Man is a spirit, who lives in a body, and possesses a soul.
God who is Spirit stepped out of eternity and created the natural material world by the creative power of His living word. (Genesis 1, John 1) God created Adam, the first man from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7, 1 Corinthians 15:45)
When Adam rebelled against God, and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the paradise of God, sin entered his being and he was cut off from the life giving nature of God. Man became estranged from his creator, and all of creation was plunged into spiritual darkness as the result of sin that entered the creation. Romans 5:12 (NKJV) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.
God provided the perfect sacrifice through Jesus, the Christ (the anointed one) in order to pay the penalty for man’s sin, and remove the judgment that was against all of humanity because of the sin nature that was inherited through Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:21-32 (NKJV) For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
In order to partake of this new life that is made available through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ man’s nature must be transformed through the new birth, or should we say the rebirth of his spirit. (John 3) You see man is by nature sinful, while God is holy. In order for man to come back into perfect relationship with God his nature must be transformed. For this reason when anyone calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ, surrenders to His will, and fully trusts His sacrifice to save them, God’s Spirit enters their being and recreates their spirit. In an instant they are transformed from a hell bound sinner into a child of the Most High God. We are not simply forgiven sinners; we are actually transformed within our spirits. Our human spirit is recreated in the image and nature of God. We literally are made partakers of the very life and nature of God Himself. 2 Peter 1:4 (NKJV)…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust., 1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV) But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
When we are born of God by His Spirit our human spirit is recreated. From that moment the Holy Spirit literally comes to reside in us and we become the living temples of God. His Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13), bears witness with our spirit to confirm that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16), and equips us with His power and ability to live by God’s will, and carry out His Kingdom’s desires in the earth. (Acts 1:8, 1 John 4:4)
More Than Forgiven Sinners Many refer to the Believer as simply forgiven sinners. I have often heard people make the statement that “we are all sinners, saved by grace.” This statement is actually not biblical. You see we are not merely forgiven sinners. The nature of a sinner is sin, while the nature of the Believer is righteousness. Paul makes this distinction in one of his letters to the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 (NLT) What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. You will notice that the apostle Paul by the Spirit of God draws a clear distinction between those who are born of God, and those who are not. The Christian was a sinner, he/she was saved by the grace of God, and now they are the righteousness through their union with Christ.
You see the sinner is a sinner because of his/her nature. They sin because they are attracted to sin just as a fly is attracted to manure. This is where we all have come from. Before I came to surrender my life to Christ in 1982 I lived a sin filled life. I enjoyed the sin I was involved in because there is pleasure in sin for a season. (Hebrews 11:25) If sin had no pleasure people would try to avoid it, but because of the fleshly appetite that came through the fall man is attracted to every sort of ungodly vice. (Romans 1, Ephesians 4, Galatians 5) A sinner sins because sin is their nature, just as a cow moos, a horse whinnies, and a pig grunts. In order to transform a sinner his/her nature must be changed, or they will ultimately go back to what their nature dictates. 2 Peter 2:22 (NKJV) But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
When we are born of God, He takes out of us the sinful nature, and replaces our sinful spirit with a new regenerate heart that is born of His Spirit, and thus able to carry out his will. We are filled with His righteousness and joined to His life by His Spirit. This is the great exchange that is only available through the work of the blood of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 & 21 (Amplified Bible) Therefore if any person is [engrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come… 21For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].
World religions attempt to reform man from the exterior but this will never work. The spirit of man must be transformed or he is simply a whitewashed grave. He looks good on the outside, but is dead on the inside, just like our cemeteries. Until man’s nature is changed he may look good on the outside, but is ultimately spiritually dead, and estranged to God. Through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ we can be transformed, and assured of the life and nature of God within our spirits.