HAVING BEEN REGENERATED
BY THE SPIRIT WITH THE LIFE OF GOD
AS THE SEED CONTAINED IN GOD’S WORD
In speaking concerning our growth in Christ, we must begin with regeneration. Our growth is based on the fact that we have been regenerated by the Spirit with the life of God as the seed contained in God’s word (John 3:5-6, 15; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23; James 1:18; Matt. 13:3; 1 John 3:9). First, we were born in Adam through our parents; therefore, we have had one birth already. However, according to God’s economy, every person should have another birth, a second birth; that is, every person should be regenerated. To be generated once is not adequate. We need to be regenerated—not to be born of our parents but to be born of God (John 1:12-13). We were born once of man, yet we need to be born a second time of God. Actually, we were created after God’s kind, but that was not adequate. To be God’s kind, we need God to be our life. This means that we need God to be our content.
When we believe in the Lord Jesus, the main thing is not that we are forgiven of our sins. Being forgiven of our sins is not the goal or the purpose. Being forgiven is merely the first step of the procedure to reach regeneration. Being redeemed, being forgiven of our sins, being justified by God, and being reconciled to God through Christ’s redemption are four steps to reach the goal of regeneration.
Because we were sinners and even were the totality of sin with a sinful constitution, we needed God’s forgiveness. The way for us to be forgiven by God is through Christ’s redemption. Christ died a vicarious death for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3). Therefore, in Him, through Him, and with Him we have been redeemed (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Eph. 1:7). Based on Christ’s redemption, God no longer condemns us but justifies us (Rom. 3:24). Now there is no problem between us and God. Then God reconciled us to Himself (2 Cor. 5:18; Rom. 5:10). Thus, our situation and condition before God have been fully appeased. We are now fully at peace with God (Rom. 5:1). However, although we have been redeemed, forgiven of our sins, justified by God, and reconciled to God so that we no longer have any problem with God, this is not the goal. Even though we may be thoroughly cleansed and purified, there still has been no change in our nature, substance, element, and essence. We are the same in essence as we were before. Our being dirty or clean does not change our inward essence. Whether dishes are washed or remain dirty, they are still dishes; their essence is not changed.
Hence, after redeeming us, forgiving us, justifying us, and reconciling us to Himself, God came in to regenerate us. This is not only the last step of God’s salvation to us but also the goal, the aim, of salvation. However, this goal, this aim, has been almost fully neglected by most of today’s Christians. As long as they have been forgiven, have peace, and eventually will go to heaven, many Christians are satisfied. As long as they have Christ as their righteousness and are justified, that is all that matters to them. It is true that we have been justified, but justification is not for justification. Justification is for something further (Rom. 5:18b and note 2). Redemption, forgiveness, justification, and reconciliation are all for one goal: regeneration. Ultimately and consummately, we need a new birth. We need to be reborn (John 3:3, 5). We not only need to be washed; we need to be reborn, to be remade, to be transformed in our nature. We were made of clay. Because of this, we are very "muddy." The more we wash something made of clay, the dirtier it gets. Likewise, the more we try to wash ourselves, the more we expose our dirtiness.
Instead of being merely washed, we need to be regenerated. We need to be born of another life, a divine life, a life in another category. We need to be born of God and with God. As believers in Christ, we have experienced such a divine birth. On the day we repented, when we called on the name of the Lord Jesus, something unconsciously entered into us. Although we did not expect this to happen, something was added into us. That something is actually not a thing but a person, the divine person. The very God, even the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, came into us (Eph. 4:6; Col. 1:27; John 14:17). We have another person in us as a threefold Being—the Triune God.
As believers in Christ, we are not alone. We do not live, walk, and have our being by ourselves. We do not rejoice or weep by ourselves. We are continually with one Person who is not outside of us but within us. When we are happy, He is happy. When we are sad, He is sad. When we weep, He washes away our tears. We have another One with us. This One is the Triune God, the One who was triune from eternity, who created man, who even became a man, who walked and lived on this earth for thirty-three and a half years, who went to die on the cross an all-inclusive death for us, and who resurrected to become the life-giving Spirit. Today this One is the life-giving Spirit within us. Through this Spirit we have been reborn, regenerated, in our spirit (John 3:6). The Spirit of God regenerated our spirit. Now these two have become one mingled spirit (1 Cor. 6:17).
We were regenerated by the Spirit with the life of God. When the Spirit regenerates our spirit, we receive God as life. The regenerating Spirit brought God into our spirit as our life. From that time we began to have two lives—our natural life from our parents, and our divine life, which is from God and is God. The life of God is the seed contained in God’s holy word. Here we have four things: the Spirit, the life of God, the seed, and the word. This means that God Himself as life has been sown as a seed into us.
In regeneration the Holy Spirit sowed God as a life seed into our being. The Lord Jesus likened the natural being of man to a field. He said that He came to sow Himself as a seed, through the word, into this field (Matt. 13:3, 19a; Mark 4:3, 14). The Lord Jesus came as a life seed to sow Himself into our being. From the day that the Lord sowed Himself into us, we have been growing not only physically but also divinely and spiritually. This is the growth of the believers. In today’s Christianity divine matters like these are not taught very much. Instead, much of the teaching in today’s Christianity focuses on matters such as how to have a good married life and family life. This is a tragedy.
(The Organic Union in God's Relationship with Man, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)