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On Being Born Again

 

John 3:3

"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."

Awhile ago a gentleman wrote and suggested that I needed to include an article so that there was understanding about exactly what being born again entails. While many take the first step of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord, of which we rejoice, many do not realize what it really means to be 'born again" and living for our Lord Jesus Christ, which is a life changing event. As presented in the tract, Gods Simple Plan of Salvation, all must agree with God that one is a sinner, and also agree with what Jesus did for us on the Cross, and repent and accept Him as Savior. But, what then? Christ must become Lord of our life. 

Jesus said in Luke 14:27-30, "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish."

What constitutes really being born again and living for Him? Many simply think they can stroll through life, being good, going to church, having taken that initial step. However, God wants more from us and in fact, our obedience to His Words determines whether we have honestly accepted Christ and believed on Him. 

Before even embarking on our walk with Jesus Christ, Jesus said we are to have counted the cost, and not turn back. 

Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

There are conditions to living for Christ that many ignore. As discussed in our article "Carrying My Cross", if we don't choose to walk with Christ daily, He states we are not worthy of Him.

Luke 9:23 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

Matthew 10:38 "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."

What are the Biblical conditions that are required in order to live for Him as a 'born again' believer?  The very essence of accepting Christ starts with repenting and being converted. 

Matthew 18:3 "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall NOT ENTER into the kingdom of heaven." 

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."

Converted means "change from unbelief to faith"; "turn the other way around." In other words we do an about face from what was our lives of worldliness and ungodliness, to one of faith and holiness, rejecting the things of the world and sin. We become new creatures in Christ. That means there will be a definite change in what we do and what we think about. 

Next, we start by embracing and believing ALL His Words as true. We are to hold the Bible in esteem. God's Word is Pure. Many Christians today have never read the Bible through from cover to cover, but rather go by what they are told about what it contains or what it means. That is not for a true believer. 

John 14:23-24 " Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep [ALL] my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."

Luke 9:26  "For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

In Proverbs 4:20-23 and considering not only the Proverbs but the Word of God,  "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." 

There is no half way measure for accepting Christ and keeping ALL His Words. We cannot simply choose certain words from the Bible because they are 'nice,' or comforting and reject other words of Jesus and the apostles because they, rebuke, correct or  are 'hard,' such as was reflected by the disciples attitude in,

John 6:60-61,63-64a "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?  When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? ...It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not...."

Those who wish to pick and choose and deal only with those things that give them the warm fuzzies are in reality lukewarm in their faith. That attitude fulfils the prophecy regarding the Laodicean Church - that of being "lukewarm" towards Jesus as warned in: 

Revelation 3:16: "So then because thou art LUKEWARM, and neither COLD nor HOT, I will spue thee out of my mouth." 

Our walk with Christ begins with understanding the type of obedience God wants from us. Christ is the example in Hebrew 5:7-9 "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

Besides the example of obeying God in going to the cross, despite the agony He was to bear, Jesus said in Luke 22:42 "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

As we grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and our faith and desire to please Him increases, it becomes a way of life to say, despite the trial or adversity we might face, "Not my will, but thine."

Most understand and accept the concepts and promises such as:

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast." 

Sadly, many ignore the related verses to these promises, which in essence, bring about a resulting action because of the precious promises and assurances we have from God Himself.  True faith results in growth and action that reflects Christ. True faith in Christ will result in actions that prove that you have faith in Christ. 

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Titus 2:7 In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Biblical assurances are intended for those who are walking in obedience to Him.  

For example in Hebrews 11:6, Paul wrote, " But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
 
There should be a thirst for Truth and a Love of Truth. Many today do not show that characteristic. 2 Thessalonians 2:10  "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

Peter wrote that we're to rejoice in the trials that come our way, which are a part of living for Christ. There are no trials that we encounter that are not part of others lives. 

Peter 4:12-13  "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

1 Peter 5:8-9  "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."

 
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Many are not prepared for the eventual resentment, hostility and at times open hatred that accompanies someone who is living for the Lord Jesus and sharing that joy. 

Matthew 10:22 "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." 

To endure means having the power--which comes from abiding in Christ--to complete the task. If we resent or walk away from our trials and problems, we dishonor our calling and reflect the truths in the parable of the sower, that we did not really belong to Him. 

Matthew 13:19-22 "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."

Jesus said there were consequences to not abiding in Him and bearing fruit because of that obedience to Him. John 15:1-6  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

We are to abhor evil, that is, hate sin. While we will always wrestle with our flesh, we are called to live Holy lives. Paul wrote of the struggle and conflict that takes place when our desire is to live in the Spirit so that the flesh and sin will not have it's way in our lives. Some struggle with understanding exactly what Paul is saying.  

Romans 7:15 "For that which I do [sin] I allow not [rejects disobedience to God & sin]: for what I would [desire to be obedient & sin not], that do I not [obedience to God]; but what I hate [sin], that do I. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it [in Christ he rejects sin], but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me [that is, in my flesh,]  dwelleth no good thing: for to will [desire to obey Christ] is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would [do] I do not: but the evil which I would not [do], that I do.
20 Now if I do that [sin that he doesn't want to do ]I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [meaning if our desire is to serve Christ, we are not condemned]
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Paul goes on and explains that to live to the desires of the flesh, that is, deliberately entering into the sin that we should reject in obedience to Christ, is to be an enemy of God. 

Romans 8: 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [mind] the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

That means we must learn what is acceptable and what is an affront to God. Holiness is the exact opposite of worldliness. Love of the things of the world is enmity with God.

Hebrews 12:14-15  "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;" 

Romans 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

 
Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

As we grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord, and we see ourselves as He sees us, we will become transformed, and will indeed be viewed as different. 

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of
darkness into his marvellous light:" (1 Peter 2:9)

As we grow we will also, through reading His Word, recognize what is of Him and what is false teaching and who are false teachers. We will follow Christ, and learn to recognize and avoid those that are not of Him.

 John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep [born-again Christians] hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he [the Good Shepherd] putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

When we become a "new creature" in Christ, there are distinctive attributes that come from living after the things of the Spirit. The works of the flesh [Galatians 5:19-21] are to be rejected and replaced with these characteristics. The very first one begins with a love of the Truth, regardless of what it is and how it affects us. There will be evidence of the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-24: 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Someone who loves Jesus Christ will also have a God-given love and passion for the lost, and for brothers and sisters in Christ. The character of each is to become a true servant to the Lord resulting in care for others. There are warnings and necessary spiritual growth which is shown in 2 Timothy 2:22-26. 

"22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."

1 Thessalonians 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."

Some choose to forget that we are called to a life of separation from ungodliness, to a life of fellowship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Being in the world and not of it requires a commitment to Biblical obedience in viewing the things of this world, both thoughts and activities, in the way God views them. 

2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

At the risk of being repetitive, these verses represent the essence of being born again and what 
becoming a NEW CREATURE in Christ means. It's about an evident heart, mind and Spirit change, resulting in a change in purpose and is not just a believing person who has adopted a religious viewpoint. 

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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Now is the time to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. "Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation."  2Corinthians 6:2

If you read only one article on this website,
please let it be:

God's Simple Plan of Salvation.
It concerns the most important decision
you will ever make in your life!
Don't let this opportunity to be saved pass you by.

If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and would like some help understanding His gift of eternal salvation, please contact us. Saying a prayer won't save you. Prayer is merely expressing to God how you feel. Believing and repenting are just the beginning of walking with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

 


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