I say again, when a man is BORN AGAIN, his body is not regenerated, neither is his soul; what's regenerated is his spirit - and when that occurs, man is brought back into DIRECT relationship with God so that he -
REGENERATION & SANCTIFICATION
It's when our spirit is regenerated by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we are enabled - through the growth in life - to be changed into Christ's likeness. And how is that accomplished? - it is accomplished as we "behold and reflect" (2 Cor. 3:18a) Christ in our spirit; and as we do so, the Bible says that we are -
It's "beholding and reflecting" the Lord in our spirits that changes or SANCTIFIES us. This is what true godliness is all about. Again, this is exactly the practice of our Lord insofar as His walk with the Father is concerned. Jesus said,
Now in all of this, we must be very careful to understand what SANCTIFICATION is, and what it is not: To be SANCTIFIED is to be changed into His LIKENESS. This means that we become LIKE Christ, BUT WE DO NOT BECOME CHRIST as some allege. We do not take on divinity in and of ourselves. To think otherwise (i.e., to think that we become "divine") is to make the same mistake that Eve made, and to succumb to the same deception that overtook her. Specifically, the Bible says:
How is it that Satan tempted Eve? What was the bait? - that by eating of the tree of the "Knowledge of Good and Evil" she would become a god; she would be, as it were, "deified." (Genesis 3:5) D.R. McConnell explains "deification" in his book, A Different Gospel:
This "GOD-DREAM" permeates our legends and myths, and echoes back down through the corridors of time to Camelot and Valhalla. Indeed, for millennia our poets, writers, priests and prophets have been telling and re-telling the legends and myths which swirl like ghostly apparitions around this dream: that there is within man a "divine spark" which longs to be set free in order to ascend to its Originator, God. Man is, therefore, divine and has a god’s role in the universe. This is what the Nazis taught; this is what Nietsche and Schopenhauer taught: that man can ascend to the heavens; that he can become divine in exactly the same fashion that Christ is divine. And it isn't just anti-Christians like Nietsche and Schopenhauer who have taught this deception, but many so-called "Christians" such as the late Kenneth Hagin have taught it (teach it) as well. Hagin, for example, alleged:
Hagin goes on to say -
And that -
This is what the late John Wimber of the Vineyards International was suggesting when he talked about receiving an "INCARNATIONAL endowment" (see below); this should give you some idea of just how widespread this "God-Dream" is in today's Christianity - and one should bear in mind here that the Vineyard churches are the "kissing-cousins" of Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapels.]
THE SO-CALLED "CONTINUATION OF THE INCARNATION"
What these men are suggesting is that when we are born again, we become as much divine as Christ is divine; that the same power that Christ possesses to command nature, we possess too - and not just as supplicants, but as actual POSSESSORS of that power in the same way Christ possesses it. This is the core belief at the heart of such so-called "Christian" concepts as the "Manifest Sons of God;" the "Manchild Company;" the "First Fruits;" "Joel’s Army;" and the "Overcomers!" For example, that's what James Robison - in whose church Ronald Reagan once said, "You cannot endorse me, but I can endorse you" - believes. He says:
This kind of thinking is called the "Continuation of the Incarnation," and it is widely held as a belief under different names and different guises in today's church; according to this teaching, the church (i.e., every born again believer) is the essence of God; His "... on-going incarnation in the world today;" but that is a LIE, a DECEPTION; and it is the same lie that caused man to fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.
WE ARE ONE WITH GOD BY ADOPTION;
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.
"So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
"For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, EVEN AS THE LORD THE CHURCH:
"FOR WE ARE MEMBERS OF HIS [i.e., CHRIST'S] BODY, OF HIS FLESH, AND OF HIS BONES.
"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." (Eph. 5:28-31)
And the Bible goes on to say:
"Wherefore they [i.e., the husband and wife] are no more twain [i.e., two], but one flesh ...." (Matt. 19:6)
But, again, this oneness is NOT an INTRINSIC oneness; IT IS AN ONENESS IN RELATIONSHIP! The husband and wife are one in their relationship, but they are not one in their nature. The man still remains a man, and the woman still remains a woman. They do not meld together and become a strange new creature: a sort of "man-woman." People who say such a thing have no idea who God really is; they have no appreciation of His great majesty, splendor and glory. There is the CREATOR, and then there is the creation - the creature. [We urge you to read our articles, "Luciferic Christianity" and "The God-Men of the American New World Order System."]
Man is a creature, a "created being." God (Christ) is from "eternity past" to "eternity future."
God is the Creator; man is the creature.
The Bible says:
"In the beginning was the Word [i.e., Christ], and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD.
"The same was in the beginning with God.
"ALL things were made by him [i.e., Christ]; and without him [i.e., Christ] was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3)
He is the great "I AM" - that is the meaning of His name – Jehovah.
It should be noted in this connection that the term "Jehovah" does not relate simply to the Father (as some allege), but to the entire Godhead - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; this is made clear in the verses above - John 1:1-3 - as well as numerous other places in the Scripture]. There is NONE like Him. He is no creature. He is no "created being." The Bible says:
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING, thou art God.
"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
"Thou carriest ... [men] away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
"In the morning it [i.e., man] flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it [i.e., man] is cut down, and withereth.
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten [70 years]; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years [80 years], yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it [i.e., our life] is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Ps. 90:2, 4-6, 10)
What these verses (Ps. 90:2, 4-6, 10) make clear is that man is as NOTHING before God, and for us to suppose otherwise is a very, very stupid and even dangerous thing to imagine. Yes, the Holy Spirit does in fact indwell us, but it is not INTRINSICALLY one with us; to say that is tantamount to bringing the Creator down to the level of the creature. The Bible says, "Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? - that is, to bring Christ down from above ..." (Rom. 10:6) But when we say we can be united to the Holy Spirit intrinsically, that is exactly what we are attempting to do: we are attempting to bring Christ down to our level from His exulted and UNIQUE position at the right hand of God.
I say again, we do NOT intrinsically share the divine nature. Christ is the ONLY INTRINSIC Son of God [the "ONLY begotten Son" (John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, 3:18, Acts 13:33, etc.)]. He is united to the Holy Spirit and the Father INTRINSICALLY. We are not! - AND WE NEVER WILL BE.
To those IDIOTS like Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland, Bennie Hinn, etc. who would presume to be equal with God, He would say to them as He did to the ancient Job:
"Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
"Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
"Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
The Bible says:
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:11
"When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
"Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
"Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
"Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
"That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?
"Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
"Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
"Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
"Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.
"Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.
"Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
"Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.
"Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee. (Job 38:3-5, 17-20; 40:1-2, 9-14)
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
Could Nietzsche and Schopenhauer do such things; can James Robison, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Bennie Hinn, etc. do such things? If they are truly intrinsically one with the Godhead, then let them demonstrate their creative power. Let them speak things into existence out of nothing; but if they can't do that, then let them and all those like them shut up and never be heard of again. In this connection, one would do well - before imbibing the waters of this putrid well along with Hagin and many of the other leaders of today's American church - to consider the words of the prophet Isaiah concerning the devil:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I WILL EXALT MY THRONE ABOVE THE STARS OF GOD: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH."
"YET THOU SHALT BE BROUGHT DOWN TO HELL, TO THE SIDES OF THE PIT." (Isaiah. 14:12-15)
Brothers and sisters, listen to me here: The fact that the CREATOR of ALL would deign to have a relationship with us - any kind of relationship -- is too much to comprehend; that the CREATOR of ALL things would allow us to be called His sons and daughters BY ADOPTION; that He would give "… his only begotten Son [to die for our sins], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16) and that He would do so while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8) -- is far beyond our poor ability to comprehend.
And more than that, that such a God - the very God who dwells in "unapproachable light" - shall in "eternity-future" take us into His arms and "… wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Re 21:4) is beyond understanding.
Now, that is something! And that is the end of what being born again is all about! - having our spirits REGENERATED so that we can have such a relationship with Him. Such a relationship is impossible for us to fathom. Indeed, the Bible says:
"… 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. (1Co 2:9)
The throne of God surrounded by the four beasts and the 24 elders. What one has here is a continuing, everlasting process wherein the twenty-four elders cast their crowns down before the throne of God saying,, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created," and then Christ gathering up those crowns and putting them back on their heads, saying "You are worthy to wear these crowns because I have made you worthy" - and so on and on into eternity.
"And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
"And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
"And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
"And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
"And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
"And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
"And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:2-11)
Now stop for a moment and consider what these verses reveal. We have before us a picture of the very throne of God, and the One who sits upon that throne. And around about Him sit twenty-four elders "CLOTHED IN WHITE RAIMENT" and "THEY HAVE ON THEIR HEADS CROWNS OF GOLD." These twenty-four elders represent all those who have been redeemed by the "blood of the lamb." And all these elders "fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." And this process is repeated over and over again.
Now think about that! - if this process is repeated over and over again, then clearly it implies that the crowns that the elders cast down before the throne, are then picked up and replaced on their heads. And who is the only one worthy to pick up those crowns and put them back on the heads of the twenty-four elders? Obviously, only Christ is worthy to do that. So what we have here is a continuing, everlasting process wherein the twenty-four elders cast their crowns down before the throne of God saying,, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created," and then Christ gathering up those crowns and putting them back on their heads, saying "You are worthy to wear these crowns because I have made you worthy" - and so on and on into eternity. It's an enchanted, marvelous, mystical dance of love and devotion between the Bridegroom (Christ) and the Bride (all those who have been redeemed by Christ's blood) wherein each separate party (Bride and Bridegroom) is intent on honoring the other - and this dance whirls on into eternity.