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~ The Spirit Filled Believer ~

One consistent characteristic of conversion is that no two conversion experiences are exactly the same. We are all individuals and we are all unique. Some people experience a dynamic, miraculous cleansing while others feel nothing at the point of their decision to follow Christ. God knows all of us much better than we know ourselves and he meets each of us at a level that he lovingly determines is most appropriate and suits us best. Another constant, is the change that occurs at the point of conversion. It may take a little time before some realize that there is truly something different going on. We realize the winds of change are blowing and excitement sets in as it actually renders the peace and joy that we were promised. We are a new creature in Christ. Old things are passed away and we can never predict where the Holy Spirit will lead us next.
John 3:8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
Others may see immediate results and marvel at the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit as thier burden is gloriously lifted; much like the apostle Paul on the Damascus road. Acts chapter 22
On the other hand, the term "Born Again Christian" has been used to a large extent by some to describe their spiritual condition when in fact many of them may not understand or experience the changes that take place in a person's heart and mind at the point of true conversion. The term has been abused and misused and in some cases diminished by some whose lifestyles do not support the claim or those who sugarcoat the true gospel message. Although our salvation is secure in Christ, being born again does not give us a license to sin. If anyone assumes otherwise, they are either misinterpreting scripture
or they are still lost in their sins.

~ The Two Natures ~

True repentance does not mean that we will never commit sin again. What it does mean is that we now possess the awareness that we can no longer sin without conviction and along with that comes the knowledge that we cannot sin with impunity. Until we are fully redeemed, (I Corinthians 15: 50-58) the two natures will continue to war against one another. But when we allow the power of the new birth to take control, the spirit is then released to overcome the flesh.
The following anonymous quote puts this battle in perspective:
"Two natures beat within my breast. The one is foul, the one is blest. The one I love, the one I hate.
The one I feed will dominate."

God does not force himself on any of us, but at the same time he protects us from ourselves with loving discipline. We are free to feed either of the two natures as we choose but we can be certain that discipline will follow pre-meditated violation
of the priciples of God because he is faithful to us and to his promise.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
Sin is then defined, in the heart of the believer, by way of conviction from the Holy Spirit; not by a list of dos and don'ts.
1 John Chapter 3 / specifically verses 20 - 24

~ Regeneration ~

It can be said that regeneration is both an event, as we are quickened by the Holy Spirit, and a process, wherein we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In the process of regeneration, as it manifests itself through sanctification, true believers will experience chastening by a loving God; sometimes to the extent that the believer, struggling with this war between the flesh and the spirit, ultimately comes to the conclusion that sin against a Holy God is unprofitable, uncomfortable and not worth the grief that results from reverting back to the destructive, habitual lifestyle that once ruled his or her life. Because of his love for his children, God will use the necessary level of discipline to keep us from destroying ourselves. If we persist that discipline can be very painful. That is why we refer to him as Savior and Lord. Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. The old lifestyle soon becomes secondary and distasteful, and progressively fades into the background, as the new believer begins to taste victory over sin. That is when true freedom begins to set in. Freedom from the bondage of fear, self-centeredness, materialism, backbiting, self righteousness, addiction and predominance toward a pleasure seeking life. The old "me first" self rule begins to die and the new Christ centered life of self denial begins to live. Although the challenges of our life experience still surround us, we begin to communicate more effectively with God through prayer. He then responds by speaking to our heart and faithfully guides us toward a life experience of peace and purpose, giving us the power to confront life's challenges with more security, confidence, hope and effectiveness.
Matthew 16:24
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Acts 20:35 I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. The word of God begins to come to life and make sense in ways that were never perceived before. Regeneration has begun and the believer has no doubt that God is truly doing a magnificent work of reconstruction in a once spiritually dead soul; preparing that soul unto redemption.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

It is important to understand that the experience of the new birth is not something we can initiate on our own, or that somehow we can achieve the required level of response by our own will. We must invite him to intervene. It is only by divine intervention that we are saved.
Ephesians 2: 8&9
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works lest any man should boast.

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

"Born Again" is not a term to be loosely applied to opportunistic, self-serving ambitions. It is a divine act of God; a life changing experience not to be compared to any other. It also carries with it the willingness to suffer persecution for the glory of God in magnifying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

The result is a renewed sense of faith, strength, peace and joy; and confidence in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. A blanket of security that covers us regardless of our circumstances and grants us eternal life. Matthew 28:20 I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

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