Rebirth in The Bible: What is a Born-Again Christian?
In John 3:3, Jesus declares, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born-again he can not see the kingdom of God”
- What is a ‘born-again’ Christian?
- Why do we have to be born-again?
- How can we be born-again without first dying? If so, when did we die? Gulp.
In this blog post, I’ll try to answer your questions about being born-again.
Adam’s fall – How It Impacted Us
God’s purpose in creating man was for God and man to live in union and enjoy an eternal relationship. God wants His children both to reflect Him and reign with Him.
When Adam sinned, he fell short of God’s glorious plan for him – oneness with God.
Adam was unable to live a holy life as a result of the fall, and his dark sin nature got passed down to his descendants.
Why was Adam unable to be holy? Because the source of all holiness is God. Without God, man can not become holy on his own.
God gave us the law not so that we might gain righteousness by attempting to obey the law, but so that we might recognize our own shortcomings, for “a rotten tree can never produce good fruit.” Even after the fruits have been plucked, the tree continues to produce decaying fruit. To prevent the fruits from forming, the root must be removed. Similarly, just washing our sins with Christ’s blood wouldn’t be enough. God had to remove the root of the sin nature we received from Adam.
Dual Problem, Dual Solution
Watchman Nee’s book ‘The Normal Christian Life’ goes into great detail about our sin problem and God’s solution.
We humans suffer from a dual sin problem:
1) The sins we commit and
2) Our inborn sin nature-the source of all sin.
We sin because we are born with the Adamic sin nature. Sinning comes naturally to us because it is our inborn nature. Just like a dog barks because barking is in its nature. The root of the problem, thus, lies in our heredity, not in our actions. Unless we could change our ancestry, there would be deliverance for us.
What comes in by birth can only go out by death. Death was the only way to put an end to our Adamic sin nature. So, at the Cross, God placed us in Christ, and we died in Him.
Thus, through Christ’s death, God provided a dual remedy for our dual sin problem. All the sins we commit are washed away by Jesus’ blood. And by placing us in Christ at the Cross, the root of our sin nature is destroyed by our death in Him.
In Christ, the sinful self we despise is crucified. He who is dead is free from sin (Romans 6:7). Through our death at the Cross, God has removed the sinful nature that we inherited from Adam. Nothing of our old nature remains. Zippo. Nada.
From Death to Burial
When a person dies, he is buried.
According to Colossians 2:12, We were buried with Him through baptism.
Since we are dead in Christ, the next step after reckoning ourselves dead in Him is to be buried. So when we ask for baptism and step down into the water, we are outwardly declaring that in God’s eyes, we have already died and must be buried.
Burial to Resurrection – The Link Between Christ’s Resurrection And Our Rebirth.
Baptism involves the physical act of us going under water and rising up again. The Apostle Paul explains the symbolism in this way: “When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus” (Rom. 6:4 MSG).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
–1 Peter 1:3 ESV
If Christ died and remained dead, we would also remain dead, with no hope beyond the grave.
But, because of His resurrection, we too rise with him. We are born-again as a new creation. Just as we received the Adamic sin nature when we were born of Adam, we now receive Christ’s righteous nature when we are born of Christ.
“As through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous.”
When we were born of Adam, we received everything that came from Adam; similarly, when we are born of Christ, we receive all that comes from Christ.
Holy Spirit as our Helper
Being born-again as a new creation, we are also given the Holy Spirit as our Helper. Again, receiving the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with our good deeds, but because Christ rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit is given to the believer as proof that Christ is exalted. To correctly understand this, let us go back to and recall how we were forgiven of all our sins. Not by striving to do good works and impress God, but simply by repenting, and accepting Christ as our savior. Similarly, the Holy Spirit comes as our comforter not because of our ‘good works’ but through trusting in what the Lord has already done for us at the Cross.
The days of wrestling to be good by our own efforts are gone, my friend. We now submit and rest in the Lord who works in us and through us to bring forth all things good. This is the good news of Christ.