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Born Again – Letting the Scripture Speak

BibleI’ve started a new series on what being Born Again means according to the Scripture. I want to show that how the Bible describes it is very different from our current vocabulary.

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.
John 1:10-11

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.
John 1:11

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…
John 1:12

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

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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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What does it Mean to be Born Again?

ButterflyWe’ve been told throughout the New Testament that we must clothe ourselves with Christ. Anything less is a refusal of the blessings that have been obtained for us. To ignore this call is a willful decision to live outside the kingdom blessings that are only available in Christ.

But the real question is; how do we clothe ourselves with Christ? I believe this is something that the church has lost sight of over the past 2000 years. We need to get back to the basics of Christianity. We need to relearn things that were a way of life to the early church.

I need to warn you. What follows is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to teach. In many ways it goes against 100 years of church teaching. But as I study the Word of God, I’m convinced that it’s the only way to experience the abundant life that Jesus spoke about to His disciples.

We need to put on Christ – the new man. If we’ll do this, then we’ll walk and minister as Christ did. We’ll see an increase in the miraculous. We’ll also see a great harvest of souls as the world sees the church walking in the glory of God. In order for this to happen, it will require a change in our mindsets.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
Titus 3:3

This verse is talking about what should be our past lifestyle. It also reveals a sad truth. Read it carefully – slowly. Do we know any Christians that are still living like some of the descriptions given? This actually describes a large segment of the church today.

This is the old man. It needs to be released and we need to take on the life of Christ. Where does this change come from?

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…
Titus 3:4-5

We are saved by the kindness and love of God, manifested in Christ. This is the on-going work of the Lord in us. But do we really hear what’s said in this passage? Paul explains that the change in our lifestyle is accomplished by the washing of rebirth. This is a foundational principle.

Washing is a choice, but so is the rebirth. Somewhere along the line we’ve missed this basic truth. Washing and renewal is the putting on of the new man. This is a very tough revelation for us to grasp. It was for me.

Let me state it as plainly as I can. The laying down of our sin, renewing our mind, and the subsequent putting on of the new man is the essence of being born again. This term, born again, has become so watered down that it’s barely recognizable in our generation. The fact is, putting on the new man is being born again.

Let that sink in for a while. We’ve been taught that the initial act of receiving Christ – praying the sinner’s prayer – is being born again. As I’ve studied Scripture, the Holy Spirit has impressed me that this is not the case. Being born again is something that we must attain to.

Please understand what I’m saying. You can be saved and on your way to heaven and yet not be born again in the Biblical sense. I believe that our modern terminology is at odds with what Scripture teaches.

I’m not going to try to change hundreds of years of Christian vocabulary; but when we read the Scripture, we need to understand what it’s saying. I pray that you won’t shut me off at this point, but read this series with an open heart. In my next post, I’ll bring you through the Scriptures that show this to be true.

Question: How do you define the phrase Born Again?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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