Jesus Christ says We must be Born Again

"Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 2 Corinthians 7:1 ... dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

 

I am a retired pastor of the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.

Language Edited by Bruce Newton, Fort Mill, SC.

Jesus Christ says We must be Born Again

Every baby is born with a body and a soul. In the process of growing up, as they attain their youth, they commit sins (Job 20:11, Psalms 25:7, Jeremiah 3:25). While most of them continue in sin, a few will repent and ask God for spiritual help to live a holy life. So, God gives his holy spirit in them, as a part of them and this spirit will quicken (give life to) their soul. This birth of the holy spirit in them, is called 'born again' in general or 'born of the spirit' in particular. So, the holy spirit will make the person, who was spiritually dead, to spiritual life (quicken). In short: A baby born is, 'born of the flesh.' As they grow to be adults, they commit sin and if they ask God for spiritual help not to commit sin, God gives the spirit into their soul. Jesus says John 3:6: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Jesus Christ mentions the physical birth of a person as 'born of the flesh', and the person receiving the holy spirit from God as 'born of the spirit.' The first birth is through the parents and the second birth is through God. In the second birth, the holy spirit is birthed into the person. Jesus Christ says in John 3:3&7: ... "3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 7 I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

1. Are You Born Again?

At present, almost all Christians who attend church consider themselves as born again. When a man tells other Christians that he is born again, most Christians believe the man and accept him as born again. Christians apply no standard or benchmark to verify whether he is or is not born again; they simply take him at his word, and nothing else is expected. We think that a person becomes ‘born again’ when he simply says he is sorry, comes to church, or does/says other such things. Contrary to this popular Christian opinion, the Bible says that these words/acts are not what it means to be born again. John 3 says: 1) "there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:" In Jesus’ day, these Pharisees were equivalent to today’s evangelical Christians. A ruler of the Jews in Bible times is similar to today’s pastor of a big church. 2) "The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." We see here that Nicodemus has accepted Jesus as a Rabbi (i.e., a teacher of the word) sent by God and empowered by God. Nicodemus approaches Jesus in a friendly way using respectful spiritual words. Jesus’ response to these words (verse 3) is not quite so friendly: 3) "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Jesus implies that Nicodemus is not born again. 4) "Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old." Nicodemus’ reply implies that he was not born again, and he does not even understand what it means to be born again. Nicodemus asked Jesus how to be born again. Here, Nicodemus the Pharisee, a spiritual leader of the church and knowledgeable in scripture, approaches Jesus with the right attitude and the right words, only to learn that his role in the church, his ministry, and his outward appearance play no role in his being born again. So, according to what Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, pastors, board members and church leaders may not be born again; their role in the church has nothing to do with being born again. Those who are very zealous in ministry, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as God, Son of God, Messiah, and so on; as great as they are, may not be born again. So, if it is the case, what is really born again?

2. Born Again Is: Of the Spirit, Of Water, And Of God

Jesus Christ says, in John 3:3: "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Clearly, unless a person is not born of the spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God. As explained earlier, a person becomes ‘born again’ by the birth of holy spirit in that person. Though the person may be an adult or an old man, when the holy spirit is first born into him, that man becomes both a child of God and a spiritual infant. This 'born again' has mainly three stages. God wants us to achieve them, one after the other. When Jesus was a man, he was filled with the spirit beyond measure. John 3:34: "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." So, the spirit is given, not only as a (one) person, but also by the measure. Jesus Christ announces in John 7: "37) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" Again, even though Jesus Christ gives the holy spirit to us through the Holy Ghost, we will drink the holy spirit as much as we want, according to our thirst. Some of us will be satisfied as soon as our tongues get wet, but a few others will keep on drinking until their bellies are full and overflowing. Proud people think that they have the spirit to the full, even though they have none. Humble people will be asking more and more of his spirit. So, there are people barely reach New Earth, whereas few others rejoice as New Jerusalem in Sion. So, let us study to find what they are and how to reach all the way up to where the Lord Jesus Christ wish that we will reach. Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3: "12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." While many scripture scholars try to prove that nobody can become perfect, Apostle Paul says that since he had become perfect, he is still pressing forward to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus that is to become the bride, New Jerusalem in Sion. Then, if you have attained perfection (that is, if you have attained to be sons of God), he calls you also to do the same in the next verse. 15) Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: You can press forward, and even become the bride of Christ, New Jerusalem in Sion. So, born again will reach anywhere from New Earth to New Jerusalem.

A. Born of The Spirit:

(1) First, if a man is born of the spirit, he is called the child of God. Jesus Christ says in John 3:6: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Here, Jesus Christ says that a man has two births. The first birth from parents is of the flesh, and the second birth is of God. John 1:13 says: "they were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Since God is Spirit, and he is the Three Souls in One Spirit, and he gives the holy spirit to the man, this 'born again' is also referred as 'born of the spirit'. (Christians typically think that the holy spirit is God. But the holy spirit is not God himself; it is a gift that God gives to man. When the Bible refers to God himself, it refers him as the Holy Ghost, but not as the holy spirit. Details can be studied by clicking these two links: "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit.") Although the second birth happens by God, man is responsible for initiating the process. In John 3:7, Jesus says: "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." Here, Jesus Christ tells the man that he must be born again. So, Jesus gives the man the responsibility for becoming born again. Likewise Jesus Christ says in Luke 11: "9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" So, God instructs us to ask, seek and knock to be born again. If we receive the holy spirit, become born again, and then if we will not do what the spirit says, we will lose the spirit. That is, we will become spiritually dead again. But, if we obey the spirit to follow Jesus, we will grow from being a child to a son. If our life ends before our time, we will go to New Earth, which is the paradise. An example is: Jesus told the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43: "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

(2) Let us look another scripture to see how the holy spirit guides us to become the sons of God. If God has given us the holy Spirit then, Galatians 5 says: "16 Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." Since our flesh and our spirit desire opposite things, God tells us to obey the spirit, so that we will not sin. Romans 8 says: "13 if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." So, if we do the things that the flesh craves, we will die eternally. If we do what the spirit says, that is, if we walk according to the word of God, we will not sin and sinning is mortified. Then, we will inherit New Heaven as sons of God.

(3) The spirit world is as real as the material world. But, it is not produced by our mind. Most Christians think that the spirit world is in the mind realm. But, we cannot create a spirit by mind power. God is the custodian of the spirits and he has to give it to a person, even though we do not see the spirit with physical eyes. Many things that we cannot see, are real. The spirit world is real. Angels, demons, good spirits, and evil spirits are as real as the material world. So also is the holy spirit. He is our spirit body. If we do not have this spirit, after our flesh body returned to dust, our soul will be found naked, and if so we will be thrown in the lake of fire. But, if we have the holy spirit, we will be clothed upon with it, and it is the light. 2 Corinthians 5 says: "1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." If we have the holy spirit, it will be our body, or, our soul will be clothed with the spirit. So, we will be a soul in the spirit body. In the event that Jesus Christ takes us to heaven, our spirit will be glorified according the glory of where we will be in the kingdom. But, those who do not have the holy spirit, will not have clothing and will be naked. Neither nakedness nor filthy dress can stand before God, and they will be thrown in hell and then in the lake of fire.

B. Born of Water:

A 'born of the spirit' person can become 'born of water'. Water is symbolically the word of God, so it is actually, 'born of the word'. In John 3:5 Jesus answered: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." So, In addition to being born of the spirit, a person has to be born of water to enter into the kingdom of God. How is a person born of water? This is symbolic language. So, we have to take the meaning from the word of God, with the guidance of the Spirit.

(1) Ephesians 5:26 says: "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Here, it says that a believer is cleansed and sanctified by washing of water, which is the word of God. So, the purification is done, as the believer obeys the word of God. So, in this context we may say that WATER is the WORD of GOD. So, 'born of water' is 'born of the word of God'. 1 Peter 1:23 says: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God." It says we are to be born again, and this new birth comes by the word of God. Both Ephesians 5:26 and 1 Peter 1:23 explain what Jesus means when he says ‘born of water’; he means ‘born again by the word of God’. So, we must obey the word of God by the guidance of the spirit. This WATER, which is the WORD of GOD, which is his truth, cleans us and makes us pure, and so, with all the symbolic purpose, the word of God is the best fit and born of water is born of the word of God.

(2) Water baptism may be suggested as born of water. But, in water baptism nobody is born by water, but are immersed in the water. However, let us look at a scripture. Romans 6 says: "3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7) For he that is dead is freed from sin." Here, actually baptism is compared to the death of the flesh of the person, but the resurrection of the spirit man is compared to the new birth. However, we may compare the new life, which is the effect of water baptism, as born again. Ezekiel 36 says: "25) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." In verse 25, the water that cleans the filthiness is not water, but it is the statutes as in verse 27, and so, it is the statutes, which is the word of God. So, the spirit and the word are the team that clean a believer to make the person son/daughter of God.

C. Born of God:

Those who are born of water, who are already sons of God, will strive and become as holy as Jesus Christ is holy. They will become the bride of Christ. 1 John 3:2&3 says: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Now, they are as pure as Jesus Christ, so they will look like Jesus Christ as they are glorified. They will be his Bride. God will abide in them. John 14:23 say: "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." The seed of God remains in them, they are born of God, they will not sin and they even cannot commit sin. 1 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." The Bride has become as pure as Jesus Christ is pure, and her righteousness is fine linen, clean and white. Revelation 19:7&8 say: "7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Jesus Christ will take them unto himself to be with him. John 14:3 says: "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." They will be as New Jerusalem on Mount Sion. Revelation 21:2 says: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." Hebrew 12:22&23 say: "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect," They have become the bride of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. They are New Jerusalem in Mount Sion. They will have the same glory as the Lord Jesus Christ and they will be with him throughout eternity.

D. Born Again:

Christians often ask whether or not born again people commit sin. Born again is a process. The process begins as a spiritual baby, that is 'born of the spirit.' As a spiritual baby, the newly born again person learns by drinking milk (i.e., studying the word of God), exercising obedience to God, and beginning to grow in faith. At this infant stage, yes, a newborn believer may commit sin. Still, the goal of this born again person will always be to grow in holiness, but not to settle in a convenient place to enjoy sin and to sneak into heaven. The born again believer will refuse to settle (those who settle here are fakes) for a level of faith that tolerates sin and presumes that admission into heaven is guaranteed. There is no such a status anyway. As newborn believers mature, they grow in faith to become the sons of God or the bride of Christ. Those who have become the sons of God, will not commit sin and those who are the bride of Christ, cannot commit sin. So: if born again people sin, if they are children, but sons of God will not commit sin, and the bride of Christ cannot commit sin. 1 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." If you still commit sins, repent of your sins, accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord, to obey him. He may give you water for your thirst, and this water is the holy spirit. You may drink a sip of water and grab the tip of New Earth, that is Paradise. Or, you may drink the holy spirit until the living water flows out of your belly, and then, you will rejoice being the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem in Sion. John 7:37&38 say "37 Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Do you believe what Jesus Christ says?

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