Jack Carrol - What Takes Place When A Man Or Woman Is Born Again

Jesus, as the Apostle of our profession, has to do with the life He lived here upon this earth during which He left us an example that we should follow in His steps; and as our High Priest, He had to do with the work He is doing for us now as He sits at God's right hand.  Then we have also Christ as our indwelling Christ and Master. These three different aspects of Christ and what He has done for us, what He is now doing for us, and what He is desirous of doing in us, are very

closely related, and what is difficult for me is seeking to interpret the will of God to separate them.

In listening to the testimonies of God's people this year, I have come to the conclusion that many of them are not very clear in their minds with regard to what actually took place in their lives when they were born again. And when there is any misunderstanding with regard to this, there must be a great deal of confusion in our minds. It is difficult sometimes to understand ourselves, our own experience along this line, and difficult also to understand the experience of others.

I wanted to speak mainly of what it means to become a partaker of this new nature: but before doing so it is necessary for me to emphasize that when we are born again and receive this new nature, we do not get rid of the old nature. It may be somewhat of a surprise to some to know that neither do we get a change of nature. We do not get rid of the old nature, we take it with us to the grave, and this human nature for sure remains the same to the end.

No matter how we try to train it, the conviction deepens that this human nature we possess in common, is something that, while it is as changeable as the wind on the one hand, yet on the other hand it never changed. It remains the same and will remain the same until the very end of this conflict which we are waging as the children and servants of God.

I was much struck some time ago by noticing the words in Luke 17, where Jesus was looking first of all back into the past, almost as far as He could into human history, and then looking away into the future, when He Himself would come back again, and He said, "As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man," and "As it was in the days of Lot, even thus it shall be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed." So that when He was thinking back

and when He was looking forward, He recognized that human nature would remain the very same to the end of the chapter.

It would be foolish for us to think that nature is any more corrupt today than it was in Noah's day or in Lot's day. It would be more correct for us to recognize that there are the same possibilities in human nature today as there was in those days, and even in the days of Jesus, and that human nature has absolutely not improved for the better during the centuries. Satan, knowing that his time is short, is more active today than ever he was, and there are more, and easier methods of indulging the selfishness of our fleshly nature than ever there has been in the history of the world.

We are not only living in dangerous days, the most dangerous the world has ever known, but in days when it is vital for the people of God to have a real conception of what we are up against in this warfare against the trinity of evil which we speak of as the world, the flesh, and the devil. If we are helped to understand this conflict better and how it can be waged more successfully, then these meetings will not be a hindrance to us.

It seems very strange that there is something in this human nature that arises up in rebellion against God. We recognize that in our own experience as we look back on our lives. We can see that it has been much easier to rebel against God's will than to submit to it. So that from this viewpoint, men are very largely, in their native state, like the wild horses out on the prairies of the North, unbroken, absolutely valueless to man. We, in our natural state, growing up governed by our own likes and dislikes, are in the same condition before God, unbroken and valueless.

None of us reached our teens without recognizing that there is something in us which we do not understand, but we recognize it is actually and continually taking us in the wrong direction. There was an urge downward that we could not control, and as we grew older, we had to admit that in spite of all our best endeavors, we are surely and steadily getting farther and farther away from God.

When I got saved, I hoped my nature would change, but I discovered after I surrendered to Christ, that there were the same tendencies in my human nature as there were before; and I found out that to expect that this human nature would ultimately be changed was a very hopeless outlook. What was it that did happen in my life and in yours when we made that first surrender to Christ without any mental reservations and regardless of the cost, and we were willing to allow the Lord to have His way in our lives? You say something happened but you can't explain it. When Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus about this, He said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof: but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit."

None of us can explain just exactly how we got human life, but we know that we have gotten it and that it has been manifesting itself over a long period of years. Neither can we fully explain how we come to get this new life, but we know, to some extent, that we are seeking to manifest the new life, and that men recognize that something has taken place which has made us different from what we used to be. We have some assurance in our hearts that the words of Paul to the

Corinthians, who were sunk as none of us here ever had been sunk, in awful depths of sin and iniquity, are true of us. He said, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Old things are passed away: behold all things are become new."

I am going to try and answer the question of what really does take place when a man or woman is born again. I have tried on other occasions to answer this question from the Gospel of John but will not limit the answer I am going to give you to this particular Gospel. There are a great many verses in the Gospel of John which, if you take to heart and meditate upon, will be a wonderful source of comfort to you when you begin to think upon this wondrous experience that is yours in Christ.

One word in John's Gospel occurs in this connection very often. It is the word, LIFE. To John, being born again meant becoming a partaker of a new life. That is a wonderful thought to me today. Later on, when John was ninety years of age, he said, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." He was making a distinction between two classes of people in the world -- those who were without life, though having human life, and an abundance of that, and those who have received the new life. And we thank God that there are those who have an abundance of that new life.

In the tenth chapter of John, Jesus Himself said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." It would be a very happy result of this convention, if those who have come here received just a little more of this new life and would begin to enjoy the promise of Jesus, that He not only came

to give life, but that He might give it more abundantly.

John 5:224-30. Jesus said, "Verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live." Up in Alaska one day I was reading on in the chapter and came to the 25th verse, and when I read the closing phrase of that verse, it thrilled me as never before. "They that hear shall life." It is my business as a servant of Christ to make it possible for men to hear the voice of the Son of God, and I know that they who hear, and hear right, shall live. This wondrous thing will take place in their experience, and those who are dead in sins shall live.

It is said that Plato, who lived several hundred years before Christ, tried once to make a dead man stand upright. He tried and tried, but he couldn't do it, and then he said, "There is something lacking inside." This is true of every unregenerate man and woman in the world today. They can't stand upright and they can't walk upright because there is something lacking inside.

God does not blame any man or woman for having this human life and nature, because He gave us that. He recognizes the weakness of it, and none understands better than He the depths of it. The Gospel message does not want men to live the Christ life, but the Gospel message is that Jesus came not to give us a new religion, but that by the Holy Spirit of God, He might put something into us, impart something to us, giving us in Himself, a new life, and to give that life a purpose. That is why in John we read of the Water of Life, the Bread of Life, Eternal life, and the Everlasting Life.

The first thing for us to recognize is that if we are truly born of the Spirit of God, it can only take place when our surrender is absolutely unconditional. We have been disappointed very often when we have seen some profess and they seem to be sincere, but they don't go very far. I have come to the conclusion that the root reason for their failure is that at the very door step of the Kingdom there were mental reservations keeping them back. There was somebody or something they were hanging on to which made it impossible for the Holy Spirit of God to impart that new and eternal life. It is forty years since I took the first step into the family of God, and I am very conscious of the fact that if it had not been for something new coming into my life and experience that I would not have continued until this day, but with Paul I can say, "By the grace of God I have continued until this day."

Paul used another expression in Colossians 1:27. He says, "It is Christ in you, the hope of Glory." Then it is not Christ on the cross, not even Christ interceding at God's right hand, that is our hope of glory.  It is Christ enthroned here and now in your heart that gives you a sure and certain hope of Glory. "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

When Paul is writing to the Galatians, he referred to his first birth and his second birth. Galatians 1:15-16 He says, "When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen." This is Paul's understanding of what took place in his own experience when he was born again. It was that the Christ he had seen in Stephen, that he had heard about from the lips of Stephen, the Christ Who had caused the face of Stephen to shine as an angel's when he was about to die, the Christ Who made him willing to suffer even unto death. The Christ Who made him pray for his enemies with his dying breath -- now dwelt in him.

Paul's understanding of what took place when he was born again was that this same Christ came within his heart to set up His throne there, and to reign over his life as his Lord and Master. If our experience is not of a change of masters, if it does not mean that the Christ Who lived for us and Who died for us, and Who is now sitting interceding at God's right hand for His own, is henceforth recognized as the only Master over our lives and all we are, then our experience is going to be a very bitter and disappointing  thing in a short while. But if our surrender to His claims is full and complete, then we know our experience will be similar to that of God's own people in other days.

Twenty years after this experience took place in his life, Paul describes it again in Galatians 2:20. He says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me: and the Life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me." The Christ Who had come to live in him twenty years before was living in him still. He had never left him nor forsaken him, and it was by the power of that same Christian life, without which he could not do so.

Galatians 4:19. Paul was terribly troubled about some of those people. They had professed through his own ministry, and had gone on well for a time, but then something had happened. There were some who came in and troubled them: they were caused to turn aside and to put their hope and confidence in other things, and now Paul had to tell them he stood in doubt of them.

In this verse he said, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you." He had written in the second chapter, "Christ liveth in me," and now he expresses his desire for those men and women that Christ might indeed be formed in them.  It would be a very wholesome question for us to ask ourselves as individuals:  Is Christ being formed in us? Is there more of Christ in our lives this year than last year? Are we knowing more of fellowship with

Christ's sufferings this year than last year? There is nothing that will soften and mellow a life more than knowing what it is to go with Him often into the place of suffering. Even though sometimes it may come from sources we never expected, yet fellowship with Christ in His suffering will mean much to that child of God who is willing to go into the Garden with Him.

"My little children." There is nothing so encouraging to natural parents as to see their children growing and becoming strong, manifesting more of the earthly, human life as they grow older in years. And this is equally true of God's children and His family. There is nothing so encouraging as to see little evidences of separation unto

God, evidences of breaking away from the prevailing fashions of the day, and the habits and associations that would hinder.

When Paul was writing to the Corinthians he said, "Examine your selves, prove your own selves, whether ye be in the faith: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you except ye be reprobates? I believe with all my heart that God by His Holy Spirit is anxious to impart a willingness to make room for that life, because there are so many things and so many people that would crowd Him out that it is a constant struggle to keep Him established on the throne.

You know what happened to the church at Laodicea. Those people professed through better preachers than you did, but there came a time when they became perfectly satisfied with the outward things of God's people and testimony. They believed in the right fellowship and the right way to worship, but something had happened that was very serious. Christ had been dethroned, pushed out of His own palaces, and while they kept up the very form of their religion, Christ was left

outside of their lives.

To me, one of the greatest manifestations of His undying love is that instead of forsaking them and letting them go, He said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him and he with Me."  Even though they had treated Him so meanly, He was standing there still, willing to establish His throne afresh in their hearts. "Be zealous, therefore, and repent. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne: even as I also overcame, and am sat down with My Father in His throne."

In 2 Corinthians 4 there are two other terms that Paul uses in order to describe this experience which we as the children of God enjoy. It speaks of us having this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of ourselves. Paul uses this term 'TREASURE' in connection with the  something we possess - "we have this treasure." We know very well that if any of us possessed an earthly treasure, we would value it very highly and endeavor to take good care of it, would risk much lest anyone would take it from us. This body that we have is just a house of clay that will soon go back to the earth from which it came. It is an earthly vessel worth about sixty-five cents, if it were reduced to that from which it has been made.

Remember the parable of the man who found a hidden treasure. He didn't know it was in existence, but when he found it, he had sense enough to make it his own. That is how it was with some of us. We didn't know there was anything like this in the world, but when we stumbled on it and saw its value, we were prepared to make it our own. Others are like the man seeking a goodly pearl. They hunt for it, and sometimes they are disappointed, but when the pearl of great price was brought within our reach, God gave us wisdom enough to see the price was worth it, and we sold all we had and made it our own. So now we have treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:10, "That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." This phrase occurs twice in this chapter.  Many times I have been almost staggered in my reasoning and belief when I tried to fully fathom the real meaning of this. Can it be possible that behind all God's dealings with mankind, with your life and mine, that one great purpose has governed it all, and that is that some time, somewhere, you and I might be willing for the life also of the Lord Jesus to be made manifest through our mortal flesh!         

This fleshly temple of clay is going to corruption, and going back to the clay one day, but meanwhile the purpose of God is that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in the flesh! We are here as the children of God, and we still have the human life and nature we got from our first parents, and we are going to carry that with us to the grave. But through the new birth, we have become partakers of the new life and nature, and that is something that we are going to take with us beyond the grave.

That is the comforting thought, and what we need to learn is how to deal with the old nature, how to put off the things that belong to it naturally, and keep these desires and appetites which we have in common, in the place of death. We need to learn how to starve and bring into subjection this old nature that is so difficult to deal with, and how to feed the new nature. Then the new nature will grow stronger and stronger, and as we grow older in the Way of Life, we will make manifest more of the new nature and the new life, so that there will be less evidence of the rule and reign of the old nature and the old life.

Each of us has not only a personality of our own, but we have an individuality. We are separate and different from all others, and as individuals, we have different God-given responsibilities to deal with the old nature, and also to encourage the growth of the new nature.  The trouble with most of us is that we have been encouraging and feeding the old nature, and that old nature has been growing and has been developing and manifesting itself in ways that have worried us.  But if we learned the secret of putting off the old and putting on the new, learned the secret symbolized by our baptism, putting the old in the place of death -- then the new life might be manifested and become more real to us as the days go by.

Don't worry yourself about the fact that there is this conflict within. You are going to have it to the end of the chapter, and the older you get the more you will discover that there is nothing good in you.  Paul said, "I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." He had no confidence in the flesh. It was an enemy that led him astray many times. We need to listen to the still small voice of the Christ within, and obey His promptings, and follow His leadings, and if we do that, it will deal with the natural worldliness by which we all are tempted, and the natural fleshliness, and with the seductiveness of the evil one.

I am more satisfied than ever that the live in the Hymn puts it very clearly -- "The secret of all victory is obedience to the Christ within." I feel very grateful to God for the gift of His Son as the Apostle of our profession, as the High Priest of our profession, and also for Him as our indwelling Saviour and Lord. We ought to be very thankful for such a bountiful supply to meet our every need until our little race is over.