BORN AGAIN: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?

 

(HWA quotations taken from his born again booklet, are in purple).

 

It is of dire importance for us to know that the doctrines which we believe are true. As we all know, we have been led astray before, and we may have even led ourselves astray.

 

Today I would like to briefly examine what it means to be born again.

 

The scripture says that we are all carnal. Rom 7:14 - For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. The scripture tells us that flesh and blood, (the carnal), cannot inherit the kingdom of God. 1Co 15:50 - Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

 

Furthermore, scripture tells us that no sinner shall inherit the kingdom of God!

1st Cor 6:9 - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.

 

Gal 5:21 - Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Therefore, it is obvious that if we believe the scripture, then some sort of a change is necessary for each and every one of us if we are to inherit the kingdom of God!

 

That change, as commonly referred to by those claiming to be believers, is to be BORN AGAIN.  Indeed, Jesus Christ Himself said that we must truly be BORN AGAIN to see the kingdom of God!  

 

Joh 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

 

So, that question, ‘BORN AGAIN: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?’ does need to be answered.

 

Former church leader in God’s church, Herbert W. Armstrong, (HWA), confused the issue and led many astray by his own imagination; he said that we receive an earnest of the Holy Spirit upon being baptized into the church and receiving the laying on of hands, then later we would finally be born again when God would, at some future age, change us into immortal spirit beings. Here is some of what he wrote in his born again booklet:

 

 

 

{{{ Not of This Age

 

Therefore Jesus did not waste words. He struck straight through to the crux point—the Kingdom of God is not of this world—this time—this age—but of the World Tomorrow—a different and a following age. Not composed of humans, but of immortals—the God family! (page 11)}}}

 

 

 

{{{ The Church Our Mother

When one, after repentance, faith and baptism, receives the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God puts him into—baptizes him into—God’s Church. - The spiritual mother—the Church—is commissioned  to “feed the flock” (page 17)}}}

 

{{{ Just as the human fetus develops and grows physically during the pre-birth gestation period, so we, after begettal by God’s Spirit, develop and grow spiritually in pre-birth state. - The unborn child in his mother’s womb is the child of his father and mother, though not yet born—delivered from the womb. Yet, at this time, we are in the gestation state, not yet that parturition. And only heirs. Not inheritors!.}}}

 

{{{Continue: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be [future—at resurrection] also glorified together”}}}

 

{{{The resurrection—the time when we are changed to be spirit and to inherit the Kingdom will be a time of delivery from the bondage of corruptible flesh and from this world of sin—a real birth!  (Page 19) }}}

 

Notice that HWA says one is NOT born again until one IS an immortal being! But, even he says that spiritual CHANGE must occur BEFORE the immortality occurs! The scripture agrees that the immortality cannot occur until the spiritual change occurs. So, HWA must be wrong about the timing of when one is actually born of the spirit.

 

God’s word instructs us to be wary of what we accept as truth. 

  

Tit 1:14 - Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.  

 

2Ti_4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 

1Jn 4:1 - Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

   

 

Here is what the Glossary, (www.gentileassembly.org),  shows at the related word “Carnal”:

 

Carnal              carnal mind is enemy of GOD. Means, that as a man born out of dust, will never seek GOD or His way. This is why the old covenant had to be no more and a new covenant has to be made AFTER CLEANSING OF THE HEART.

 

 

Would God change any to immortal beings before cleansing the heart? Just the concept that we are clay in the potter’s hand, implies NOT!

 

Isa_64:8  But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

 

Jer_18:6  O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

 

Our Savior’s will is that all would come to the knowledge of the truth so that all might have eternal life. 

 

1Ti 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 

 

Joh 17:1  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

Joh 17:2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

 

Here is what the Glossary shows about being Born Again and the changed New Creature:

 

Born again      we are born again by the truth, which is the words of CHRIST. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit…, Being born again, not of corruptible seed.. but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which  liveth and abideth for ever.”  1 pe 1:22- 23. This is why the Scripture says, we must be sanctified by the TURTH. That happens the second time He comes and gives the knowledge of GOD as the sea and to Gentiles. Isa 11: 9-11. That is why the Gentiles are sanctified to receive the truth from the beginning. 2 The 2: 13. They are to have their eyes opened ( Acts 26: 16-18). See heavenly vision. Until CHRIST came the second time, no one would have the Word of GOD fully. The Holy Spirit is the words of CHRIST Jh 6:63. That is when one receives the Holy Spirit and life. The living words. Acts 7: 38. CHRIST gives the living words, which is Spirit and life. when one is born again only they become LIVING stones, built in with The Chief Corner Stone. 1 Pet 2:4). Christ is a living stone, rejected by men, but elect, and precious to God. V 5… You also…. The Asians to whom this letter is written, in the ‘very last days”, are now called to build a ‘spiritual” house to God, (church is building physical houses)  a Holy priesthood, to offer  ‘spiritual’ sacrifices.” Then only one could become a LIVING stone and be a spiritual temple.

 

New creature   when everyone becomes new in CHRIST . 2 Cor. 5: 17, Gal 6:15. To become new in CHRIST, one must believe He is the One and only True GOD . that knowledge is given only after He comes the second time. Isa 11: 9 – 11 and in Rev 10: 7, Rev 14: 6- 7, to fear The CREATOR , the Everlasting gospel. After the judgments only all things become new. Then the Tree of Life also will be offered. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Col. 3: 10. Only when you are renewed in the knowledge of CHRIST, The CREATOR, you become new. Image of God

 

Conclusion:  Notice this, that we could say all this happens because of God’s love and mercy to enlighten us, and, that being Born Again has everything to do with The Full Knowledge of the Truth about our Great God, Jesus Christ, and has nothing to do with following church rituals as interpreted by men.

 

The following excerpt from ‘The Image of God’ article at the gentileassembly.org website, shows that baptism itself is a physical demonstration of being born by the Words of Jesus Christ:

 

The first fruits also will be born of water the words… and all Israel also will be born of water, fire, Spirit which are the words of JESUS CHRIST…!!! 

 

Jas_1:18  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

 

 

This Scripture and many others prove that CHRIST begat us by HIS OWN WILL,  BY HIS GRACE AND MERCY,  THE VESSELS OF MERCY, EVEN HE HAD PREPARED FROM THE BEGINNING ,WERE MADE TO BE BORN BY THE Word OF GOD, WHICH IS THE TRUTH. THE TRUTH SANCTIFIES US AS JOH 17:17 SAYS.  THE TRUTH WAS GIVEN WHEN HE CAME THE SECOND TIME…  Isa 11: 9 – 11. 

 

Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

 

 

That being in mind, here is another way to look at the ‘born again’ concept.

 

We know that God is a spirit.

Joh_4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

And, we know we are going to be like Him.

1Jn_3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

 

 

This must mean we are going to be spirit (or spirit beings). So, ‘born Again’ must mean we are to be born of the spirit.

 

1Jn_3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

 

God’s word is spirit.

Eph_6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

 

 

This must mean we are to be born of or by God’s word. Jesus Christ said His words are spirit.

Joh 6:63  - It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

 

 

In order to be supported or born by His words, we would have to know His words, or have the full knowledge of His words.

 

 1Ti 2:4 - Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth

2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

 

 

And that is exactly what He said He would come again to give us.

 

Joe 2:28 - And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

 

Isa 11:9 - They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

 

So, why would we need to be immortal to be born again, as HWA has said, just to come to the full knowledge of the truth?  

 

Now notice Hos 6:5 … GOD KILLS also by the words…then when the words or the Spirit is given,  we all can live again. 

Hos 6:5  Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.

 

 

Notice;  we need to be with JESUS CHRIST THE LORD, The Righteous in order to be born again.  We would be born again, when we are born of “JESUS CHRIST THE LORD”, The Righteous !!!!

1Jn 2:29  If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him….

 

everyone that does righteousness is born of Him” ????  How could one do righteousness to be born again ?

 

CHRIST , is The Righteous ( ,  Jer 23: 6,   33: 16,  1 Joh 2:1).

 

1Jn 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

 

Jer 33:16  In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.

 

Jer 23:6  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 

If, CHRIST  Is The Righteousness, then, we must get righteousness from JESUS CHRIST THE LORD, The Righteous.  This is why, His servants are given righteousness directly from Him. ( Isa 54: 17 “This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD.).

 

Here’s how we could get righteousness according to JESUS CHRIST THE LORD, The Righteous, Himself…..;

 

Joh 16:10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father,

 

To be with The Father, is righteousness…!!!

 

JESUS CHRIST THE LORD Is The Righteous. !!

 

We also know, JESUS CHRIST THE LORD Is also THE EVERLASTING FATHER. ( Isa 9:6). 

Then, to be with JESUS CHRIST THE LORD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER,  The Righteous …. is the righteousness. !!!   

 

Then, we would be BORN OF HIM !!! 

Or born again. His words which is His own Spirit, cause us to be born again.  When we are given the Spirit, we will not be flesh any more.  ( JOh 3:6).

 

But, The RIGHTEOUSNESS IS ALSO A FREE GIFT AND IT COMES WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD and with GRACE . ( Rom 5: 17).

 

Rom_5:17  For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) …. The gift of Righteousness comes by JESUS CHRIST THE LORD , when HE POURS OUT HIS GRACE!

Rom_5:18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

 

THEN, AS “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. “… ) THIS Scripture SAYS,  WHEN CHRIST, THE RIGHTEOUS ONE GIVES THE KNOWLEDGE WITH THE FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,  WE ARE BORN OF HIM, by His grace. 

 

We must believe Him… to be born.    

 

1Jn 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

We must believe and love Him…, Then only, we can overcome the world…. And in order to receive all these gifts, we need OUR FAITH also.

 

1Jn 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1Jn 5:5  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

When we BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST THE LORD, we are made righteous, we would be born of Him, then we overcome the world as He overcame.

 

Joh 16:31  Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

Joh 16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

 

If CHRIST overcame the world, those who are to be born of Him, also could overcome the world.

 

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of GOD

 

Therefore, CHRIST Has made it possible for those who BELIEVE in Him, … by THEIR FAITH IN HIM, and with HIS FAITH, Grace , could overcome the world.

 

Once again we come to His Spirit

 

1Jn_3:24  ..And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He gave to us.

If any one is given the Spirit, the words of JESUS CHRIST THE LORD ( Joh 6:63), are born of Him.  Through His words, HE ABIDES IN US.  As you can see,  until CHRIST came and gave the knowledge of GOD , the second time as Isa 11: 9 – 11,   Heb 1: 2 says,  no one could be born again or born of Him.

THEN, AS “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. “…

CHRIST said… ‘abide in My words”…( JOh 15)  and when we abide in His words which is His Spirit, ( JOH 6:63) it will quicken us to be born again.

Dennis Fisher.