If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
1 John 2:29
The phrase does what is right is literally does righteousness in the Greek. John is not talking about doing good things. It’s more than that. He’s referring to living the life of righteousness as Jesus did.
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
1 John 3:9
I’ve heard self-righteous people use this verse to prove that others in the body of Christ are not even saved. Usually they only apply it to the externally evident sins that others commit, and not the internal ones that they enjoy.
The original language of this verse says that those who have been born of God do not have the power to go on sinning. This is because God’s seed remains in him. That’s the important point – God’s seed. What many like to do, is to go in and out of God’s presence. We don’t let the seed remain in us for very long before we go off on our own.
This verse is easier to understand if we realize that being born of God is the act of putting on the new man – created to be like God. We must come to the understanding that you can be saved and on your way to Heaven, yet not be born again. The term born again means that your life has been changed.
…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4
Are there believers who don’t overcome that are going to Heaven? Of course. The Bible clearly talks about people who are going to make it into Heaven by the skin of their teeth. (I Corinthians 3:14-15)
The problem of believers who don’t overcome the world is not that they aren’t saved. It’s that they have yet to put on the new man. We’ve missed this teaching in the modern church. As a result, we’re suffering from an epidemic of unproductive and defeated Christians.
The Apostle John understood this concept. He wrote about it in his Gospel.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
He came to the world that He made. Yet most of the world did not even recognize Him. The coming of Christ went largely unnoticed by the ancient people.
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Of course there were those – a small group – who did recognize who He was. But even among them, there wasn’t total acceptance. Only a small percentage of them received Christ.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…
Now we get to the even smaller group of those who received Christ. Those who received Christ are described as those who believed in His name. That means that they were saved – they are now a part of the kingdom of God and on their way to Heaven.
This group of believers has been given something unique. Notice that they’re not automatically born again. On the contrary, they are merely given the right to become sons of God.
In my next post we’ll continue looking at this truth in more detail. Please hear my heart. I want to see the church of our generation arise to its potential in Christ Jesus.
Question: How do these verses differ from our current definition of being Born Again?
© Nick Zaccardi 2016