The Bible uses the term ‘metamorphoo’ to describe changes that take place in a person’s life when they truly receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. [meta = over. morphe = form or shape] At the moment of true faith, the Spirit of Christ enters the heart of the believer and a seal is placed upon the believer’s heart. The seal is called ‘the seal of redemption’.
From that moment on the nature and attitudes of Christ are thus transposed into this person’s innermost being. It is this experience Jesus spoke of when He said,
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” (Joh 7:38 NASB)
The action that places the believer into Christ is called the believer’s immersion into Christ or the believer’s baptism into Christ. It is in our heavenly birth that we are made one with Christ. The apostle also speaks of this action as our being clothed with Christ. In another place Paul says that our life is now hidden or concealed in Christ. Thus we have the miracle of the cross.
This brings us to the major thought in our Scripture reading. What did Jesus mean when He directed attention to the promise of the Father?
The Sphere of the Spirit
The promise of the Father reaches back into eternity. We see it played throughout the pages of the Bible. The promise was the promise of a new life to come. Even before the fall of Adam the scene of new life is set forth in creation itself.
Notice carefully how the Spirit of God and the Word of God meet together in bringing forth new life:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Gen 1:1-3 NASB)
It is this scene that will be played out time and time again each time a new person is birthed into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. Note the elements:
- Formless and void. The sinner’s life of darkness.
- The Spirit of God begins to move over the heart of the sinner, arranging and preparing.
- Then God says, ‘Let there be light’, and the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ enters thebelieving person’s heart and now we have another child of the living God.
Does this sound like an overreach on my part. Listen to Paul:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.
“For God, who said, ‘light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
(2Co 4:3-6 NASB)
A point needs to be made. Anyone can be religious. Being born again is not an emotional work-up, nor is it simply mental acquiescence. A person can be a church goer all his or her life and be nothing more than religious in nature. It happens all the time. Suddenly this person wakes up. It dawns on them that they have missed the boat. What made the change. The Light of the gospel of Jesus Christ begins to penetrate their heart. Their darkness was a religious darkness. They were simply religious sinners into ‘church-idolatry’. And now they become a truly born from heaven child of God.
The Day of New Life – Pentecost
When Peter began to preach on the day of Pentecost, he called attention to the Father’s promise. Concerning the Holy Spirit, Peter said,
For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:39)
Then we have this from Isaiah;
For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants; and they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water.” (Isa44:3,4)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a term that speaks of the covenant experience wherein a believer receives the life of Messiah. The apostle said,
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1Co12:13)
The Covenant of Christ
The most beautiful picture we have of the Father’s promise of our new life in Christ is found in the analogy of the Vine and the branches. (John 15:1-8.
Look at it closely —
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (Joh 15:1-8 NASB)
It is easy to misunderstand what the analogy of the Vine and branches is about. The Vine had long been a symbol of Israel’s covenant relationship with the Lord. Over the temple door was the emblem of the vine. Jesus had in view Israel itself. Those of Israel who reject Him would become the rejected branches.
When Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing,” the Greek word ‘meno‘ means to stay in place, or to remain within a sphere.
We have a picture of this when God said to Abraham,
I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you.” Gen 17:1,2
The word covenant in Hebrew is ‘berith.’ In Greek it is ‘diatheke.’ Both words speak of a declaration of the will of God concerning His own commitment, promises, and conditions by which He enters into relationship with man. God is the initiator and completer of the covenant. This is why the vine is a vivid picture of our new covenant relationship in Christ. The believer is to look to the Lord Jesus for everything in life.
What did Jesus tell the disciples about their vine life?
Without Me you can do nothing.”
Our perfect example for the vine life is Jesus Himself. Not one time in His earth walk do we ever see Jesus defensive or frustrated. His secret is in something He said;
I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30)
The flow of new life
It really isn’t hard for a child of God to learn to live in the flow of new life. There are things we need to understand. First, we need to understand that God has a perfect will for all of His children. Secondly, we need to know that God is the only One who can work His will in our life. And finally, we must learn the great principle of new covenant life. Listen:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20 NASB)
It is in our trusting in Jesus that we come to know more about this wonderful thing called God’s providence. There is no part of a believer’s life that the Father is not vitally concerned with. The prophet of old said,
The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lam3:22,23
As we learn to walk in loving submission to the Lord, we are given a promise of fruitfulness. The privileges and experiences of a new covenant child of God are awesome indeed. Where the Old Testament saint relied greatly on a prophet and priest mediator, the new covenant child of God has direct, open, and immediate access to the Lord, at any moment, and under any circumstance.
What do you think about ‘The promise of the Father’. Would love to hear from you.
Let this song minister to your heart. - ‘I Believe in Jesus’.
Much love to be found in Jesus,