II Corinthians 5:17 AMP Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
There’s something special that takes place in a person’s spirit when Jesus comes to be their own personal Savior and Lord. The Bible says they become a new creature; their old previous moral and spiritual condition becomes new and fresh. The heart of that person that was previously spiritually dead now becomes alive. We call that act of rebirth as regeneration.
Titus 3:5 AMP He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [th] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
It is in that moment of acceptance of what Jesus did on our behalf in payment of the penalty for our sin that we become “born again”; born of the Spirit, and regenerated into a new creation in Christ Jesus. Spiritually we become a new person. We look the same on the outside, but the heart is changed. Our spirits are then indwelt by the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit who comes to live within that person.
Regeneration – Reproduction; the act of producing anew. In theology, new birth by the grace of God; that change by which the will and natural enmity of man to God and his law are subdued, and a principle of supreme love to God and his law, or holy affections, are implanted in the heart. (definition from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language)
When the Holy Spirit comes to live within us He brings His fruit, His character and nature with Him. We are now indwelt by God’s Spirit and so our DNA, so to speak, is changed. We now have the DNA of our Father, God.
What is DNA? It is deoxyribonucleic acid, or better known as DNA. We all know that elephants only give birth to little elephants, giraffes to giraffes, dogs to dogs and so on for every type of living creature. But why is this so?
The answer lies in a molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which contains the biological instructions that make each species unique. DNA, along with the instructions it contains, is passed from adult organisms to their offspring during reproduction.
According to God’s Word when we become new creations in Christ Jesus our spiritual DNA is changed. We have now been born of God’s Spirit and His DNA flows through our veins as it did in the original creation of man in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 1:27 AMP So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.
When sin entered the heart of man the spiritual nature of man in relation to God changed. The human nature, or the soul, became the driving force in man’s decision making process. He no longer could commune spiritually with His God as he had done before sin entered his heart. Spiritually he was considered dead. But that changes and he becomes alive spiritually when he receives Jesus as Savior and Lord. The channel of communication is once again established and the spirit of man is quickened or made alive. Now he can relate spirit to Spirit through the indwelling of God’s Spirit within him.
So, the Holy Spirit, when He comes to indwell man’s reborn spirit, brings with Him His fruit, or His character and nature, the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22, 23 AMP But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
Once regeneration takes place the Holy Spirit begins working to change the character and nature of the person that has received Jesus as Savior and Lord. Even though at salvation, or the initial moment that a person is changed spiritually to become a new creation, the process of changing the character and nature of that person is worked out as a process. We are being changed from faith to faith and from glory to glory as the Holy Spirit works on our character development.
2 Corinthians 3:18 AMP And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit works in us to change our character and nature to match the Lord’s when He comes to live within us.
The gifts of the Spirit are totally different. They have nothing to do with a person’s character and nature; they are endowments for service. The Holy Spirit gives gifts as He wills to do the work of ministry and are given to build up or edify the church. They are described in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Love as discussed in 1 Corinthians 13 is what makes the gifts of God’s Spirit work. I like to think of the love chapter and it’s description in 1 Corinthians 13 as the mortar that holds the bricks of God’s gifts together. Without love, which is a “fruit”, or character and nature of God’s Spirit, we cannot function properly in displaying the “gifts”, or endowments of the Spirit even though He may give us with one. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given as they are needed for the work of ministry in ministering to people in need.
1 Corinthians 12:1; 4 AMP NOW ABOUT the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed. Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same.
Gifts – Greek word charisma. Strong’s #5486. Related to other words derived from the root char. Char is joy, cheerfulness, delight. Charis is grace, goodwill, undeserved favor. Charisma is a gift of grace, a free gift, divine gratuity, spiritual endowment, miraculous faculty. It is especially used to designate the gifts of the Spirit.
The “gifts” of the Spirit and the “fruit” of the Spirit are two totally different things. The “fruit” speaks of our character and nature development and the “gifts” speak of special endowments for service that the Holy Spirit gives during times of need in people’s lives.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 describes the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We will not go into them today, but verse 11 tells us how they are distributed.
1 Corinthians 12:11 AMP All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.
The gifts of the Spirit are given to a person as He chooses, not as we choose. They are His special endowments and He knows who needs to manifest that particular gift at that particular time. He gives them as He sees the need. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is resident within the believer and is developed through time and experiences. We are molded into the character and nature of Jesus as we live day by day under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our character and nature is changed as we yield to the work that He does within us. The gifts that He gives for service are given at special times when needed to manifest His power to supernaturally change a person according to their need at that moment.
The “fruit” and the “gifts” are often viewed as one in the same, but they are different. Growth is a process and God’s Spirit works in each one of us to develop and change us into the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. We are changed over a period of time. The gifts of His Spirit come upon a person for supernatural use. One, then we see as happening over a period of time and one instantaneously through the manifestation of His Spirit. It is important that we know the difference because we sometimes become disappointed that people who accept Jesus into their hearts do not immediately exhibit the change that has taken place in their spirits. We expect them to immediately be totally different. They are changed spiritually immediately but the manifestation of that regeneration within them takes time as the Holy Spirit develops His character and nature within them.
Philippians 1:6 AMP And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.
The Holy Spirit is always at work in each one of us working to develop us into the image of Jesus. Don’t become disappointed when you do not see a complete change immediately as it is a work in progress. He’s still working on you and me!
Father, I thank You for the process of change that You work in each one of us as we yield to Your Spirit within us. I pray that we each will cooperate with His power to change us into the image of Jesus. Father, I pray, also, that we will yield to Your Spirit as He desires to endow us with His gifts for the work of ministry. I pray that we will be ready to receive that gift when He sees the need for its use. Only You, Lord, know what needs to be given for the needs of the people around us. Father, I thank You that You are ever changing us and working through the situations around us to perfect Your work in each one of us, to Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.