What Does It Mean To Be Born - Again?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BORN-AGAIN?
By Rodney W. Francis.
The message of Jesus Christ that we have to be born-again to see and enter the Kingdom of God is vital if we are ever to understand the truth of the Gospel. Christianity begins inside of us from the moment of our being born-again by the Holy Spirit. It is interesting that Jesus spoke these words in John Chapter Three to a very learned ruler of the Jews by the name of Nicodemus. Nicodemus had been trained in the religion of his day and was released to teach others the way of God. But, in reality, he did not know or understand the way of God that Jesus came to reveal to us. He only had man’s perception of it. Jesus came to bring in a New Covenant that meant new beginnings, new revelation, new life, new everything. Most of us are nowhere as learned as Nicodemus was, so we need to know that religious theological training is not a guarantee that we are right with God or that we are following in His New Covenant revelation.
Do we understand what it means to be born-again by the Holy Spirit? Firstly, the fact we need to be born-again tells us that our lives, prior to this experience, are not acceptable to God. Our “old self” cannot receive the things that are freely given to us of God – it is blind to the true realities of God’s Kingdom. Jesus said, “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Again in verse 5 Jesus says: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” There is no other way into the Kingdom of God. Have you been born-again? It is vital that you are!
When we are born-again things begin to drastically change in our life. All the old things should be discarded and drop-off in favour of the new revelation of who we now are in Christ Jesus. We become new creations: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). When we are born-again by the Holy Spirit and have been born into God’s Kingdom through believing on Jesus Christ, God no longer sees us as the old person we were. We are totally new! God does not even see us as natural New Zealanders, Africans, Israelites or Asians, etc.: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29). It’s time we believed the Scriptures! Being born-again is a total new beginning where the old passes away and all things have become new!
The Apostle Paul shares this truth very well: “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:3-11). We need to seriously consider what Paul is saying. He laid down everything of his old life in order to win Christ.
All these verses of Scripture reveal to us a whole new beginning when we are born-again in Jesus Christ. He came to make us new ~ not to patch-up the old! Our experience with Jesus Christ should make us want to get rid of everything out of our lives that displease Him! Sadly, today we see more and more of the world’s way creeping into the church because of this lack of a total commitment to Jesus. Then we wonder why the power of God is missing. God does not trust His power to those who are not fully committed to Him and His cause. Since I have been in itinerating ministry I have been privileged to speak in many different churches around the world. I do not know “who is who” in a church meeting ~ whether a person has been born-again or not ~ but on numbers of occasions I have had a word of knowledge for people to do with something about their life; the result is that by the end of the meeting they have come to me to ask to be born-again! Some of those people have been attending evangelical or Pentecostal churches for several years, but have never been born-again by the Holy Spirit. Every Christian Leader should be making sure the people God has entrusted to him/her are born-again by the Holy Spirit. Christianity will never be understood in a person’s life until they are born-again. “The natural mind cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (see 1 Corinthians 2).
ARE YOU A STRUGGLING CHRISTIAN?
If you are a Christian and are struggling in your walk with Jesus, look to see if there is something from your old life that you are still hanging on to? Give it all to JESUS! Make sure that you are born-again by the Holy Spirit. Demonstrate to Him your love for Him by giving Him your all ~ do not hold anything back. Jesus did not come to take sides ~ He came to take over! He wants all of us; not just what we think are the bad things. King Saul lost his anointing because “he spared the good things” when God told him to “utterly destroy all” (see 1 Samuel 15:1-11). None of us can afford to be “a half-hearted Christian” or to be “playing church” ~ let each of us demonstrate to God that He does come first in our life and that we desire His very best for us. We can trust Him with our all! Then we will know the power of the born-again in Christ Jesus life-style and see God using us in ways that will even amaze us. God bless you!