
They had life from Christ, but not in Christ (resurrection life). We have now eternal life in the Son (1 John 5:11, 20). That is the nature and character of the life that we have (this is the apostle John’s teaching). The place, or sphere, where we have this life is in Christ (this is the apostle Paul’s teaching).
Extra Dispensational Distinctions (Matthew 25)
I. A Literal Kingdom
“When the Son of man shall sit down upon his throne of glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).
“Then shall the King say to those on his right hand, Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation” (Matthew 25:34).
II. “From the World’s Foundation”
“Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation” (Matt. 25:34).
“According as he has chosen us in him before the world’s foundation, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love” (Eph. 1:4).