John Wesley on Prayer Lesson 70

*Communion with God in New Birth

Created in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:10 NASB

Having been born again from above, one may now be properly said to live. God has quickened him by His Spirit, and he is alive to God through Jesus Christ. He lives a life the world knows not—a life which is “hid with Christ in God.” God continually breathing upon the soul, as by a kind of spiritual respiration, and the soul is breathing unto God. Grace is descending into the heart, and prayer and praise are ascending to heaven. By this communion between God and himself, this fellowship with the Father and the Son, the life of God in the soul is sustained. The child of God grows up, till he comes to the full measure of the stature of Christ (see Ephesians 4:13).

We see that the nature of the new birth is that great change which God works in the soul when He brings it to life, raising it from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. It is the change wrought in the whole soul by the almighty Spirit of God when the soul is created anew in Christ Jesus, renewed after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness (see Ephesians 4:24). The love of the world is changed into the love of God; pride into humility; passion into meekness; hatred, envy, malice into a sincere, tender love for all. In a word, it is the change whereby the earthly, sensual, devilish mind is turned into the mind that was in Christ Jesus. This is the nature of the new birth: “So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.

In this seventieth lesson on prayer, Wesley shows us the true nature of new birth in Christ by the Spirit of God. The key word in this lesson is change. Changed from death to life. Changed from carnal to spiritual. Changed from slavery to sin to freedom in love. Changed from an alienated mind to a Christ-like mind.

In Ephesians 2:1-13, the apostle Paul writes,

1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 11Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ” Uncircumcision” by the so-called ” Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands– 12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (NASB).

Paul here gives us a snapshot of that change we go through in the new birth. He lays out what we once were and what we are now. In reference to the way we come into this change, Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24, that we need “… lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Wesley ends with, “In a word, it is the change whereby the earthly, sensual, devilish mind is turned into the mind that was in Christ Jesus. This is the nature of the new birth: “So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Published by doctorpaddy

An ordained minister, Christian communicator, and educator.

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