What Is A Christian? Part VII
A "natural man", Biblically, is someone who is just body and soul:
The body and soul man, not having the spirit of God, has no spiritual connection to the Creator. His knowledge is limited to that which he can gather by his five senses, and as such is many times unreliable, untimely, and unfulfilling.
Unless a man or woman has the spirit of God, they cannot understand spiritual matters. There is a chasm. This chasm cannot be bridged by any man-made efforts, even though man has tried daily for thousands of years -- whether it be religions, metaphysics, or making himself as god. It is only the faith of Jesus Christ that spans this chasm which (the chasm) has existed since Genesis chapter 3!
It doesn't come by hearing anything else. Just the Word of God. That is why you must be sure you are getting the Word. Just because someone looks religious or spiritual, sounds sincere, or even if they are waving a Bible around in their hands, it is no guarantee for truth.
In the New Testament the word "faith" is translated from the Greek word pistis, which is also translated "believe". One must pay attention to how the translators handled this. Receving the faith of Jesus Christ is an inside spiritual development, while believing is an action of the mind. As we will see, we receive the faith of Jesus Christ when we believe.
No one has ever been able earn, manufacture, or somehow acquire the faith of Jesus Christ on their own. It cost God His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, so He could give the promise to "them that believe". Because Jesus Christ perfectly carried out his Father's will while here on earth, you and I can freely accept the promises of God.
It does not matter how many candles you light, or whether you belong to this church or that. Man just needs to accept God's solution for re-establishing himself as body, soul, and spirit -- by receiving the faith of Jesus Christ.
There was a time when the faith of Jesus Christ did not exist, else why would the verse say "but before faith came"? If the faith of Jesus Christ came due to what Jesus Christ accomplished, was there faith in the Old Testament? What about in the Gospels? The answers are "no", and "no". How could the faith of Jesus Christ be available before he had completed his ministry?
People may think that there was "faith" in the Old Testament because of Hebrews 11: "By faith Noah", "By faith Abraham", "By faith Isaac". But if you read the Old Testament accounts you will see that is says Abraham believed God, Isaac believed God. They heard the Word of God and believed it, but the faith of Jesus Christ was not yet available.
The faith of Jesus Christ was first made available on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Jesus Christ did not bring it when he was born in Bethlehem; he did not bring it when he died on the cross; he did not bring it, even, when he was raised from the dead.
On the day of Jesus' ascension, look at his words to his apostles:
Some ten days later this promise, which had been in the process of being fulfilled since Genesis chapter 3, was fulfilled in Acts 2, and the faith of Jesus Christ was made available for the first time! No longer must man be just body and soul. No longer must he be separated from God.
Why is the receiving of the faith of Jesus Christ so easy, when man tries so hard to reach unto God on his own? Because it cost God everything, and Jesus Christ so loved that he carried out the will of God perfectly, for you and me.
One of the benefits on receiving the faith of Jesus Christ is justification:
Another is righteousness:
What does man need to believe? The answer is found in Romans:
To once again become body, soul, and spirit, to receive the faith of Jesus Christ, to attain to all that God has made available, spiritually, to become a Christian, having Christ-in-you -- man simply needs to believe these two verses!
God has made it so simple that man overlooks it. Man wants to boot-strap himself rather than believe the Word of God and accept the completed work of God in Christ. Man many times wants to play God. But this is how you become a Christian.
In the next section we will take a closer look at this miracle of all miracles, the new birth.
Part VI | Part VIII