Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Breath of the Almighty, Part 1

Some years ago, a friend of ours in a bible study told about a conversation she had with her young son. He asked her, "Mom, where did I come from?". Although they had already had this discussion before (so she thought) she began, "When a mommy and daddy love each other...", but he interrupted her. He said, "No, Mom, I know that. Where did the inside of me come from?" She knew what he meant. He was asking where his spirit came from. She wasn't sure.

Here she was, a Christian of many years, and she had never thought about where one's spirit and soul come from. Her son was curious about something that we hardly ever think about. Where does the inside of us come from? We ought to know.

Thank God, the Bible tells us. "The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life; and man became a living being." (Gen. 2:7) God made Adam's body first, then gave him a spirit. He breathed life into him. We all get our bodies from our parents, but our spirits come from God. God is called "the Father of spirits". (Heb 12:9)

It is interesting that the Bible states that God 'breathed'. God does not need to breathe, does He? If He breathes, it is for our benefit. God's breath has creative power. "By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host." (Psalm 33:6)

It is also interesting that both the Hebrew and Greek words for breath also mean 'spirit'. So the breath of God is the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus met with the disciples after his resurrection, "He breathed on them and said to them, 'receive the Holy Spirit'". (John 20:22) (Please do not confuse the receiving of the Spirit in this incident with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit where the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. That is a different thing.) Yes, they received the Spirit the day that Jesus breathed on them.

What did they get? They got new life, the Eternal Life that God had promised them. Eternal Life is the nature of God imparted to our spirits in the new birth. Jesus had breathed Himself, His Spirit, into the disciples. They became "partakers of the divine nature". (2 Pet. 1:4) The disciples became spiritually children of God. It was not adoption; it was a new birth, a new creation. "Therefore, if any one be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away, all thing become new and all things are of God." (2 Cor 5:17,18a) There is a direct link between the old and new creation. In the old creation, God breathed into Adam natural human life. In the new creation, Jesus breathes into us the very Life of God. As Ezekiel prophesied long ago, "I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you." Ezek. 36:26 Our spirits, that were dead in trespasses and sins, were brought to life. A new, born-again spirit was given to us and the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us.

We are not "sinners, saved by grace". We are new creations in Christ. The new creation will not be fully manifested until after the final judgment when we enter the new heavens and new earth. But it began with Jesus Christ. It continues in us today. We need to grow and let the good work that He has begun in us be perfected until the Day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)

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