by Bill Nugent
Rick Joyner of Morning Star Ministries has prophesied that in the end times there will be deeper revelatory insight into what it means to be saved.
Polls consistently show that upwards of 40% of the American population consider themselves to be born again Christians. Careful analysis of the polling data conducted by Barna Research and others shows that the behavioral patterns of those who blithely claim to be born again does not differ a great deal from those who make no claim of being born again. The obvious conclusion is that many who claim to be born again are not born again at all.
What then is the new birth? What does Jesus mean when He says“Ye must be born again” (John 3:7)? A proper understanding of this concept will help us more fully understand who we are in Christ and give us a radical sense of security in our relationship with God. A proper understanding of what it means to be born again will also help us spot the fakes and will help us to reach out to the fakes and win them to Christ.
The Bible teaches that the human spirit is regenerated at the new birth. Your body was not born again at the new birth. Nicodemus proved that! Your soul was not regenerated at the new birth. The soul of a human being is different from the spirit of a human being. Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the “dividing asunder of soul and spirit.” A human being is composed of spirit, soul and body. This is shown in the Bible in I Thessalonians 5:23 “may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NASB).
Two of the major components of a human being, namely the spirit and the soul, are invisible. The Bible in both the Old and New Testaments makes many references to the human spirit and the human soul. Some people use the words spirit and soul interchangeably but the Bible makes a clear distinction between the two.
The Bible describes what happens to the spirit of an unbeliever when the unbeliever moves from being an unbeliever to being a believer in Christ. When the unbeliever receives the revelation that Jesus died for his sins a radical change occurs. The spirit of the unbeliever is touched by the grace of Christ and given saving faith and calls on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins. At this instant, the spirit of the newly minted believer is regenerated and is radically transformed. Regeneration is akin to resurrection. The spirit of the unbeliever is essentially resurrected from the dead and is thus reborn as a believing spirit. Let me quote some Bible verses that touch on this point. “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.” (Titus 3:5.) “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (I Cor. 5:17).
The regenerated human spirit of the believer is a child of God. That’s right, when you were born again you were born into God’s family! You were not adopted, you were born into God’s family! You are a son or daughter of God!
Let me explain the biblical concept of adoption so we don’t confuse it with the new birth. The Bible in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:5 speaks of the adoption of the believer but these verses are not speaking about the new birth of the human spirit. These verses are speaking about our placement as mature sons. We are placed as mature sons after we have been processed by trials and tribulations and having grown in character to full maturity. Romans 8:19 speaks of the manifestation of the sons of God. This event is still future and has to do with mature sons of God being released into extraordinarily great power in the end times.
Knowing that our human spirits are reborn and are fully redeemed and fully righteous and are presently children of God gives us great joy and full assurance and security in our walk with God. The Holy Spirit dwells with our reborn human spirit. Romans 8:16 says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (NASB).The Bible also teaches that our reborn human spirit is fully righteous and cannot sin. First John 3:9 says “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” A person who is genuinely born again cannot lose his salvation. He can’t become “unborn again” because his human spirit was reborn into a sinless state. The believer’s spirit is sinless and cannot commit any sin, hence cannot reject God and fall away.
The believer can still commit sin in his soul and body. The fact that our souls and bodies can still sin means that we must repent from sin every day. The believer in Christ must “take up his cross daily” (Luke 9:23) and follow Christ. Anyone who is truly born again must live a life of repentance! The soul of the believer is being processed by trials and tribulations and is “being saved” (I Cor. 1:18). The soul is “being renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16.) The body of the believer will be transformed at the resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:52).
People who are not born again but merely claim to be born again, generally live sinful lives that mirror the standards of the surrounding corrupt culture. We must explain to them what it means to be truly born again. We must exhort them to repent and to call on the name of the Lord Jesus and ask for forgiveness of sins.
At the new birth the righteousness of Christ is not only imputed to us but is imparted to us in our spirits. Romans 6:11 tells us toconsider ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness. The word in Romans 6:11 translated “consider” is the Greek word“logizomai” and it is essentially an accounting term and means that we must count ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to righteousness. It refers to a past event, namely the new birth, that caused our spirits to be born again into a state of experiential righteousness. Our reborn human spirits are presently dead to sin and fully alive to righteousness. The next chapter, Romans seven, speaks of the processing of the believer’s soul and how the soul is still a slave to sin. Romans seven explains that the “the law of sin” (the sin nature) dwells in the believer’s flesh. Romans eight speaks of the future resurrection of the physical bodies of believers in Christ.
Since our humans spirits are redeemed and fully righteous, we therefore must walk by the reborn human spirit under the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit so as not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).
Always comfort yourselves with these words: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God . . . Beloved, now we are the sons of God” (I John 3:1-2). With full confidence in the atoning work of Jesus Christ we can make the following affirmations: My human spirit was fully redeemed! I was born into God’s family! I am a child of God! In my spirit I presently have total victory over sin! I am an overcomer! My soul is being transformed and renewed day by day! My body will be transformed into a glorified state at the resurrection of the dead!