Chinese Translations: GB Big5

 Born Again

"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

A New Nature

"if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

Born in Humility

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." (Php 2:5-7)

Those born of God take on an attitude of humility. In fact the process of being born of God often involves humiliation as one is convicted of sin. One's pride and self-importance is torn away as one becomes as a child. (And I'm speaking of becoming humble as opposed to becoming immature). In such a state, one becomes teachable and submissive to the will of the Father.

The Effect of the New Nature on One's Attitude and Behavior

When one is born of God there is an actual change of one's nature that affects one's behavior. Such a person, may sin from time to time, but has lost the ability to live a lifestyle of sin. (1John 3:9) And this, along with the natural love for other children of God, is an identifying mark of one born of God (1John 3:10). Those born of God also find it not particularly burdensome to obey God's commands. (1John 5:3,4). This is in accordance with the New Covenant promise "I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." (Heb 10:16), which is also symbolized in the circumcision in which Jews, including Jesus, are circumcised on the 8th day after one's birth. "The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live." (De 30:6)

The Retention of the Sinful Nature

However, even though one is justified and thus forgiven of sin, one continues to retain the sinful nature. Thus the new nature is really a dual nature - one of the spirit and one of the flesh. Though the new spiritual man is not subject to condemnation, the flesh is still subject to death. (Romans 7:14-25)

Jesus also had a physical body, and though sinless, was subject to death on our behalf. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2Co 5:21) He was born under the law. (Gal 4:4) And thus when we are born-again, our flesh is still under the law and thus also subject to death.

The Indwelling Presence of God

Jesus was God taking the form of man. He limited himself to an earthen vessel. The Christian is also a vessel. He is a vessel which contains God. Unlike Jesus, the Christian is not nor will ever be God. But rather he is like a bottle filled with water. The bottle is the Christian and the water is God in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Christian is a creature, a created thing, but the Holy Spirit is eternal, being in essence and nature God. Nonetheless, the life which the Christian lives is derived from Christ who lives in us. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Gal 2:20)

The gift of the Holy Spirit is part of the New Covenant promise (Acts 2:38,39) and "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." (Rom 8:9) This is automatically received upon belief in Christ. "You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" (Eph 1:13,14) He enhances one's relationship with God and empowers one for ministry.

New Relationships

The New Relationship with God

Intimacy

Though formerly God was distant and not easily accessible, having been born of God, one has free access to his presence. "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith." (Heb 10:19-22) And not only so, but children of God are born of a Spirit which gives them the desire for God's presence. "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, <"Abba>, Father." (Ga 4:6)

Justification

This intimacy with God was formerly not available, as sin had created a barrier between man and God. But having put our faith in the atoning work of Christ, we are now justfied, our sins having been forgiven. And thus this barrier has been taken out of the way. Under the New Covenant, sins are literally forgotten (Heb 10:17) and thus justification is secure, there being no basis for condemnation.

Sanctification

But then why would one seek for holiness? Those born of God do not seek holiness out of the same motivation as those living under the law. It is not so much out of a sense of obligation nor fear of condemnation, but more out of a sense of identification. For children identify with the fathers they have learned to respect and appreciate, and for this reason emulate them. We do because we are, rather than we are because we do. But God, who lives in us, also produces works though us as we cooperate with him. "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (Php 2:12,13) Thus we work out applications of our salvation rather than working for our salvation.

New Relationship with Other Christians

Siblings

Having been born of God, other Christians are view as siblings. Even Christ himself is view as a brother. "Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers." (Heb 2:11) And though there may be a degree of sibling rivalry, there is a natural love for other Christians. And this is in fact mark of the redeemed. "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death." (1John 3:14)

Dependency

Early on, even Christ was dependent upon others in God's family to a degree. He had his parents who took care of him. And often throughout the ages of institutional Christianity, the value of the individual is neglected and care being given only more broadly rather than on the level of the individual. The design of the family itself contradicts the general institutional philosophy which devalues the individual. Even the apostles at times saw themselves as parents. "To Timothy my true son in the faith." (1Tim 1:2) "The elder, To the chosen lady and her children" (2John 1:1) "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3John 1:4) Christ also benefited from the gifts of others early on like those of the wise men, just as Christians find benefit from the spiritual gifts of their brethren.

New Relationship with the World

Recognition

Those born of God recognize one another, but the world does not. "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." (John 1:10) "The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." (1John 3:1) The wise men recognized Jesus. The prophet Simeon and prophetess Anna recognized Jesus. But Herod did not.

Persecution

The world is naturally hostile to those born of God. Herod tried to kill Jesus. It is inevitable that those born of God will suffer persecution. "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:18-20) And this last phrase also speaks of how those born of God treat the apostle's teachings. "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." (1John 4:6)

A New Mission

Jesus' birth had a place in God's overall plan. Believers are not simply justified. We are not born of God and given the Holy Spirit simply for our personal edification. We were born-again for a purpose - to further the kingdom of God. At his circumcision, Simeon prophecied that Jesus would be "a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel" (Luke 2:32) It was also prophcied of the apostle Paul, soon after he was born-again, that he too would be a light to the Gentiles. And in his mission he applied prophecies concerning the Messiah to his own ministry. "For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" (Acts 13:47) So too for those born of God, each one should view themselves as ambassadors of Christ, fulfilling his ministry to bring the revelation of the truth of the gospel to the world. Everyone is important.


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Edition: Jul 29,2015