Are you really born again?
- I hope everyone had a good Christmas and I hope you have a happy 2008!
Polls consistently show that upwards of 40% of the American population
consider themselves to be born again Christians. Careful analysis of the polling
data conducted by Barna Research and others shows that the behavioral patterns
of those who blithely claim to be born again does not differ a great deal
from those who make no claim of being born again. The obvious conclusion is
that many who claim to be born again are not born again at all.
What then is the new birth? What does Jesus mean when He says "Ye must be
born again" (John 3:7)? A proper understanding of this concept will help us
more fully understand who we are in Christ and give us a radical sense of
security in our relationship with God. A proper understanding of what it means to
be born again will also help us spot the fakes and will help us to reach out
to the fakes and win them to Christ.
The Bible teaches that the human spirit is regenerated at the new birth.
Your body was not born again at the new birth. Nicodemus proved that! Your soul
was not regenerated at the new birth. The soul of a human being is different
from the spirit of a human being. Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the "dividing
asunder of soul and spirit." A human being is composed of spirit, soul and body.
This is shown in the Bible in I Thessalonians 5:23 "may your spirit and soul
and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus
Two of the major components of a human being, namely the spirit and the
soul, are invisible. The Bible in both the Old and New Testaments makes many
references to the human spirit and the human soul. Some people use the words
spirit and soul interchangeably but the Bible makes a clear distinction between
The Bible describes what happens to the spirit of an unbeliever when the
unbeliever moves from being an unbeliever to being a believer in Christ. When
the unbeliever receives the revelation that Jesus died for his sins a radical
change occurs. The spirit of the unbeliever is touched by the grace of Christ
and given saving faith and calls on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness
of sins. At this instant, the spirit of the newly minted believer is
regenerated and is radically transformed. Regeneration is akin to resurrection. The
spirit of the unbeliever is essentially resurrected from the dead and is thus
reborn as a believing spirit. Let me quote some Bible verses that touch on
this point. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to
his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the
Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5.) "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (I Cor.
The regenerated human spirit of the believer is a child of God. That's
right, when you were born again you were born into God's family! You were not
adopted, you were born into God's family! You are a son or daughter of God!
Let me explain the biblical concept of adoption so we don't confuse it with
the new birth. The Bible in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:5 speaks of the
adoption of the believer but these verses are not speaking about the new birth of
the human spirit. These verses are speaking about our placement as mature
sons. We are placed as mature sons after we have been processed by trials and
tribulations and having grown in character to full maturity. Romans 8:19 speaks
of the manifestation of the sons of God. This event is still future and has
to do with mature sons of God being released into extraordinarily great
power in the end times.
Knowing that our human spirits are reborn and are fully redeemed and fully
righteous and are presently children of God gives us great joy and full
assurance and security in our walk with God. The Holy Spirit dwells with our reborn
human spirit. Romans 8:16 says "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our
spirit that we are children of God" (NASB).The Bible also teaches that our
reborn human spirit is fully righteous and cannot sin. First John 3:9 says
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and
he cannot sin, because he is born of God." A person who is genuinely born
again cannot lose his salvation. He can't become "unborn again" because his human
spirit was reborn into a sinless state. The believer's spirit is sinless and
cannot commit any sin, hence cannot reject God and fall away.
The believer can still commit sin in his soul and body. The fact that our
souls and bodies can still sin means that we must repent from sin every day.
The believer in Christ must "take up his cross daily" (Luke 9:23) and follow
Christ. Anyone who is truly born again must live a life of repentance! The soul
of the believer is being processed by trials and tribulations and is "being
saved" (I Cor. 1:18). The soul is "being renewed day by day" (II Cor. 4:16.)
The body of the believer will be transformed at the resurrection of the dead
(I Cor. 15:52).
People who are not born again but merely claim to be born again, generally
live sinful lives that mirror the standards of the surrounding corrupt
culture. We must explain to them what it means to be truly born again. We must
exhort them to repent and to call on the name of the Lord Jesus and ask for
forgiveness of sins.
At the new birth the righteousness of Christ is not only imputed to us but
is imparted to us in our spirits. Romans 6:11 tells us to consider ourselves
dead to sin and alive to righteousness. The word in Romans 6:11 translated
"consider" is the Greek word "logizomai" and it is essentially an accounting
term and means that we must count ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to
righteousness. It refers to a past event, namely the new birth, that caused our
spirits to be born again into a state of experiential righteousness. Our reborn
human spirits are presently dead to sin and fully alive to righteousness.
The next chapter, Romans seven, speaks of the processing of the believer's soul
and how the soul is still a slave to sin. Romans seven explains that the
"the law of sin" (the sin nature) dwells in the believer's flesh. Romans eight
speaks of the future resurrection of the physical bodies of believers in
Since our humans spirits are redeemed and fully righteous, we therefore must
walk by the reborn human spirit under the guidance of the indwelling Holy
Spirit so as not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).
Always comfort yourselves with these words: "Behold, what manner of love the
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God . . .
Beloved, now we are the sons of God" (I John 3:1-2). With full confidence in
the atoning work of Jesus Christ we can make the following affirmations: My
human spirit was fully redeemed! I was born into God's family! I am a child of
God! In my spirit I presently have total victory over sin! I am an
overcomer! My soul is being transformed and renewed day by day! My body will be
transformed into a glorified state at the resurrection of the dead!
Jesus said "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
Steps to salvation:
1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah to redeem
2) Believe that Jesus the Messiah came in fulfillment of prophecy to die for
you to take upon Himself the penalty for your sins. (Isaiah 53:5-6, John
6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18)
3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness.
4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth. (John 1:12, Acts
5) Follow Him as Lord. (John 14:21)
Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Katonah New York,USA
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