What do you mean... "Be BORN AGAIN"? Radio Church of God
Millions have been deceived into accepting a false "born again" experience. The startling TRUTH is here made PLAIN! It may surprise you!
ON BUSY street corners and especially in evangelistic campaigns, you hear ministers ask, "Brother, have you been 'born again'? Just believe, and give the preacher your hand and the Lord your heart, and you'll be a 'born again' child of God." Is this the manner in which Jesus preached the gospel?
Not What Jesus Taught
Because Jesus made the new birth one of the essentials to entering the kingdom of God, Satan has his ministers preaching counterfeit "new births" to deceive the people, and to make the true way appear false (II Cor. 11:14, 15). Masquerading as ministers of righteousness, the Devil's preachers have deluded millions — not the few, but the millions — into accepting and appropriating Jesus Christ, shedding a few tears and by a superstitious hokus pokus they are pronounced "born again." Some make it a little more involved. More time and "grace" are needed to work up an emotional ecstasy which is interpreted to mean "regeneration" and a "new birth"! Whatever the slight doctrinal differences, the Devil has the churches universally deceived into believing that Christians are already "born again," that everything is all set. There are "no works," as the saying goes. No need to obey God! There is no need, preach the false ministers, to obey the commandments because you are already regenerated. This is Satan's clever method of beguiling the churches into forgetting the REAL PURPOSE of the Christian life and rejecting the only way to be born again. Do you now why you need to be born again? What is the purpose of a new birth?
WHY Be Born Again?
Thousands of sermons have been preached on being born from above, but almost none on WHY THE NEED for such an event. You were born a mortal human being. Your time is fast running out, second by second. There is no eternal life in you as a result of your first birth. Your parents did not have immortality to give to you. You are exactly like any animal at death (Ecc. 3:19). What you need is to be born again, this time with eternal life in you, so you can't die. But you also need a different nature so you won't continue to live in suffering and misery. The human nature which causes you to sin and bring upon you the death penalty (Romans 6:23) must be replaced by a new and different nature — a nature like God's which cannot sin. God the Father has perfect character, perfect control over Himself. That's what you need, yet you weren't born with such powers. The only way to have them become a part of you is to have them impregnated in you by being born again. The only One who has both eternal life, and perfect character, is God. You need to be born of Him! How?
How Can You Be Born Again?
About two thousand years ago Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, was puzzled by this question. Jesus had told him, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Nicodemus understood the true meaning of the word "born," unlike most preachers today. But he still couldn't understand how it could be possible to be born once again, to have another life. "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?" (verse 4). Nicodemus knew only of a physical birth from physical parents. Therefore Jesus had to explain to him, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is FLESH; and that which is born of the Spirit is SPIRIT." Here are two different kinds of birth, one physical, the other spiritual. When you were born of your fleshly parents you were COMPOSED OF FLESH. Your father and mother passed on to you a fleshly nature at birth. But there is a second birth, not a physical, fleshly one, but a spiritual birth. JUST AS A HUMAN BEING IS FLESH BECAUSE HE WAS BORN OF FLESHLY PARENTS, JESUS DECLARED THAT ANYONE BORN AGAIN OF SPIRIT IS COMPOSED OF SPIRIT — he is spirit, no longer flesh! "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" and NOT flesh. That's the plain teaching of the Bible! The new birth is not an emotional experience but a literal birth. So you would not mistake the true meaning of being born of the Spirit, Jesus explained that "the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is BORN of the Spirit." Notice what the Scripture says. When you are born from above, born of God, you will be invisible like the wind which human eyes can't see. The work of the wind is easily discernible, but the wind itself cannot be seen. If you were already born again, as the common teaching is, you would possess the nature of your Heavenly Father — you would be composed of spirit because God is Spirit (John 4:24). Jesus compared the spiritual birth to the physical one. The latter is a type of the former. Human parents pass on a fleshly nature at birth to their children; so with our Heavenly Parent. God the Father impregnates or begets us with His Spirit at conversion; He imparts to us His spiritual nature which must grow through a lifetime until it finally COMPOSES us when we are born again. We must GROW spiritually just as a foetus must grow physically before it can be born.
Born Again at the Resurrection
Obviously all human beings who claim to be born again are deceived — they are still flesh and blood. The new birth is something yet to occur at the resurrection. Jesus said you must be born again, you must be composed of spirit in order to see or enter the Kingdom of God. In I Corinthians 15:50 the apostle Paul says, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption." Note that Paul preached to the Corinthians the very same doctrine that Jesus at the first spoke to Nicodemus. You never can enter or inherit the Kingdom or Family of God unless you are born of God, composed of Spirit. Paul tells in the next verses WHEN THE NEW BIRTH of Christians will occur. "We shall all be changed" — no longer flesh and blood — "at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED." In verse 44, Paul says, "It is sown a natural body" — your first birth was natural, physical, fleshly, but when you are born again "it is raised a spiritual body." Notice it! Both Jesus and Paul speak of physical and spiritual bodies. Jesus tells WHY you will be composed of spirit — in being born again you have the nature of your parent; like produces like. If you are born of God, your Heavenly Father, you will be SPIRIT — because God is SPIRIT — you will be composed of the same substance of which He is composed. Paul tells WHEN this change takes place from flesh to spirit — at the resurrection, when you will be composed of spirit, PROVIDED THAT YOU HAVE BEEN BEGOTTEN IN THIS LIFE NOW AND PROVIDED YOU HAVE GROWN SUFFICIENTLY IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE TO BE BORN OF GOD. Here is the terrible consequence of believing that people are already "born again" because some preacher says so. Instead of growing as unborn babes need to do in order to come to birth, those who trust in a false new birth believe that there is no need of spiritual growth or obedience to the commandments because they think they are already "saved." When the resurrection comes such people WON'T BE THERE! They have not grown or developed into the stature of Jesus' character by obeying the commandments of God. Do you want to follow the broad way and PERISH, like a miscarriage of a foetus — a child that is conceived, but never born? Or do you believe what Jesus said, that, once "converted," or begotten by the Holy Spirit, that you need to grow by every word of God which cleans you up spiritually just as water cleans you physically (John 3:5; Eph. 5:26), and that you will finally be born of God and inherit the Kingdom?
Christians Are Now BEGOTTEN Sons of God
Many have been confused. They have been falsely taught that they are already born again because the Bible speaks of Christians as already the sons of God. Since Jesus makes the physical birth a type of the spiritual, let's compare the two different births. Physically speaking, you became a child of your parents at the very instant of conception when a new physical life was begun. At that time you were conceived, or begotten, but not yet born. But you were your parents' child just as Jacob and Esau were their parents' children before birth: "For the children being NOT YET BORN..." (Romans 9:11). In the same manner, if you are a real Christian, you are now a BEGOTTEN CHILD or SON of God — not yet born of God — not yet composed of Spirit — not yet immortal. Upon conversion God the Father placed within you His Spirit, the germ, so to speak, of eternal life. He begot you as the germ from a human father impregnates the egg of the mother. You are like the egg. Just as the unborn son or daughter is nourished and protected by its mother for approximately nine months at the end of which period it is born if it has grown properly, so it is the function of the true Church — "the MOTHER of us all" (Gal. 4:26; Rev. 21:2) to feed true Christians with the pure Word of God. Thus you must be nourished as God's son on the words of Scripture — you must grow spiritually (2 Peter 3:18) — until you are mature enough in character to be born of God. Paul told the Romans that Christians are the begotten sons of God, but not yet born of Him. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are (already) the SONS OF GOD. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption (marginal reading — SONSHIP), whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are (already) the children of God: and if children, then heirs; HEIRS of God, and JOINT-HEIRS with Christ" (Rom. 8:14-17). Notice that although we are NOW the sons of God we are still HEIRS. Why? Because we are only BEGOTTEN children. We shall be INHERITORS when BORN of God at the resurrection, when we shall be composed of spirit. John says: "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" (I John 3:2). This is His teaching of the new birth. Notice the points that the apostle brings out: We are already the sons of God. Of course! We are begotten of Him, impregnated by the Holy Spirit from the Father, which is the beginning of eternal life. But we are not yet born of Him, for it has not yet appeared what we shall be like. Note the next point that John mentions. We shall be like Him, composed of spirit — "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" — "WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR" — at the resurrection when Christ returns to raise the dead. Then we shall see Jesus as He really is. Christ told Nicodemus that in order to SEE the Kingdom or Family of God, in which He is, we must be born again. How consistent the teaching of the Bible is! When we are born again, composed of spirit, we shall be able to see spirit. We shall behold Jesus Christ as He actually appears. But the world which is composed of flesh and can't see spirit will only see Christ physically manifested in glorious form at His return.
If You Are Born Again, Can You Sin?
It has been the favorite teaching of some that Christians can't sin anymore in this life because they are "born again." This doctrine originated from misapplying I John 3:9: "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." Here is a plain statement from Scripture. If one is born of God, he CAN'T sin! But the apostle John wrote in I John 1:8 that "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." And Solomon was inspired to write: "There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Ecclesiastes 7:20). By putting all the Bible together, and not taking a verse out of its context to suit ourselves, we see that Christians can commit sin. To say otherwise would prove that the truth wasn't in us, said John. Paul was constantly beset by sins which he had not overcome (Romans 7:14-25). Jesus admonishes us to OVERCOME AND KEEP HIS WORKS TO THE END (Rev. 2:26). Therefore true Christians are not now born of God. They are only begotten by the Holy Spirit. "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (I John 5:18). Notice the difference between the two conditions. The one can't sin because God's seed remaineth in him. He is born of God and has God's nature, not the human nature that once caused him to sin if he didn't have the strength to resist. The other, who is begotten, must KEEP HIMSELF from being spotted — he must continue to resist the deceptions and the pollutions of the world. Such a one can commit sin. He will not willfully — but when caught off guard or in a moment of weakness. Life is to the begotten child still a constant struggle against the wiles of the Devil operating in the world and through his own human nature. Much of the confusion about being born again has resulted from misinterpreting the original Greek. In English we use three distinct words: begettal, conception and birth. But in the Greek which Paul and the apostles used, there is one root word having three meanings. It is therefore very necessary to determine the meaning of Scripture before translating a word either "begotten" or "born." God Is Reproducing After His Kind The Eternal God has created innumerable universes, galaxies and worlds. The full extent of His entire finished creation is completely beyond the grasp of the human mind — completely beyond the telescope, the microscope or the test tube. But wonder of wonders! — He is still creating before us now, His highest and noblest work — that of begetting sons in His own family. You and I have a wonderful opportunity in becoming a son in the Family or Kingdom of God. By a process completely hidden to the world, and revealed only to His own children by the Bible, God is now begetting, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, sons after His KIND after His own character and likeness. The begettal, nourishment and actual birth of sons into the GOD KINGDOM by a resurrection to divine and glorified immortality is the supreme pinnacle of creation! Yet most churches do not realize this wonderful truth. They talk about being born of God, but they don't know what it means! We will not be the adopted sons, but the literal born sons of God. "Spirit of adoption" is not the true meaning; it is "Spirit of SONSHIP." We are going to be like our Heavenly Father. We are going to become persons in the family of God, therefore we will actually be God as much as the Father and the Son are God! See John 10:34-36 and Psalm 82:6. No longer will we be human, because at the new birth we will have a divine Father. Christ is the FIRST BORN of all sons in God's kingdom (Col. 1:18). He is the only one who has been born again! Before His death and resurrection He was spoken of as the "only begotten Son." Now there are many begotten sons. After the resurrection to immortality, Jesus became the first born from the dead. But the time will soon come when He returns that He will be the "firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). Let's rejoice in the hope of being born again, this time without human frailties, to "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away" which Christ will bring with Him at His return. But let us not forget that we are still the begotten sons and have to overcome and endure to the end!