Dead or Alive

Paul Hoffmaster

Paul Hoffmaster

Understanding what happens to us at our spiritual rebirth is so shrouded by traditional teaching that its reality fails to make an impact on our lives.  To many new converts, the “rebirth” experience is treated as an extension of who they are instead of what they have become.   They then begin a journey of learning how to fit this new experience into their lives.  They learn to use different words and behaviors.  They acquire an early interest in the Bible.  Going to church becomes a weekly routine.  They learn to talk to God through different techniques and routines.  If someone would ask them if they were a Believer, they would answer with an affirmative gesture or verbal affirmation.  They say the right words and exhibit the predetermined behavioral patterns of a “born again” individual, but sadly, what is seen is simply a cleaned up sinner.  We must realize it is not the merging of two lives, but the losing of one life and the receiving of a new life.  It is not just asking Jesus to come into our heart, but a receiving of a new heart.  It is not only cleaning up our vocabulary, but learning a whole new language.  It is not forming a renewed life, but being transformed into the life of Christ.  It is not struggling to understand God, it is knowing Him.  It is not going to church, it is being the Church.  It is not seeking the things of the world, but setting our affections on the things of the Kingdom of God.  It is not a makeover, but a new creation.  It is not a renewal, but a new life.

For many years I have tried to understand how the Church has become so much like the world.  I have seen Believers acting so unbiblical.  Instead of seeing the Fruit of the Spirit flourishing from us, we exhibit characteristics of the old life.  Many Christians go to their places of worship and act super-spiritual, but when the service is over, we change back into our resurrected old creature.  If we really understood our position in Christ, our Country would be a Christian nation!

Many Christians have not been taught correctly.  What we receive from Christian leadership is preaching and teaching that caters to what people want to hear, instead of what they need to hear.  Much of Christian instruction centers on making teachings palpable and fitting for the hearer’s lifestyle.  Experiencing rebirth is more than just saying a few words; it is a total sacrificing of oneself.  It is going to the cross with Jesus and dying to self.  It is being buried with Him.  It is being resurrected with Him.  It is ascending into the Throne Room of God and sitting with Him.  I challenge every Believer to go to the Scripture and see the Truth that has failed to be taught!

What I have been describing is from our spirit’s perspective.  What we need is to get our mind to accept the reality of this rebirth.  Our spirit seeks the things above, while our mind seeks the things below.  Whichever is given more attention will dominate.  Our body will then display or carry out the wishes of either the spirit or mind.  The reason the Church is so powerless in combating the assault against its foundation is because we have not reckoned ourselves as dead but alive to our Creator.  We are in the world, but not of the world.  Yet, we act like the world in so many ways.  The reason so many Christian leaders fail morally is they have let their minds override their spirits.  When that happens, the body exhibits the results.  In the New Testament, the mystery of the Gospel was revealed by the open invitation to the non-Jews.  From Calvary on, the salvation message was offered to the “whosoevers.”  Today, there is another mystery that has been so carefully hidden under contemporary preaching: many Christians only know how to display the form of Godliness. The power of the Gospel is revealed through the understanding that the real power comes from a born-again experience.  The only way to achieve that power is the death of oneself.  This is the mystery revealed!