Sunday, December 13, 2009

So you think you’re “Born Again”

Although the term "born again" has come into popular Christian usage, its Scriptural meaning and significance has been almost totally lost and unnoticed.
The basic issue involved in the new birth is not reformation, nor is it religion; the basic issue is the doctrine of regeneration. This is clear from Christ's words to Nicodemus in John 3:5,6,
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 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."

Notice how careful the Lord is to define the character of the new birth: It is not the reformation of the outward man, nor the education of the natural man, nor the purification of the old man for "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." Rather it is the Spirit of God giving birth to a new life--a divine life and nature. It is partaking of the Divine nature (II Pet. 1:4). Simply put, it is being born of God--"that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Regeneration ( “born of the Spirit”) is a doctrine associated in Scripture with God's dealings both with the nation Israel and the Body of Christ. In fact, the word itself is found only twice in the Bible, once in relation to Israel's program and once in reference to the Body of Christ.
The first occurrence is found in Matthew 19:28, where Christ is speaking to His Apostles:

"And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, IN THE REGENERATION when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Notice carefully the wording here: "In the regeneration WHEN the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory." This is a future regeneration associated with the time when Christ sits on "the throne of His glory." Regeneration, then, for Israel is clearly a part of her kingdom program and hope.

The second occurrence is from the pen of the Apostle Paul:
"But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by THE WASHING OF REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Tit. 3:4,5).
Obviously the doctrine of regeneration is a spiritual truth which plays an integral part in God's purpose for both Israel's future kingdom program and the current administration of grace. Therefore we must be careful to distinguish the dual applications of this doctrine.

Too often the true significance of John 3:7 is overlooked due to a failure to appreciate its usage of the second person pronouns "thee" and "ye." Notice the verse carefully:

"Marvel not that I said unto THEE, YE must be born again."

To the modern reader this may seem unimportant since most of us do not understand the significance of the "thee, thou, ye, you" contrasts in the Bible.
"Thee, thou" and "ye, you" are respectively the singular and plural forms of the second person pronoun. While our modern English uses the pronoun "you" for both singular and plural, the older English was able to distinguish between the singular (thee, thou) and plural (ye, you). The "thee, thou" refers to an individual while "ye, you" refers to a group. This same distinction is made in many modern languages and, more importantly, is used by the Greek language of the New Testament.

If you are to understand how the words are used in old English you will understand that the Lord was in fact saying to Nicodemus,

"Marvel not that I say unto THEE [i.e., Nicodemus], YE [i.e., the nation Israel] must be born again."

The new birth spoken of by the Lord Jesus in John 3 is a reference to the future birth of the nation Israel when she is to be spiritually cleansed and then possess her land forever.

But then what about us the Body of Christ and the believer today? If the new birth refers to the future hope of the nation Israel, do saved individuals today experience a new birth or does God have something else for them? Remember: both Israel and the Body of Christ are regenerated--but into what?

There can be no doubt that today when a person places faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior--when you rely exclusively on what Jesus Christ did for you at Calvary when He died to pay for your sins and was raised as the author of eternal life to those who trust Him; when you trust Christ today, that very moment the Holy Spirit imparts His life to you.
Paul declares:
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins'
"even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace are ye saved)" (Eph 2:1, 5).
We are "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:10). But just what is it God is creating today?

This is the "new creation" which God is forming during the dispensation of grace. God has temporarily set aside the nation Israel and His program for her (Rom. 11:11-15) in order to form another agency (Eph. 2:11-16) through whom He will accomplish a purpose which He planned "before the world began." This other purpose is called "the mystery" because He kept it secret--"hid in God" (Eph. 3:9)--until He revealed it to that other apostle, the Apostle Paul. It is summed up in the words of Eph. 2:7:
"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Today God is creating a new species --"neither Jew nor Gentile." Just as Adam was not born but was rather created, so we go from the old creation into the new creation as we go from Adam into Christ!

What I’m trying to say is, Regeneration is associated with God's program for both Israel and the Body of Christ. Regeneration for a Jew in the kingdom program made him a part of a born again nation. Regeneration for a person in the dispensation of grace makes him a part of the Body of Christ. According to the biblical text ( not your domination bias ) Christians are not born again they are a new creation all together different, they are and will always be the Body of Christ. Not born again saints.

Comments or questions write Shadowhawk at

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