BTC – Phase 3 – Lesson 1
Defining the New Man & The Fruit of the Spirit
Gift of Grace: We learned in BTC Phase 2, that Baptism has three elements, the second of which is the “Baptism with the Holy Ghost” bringing us the Gift of the Spirit (Grace.) So in BTC Phase 3, we will begin to look at how the presence of that Spirit can not only influence our spiritual growth, but be the basis for our “nature-change” from self-oriented to spiritually-minded.
Meet the “New Man”: That Holy Spirit has many other Names in the Bible such as, “Greater He,” “Another Comforter,” “Holy Spirit of Grace,” “Living Word,” or even “Christ”; but let’s look now at another “Name” for Grace which is the “New Man” found in the following Scripture: “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the New Man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” – Ephesians 4:23-24 (KJV)
All Things “New”: From the Bible and likely members of the Body of Christ, you will also hear about a few other “new things” such as “New Creature in Christ,” representing who we are “becoming in Christ” or referencing how we act when directly influenced or led by the Spirit of God. This “change of natures” is often seen in the notably different way we find ourselves using words, A.K.A. “New tongues,” (not to be confused with “speaking in tongues.”) Hence, as our motives change over time, there is definitely a “new way” in which we begin to approach all of our choices and options once “Christ/Grace” has come to live in our hearts.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
The Old Man: This developing “spiritual nature,” is of course, very different from what the “old nature” or the “old man” is like, who Scripture suggests, operates within the limitations and restrictions of the flesh-based realm (AKA “human nature.”) Here is an example: (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 KJV)
Grace is guiding us forward: How do we overcome the “wiles” (ways & habits) of the old man? Well, by maintaining contact with the Spirit within us (Grace/Holy Spirit/New Man/Greater He), we have a kind of “spiritual reference point” for our souls and minds; and as we continue to hold to the Holy Spirit, we will be able to make the shift from perceiving and reacting through the limitations of our intellect, emotions, cultural indoctrination, etc., to consistently “seeing” through the perspective or “lens” of the Spirit of God.
Fruit of the Spirit: This change shows up on the outside of us as a more loving and patient person; and this outward expression of “maturity in the Spirit” is known as the “Fruit of the Spirit” which includes character traits such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance such as what we see in Galatians 5:22-25 – KJV: (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Growing up “In Christ”: Thus, an authentic spiritual journey where Jesus is concerned, involves being actively engaged in a transformation process resulting from an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit (Living Word), regardless of how long a member has been in the Body of Christ, of whether or not they are engaged in religious activities, or even if they hold some kind of leadership role or organizational title.
Finding Fruit: In short, folks should be able to find “Fruit” flowing from us, whether we are wearing holy robes or blue jeans; and even if we in the Body are all dressed up, looking “fine” in our religious outfits with our reverse collar adjusted correctly, our tunic or choir garment neatly pressed…will they know us? Even if we are walking proudly with our Holy Book tucked under our arm and our “religious jewelry” draped about our necks or dangling from our fingertips, what will be the primary way that others can know if we are involved in any “real” spiritual process (operating by the “Spirit of God”)?
Known by our Fruit: Well, here is what Jesus said: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16 KJV
So, even under duress or when no one is watching but God, those who wish to be “known by their fruits” will strive to walk in Mercy and Grace through all events, everywhere they happen to be, in the way they treat others and not just in religious services when emotions can be high while holding hands & singing spiritual anthems. We should be prepared to “be the Church” everywhere we go, holding the daily intention of sharing the love and compassion of God with everyone we meet.
Seal of the Spirit: Have you ever heard that expression, “It takes one to know one?” Well, to distinguish those who have begun their walk with the Holy Spirit, the Bible refers to something known as the “Seal of the Spirit,” not such that can be seen by the physical eye, but rather sensed via a kind of “inner knowing” on the part of others who have received the Gift of Grace and who also walk by that Holy Spirit. This “seal” also speaks of our new identity and new ethnicity in Christ, beyond race, gender, denominations, national boundaries, and culture. It reminds us of our Unity within the Body of Christ via the common thread of the Spirit that lives in each of us.
2 Corinthians 1:22: “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
Ephesians 1:13: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
Conclusion: No matter what challenges we encounter in life, the opportunity remains for all of us to keep going forward in our relationship with the New Man within us; and “if or when” we struggle along the way, we can re-focus on the Spirit and ask for God’s guidance in doing better in the future as we continue to rely upon Grace for strength and developing wisdom.
Our Faith and confidence is in God who not only led us to the Cross to begin the process of transformation, but also gives us everything we need via the examples left for us in the life of Jesus (Mercy) as well as via the Resurrection Power (Grace); this is so we can finish the race and finish lawfully.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7 (KJV) “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7 (KJV)