14/08/17I committed my life to Christ and was born again into the Kingdom of God, after an evangelist visited our high school and his preaching dismantled every argument I had hitherto held against the existence of God.
Prior to this evangelist’s visit, I sincerely believed in my teenage heart that God didn’t exist due to the hypocrisy and greed I had seen in the leaders of the religion I had belonged to. I had concluded that they were all in it for the money, not because there was a God they represented. But after the evangelist preached and gave such a convincing argument against the theory of evolution as an absurd explanation for the beginning of all that exists, I knew there had to be a God.
For two weeks I contemplated becoming part of the large community of born again students in my school, but I was held back because of the negative consequences I knew I would have deal with if I did. However, I couldn’t shake off the conviction and so finally, one evening, I invited myself to a meeting of born again students and they helped me receive Christ into my life.
It was beautiful. For three days, I slept like a baby. I had such peace like I had never thought existed.
I didn’t understand what happened to and in me
However, for a long time, I never understood what really happened to me the night Jesus came into my life. I sat under teachings that didn’t help me discover much about the experience either. For example, I was taught that on the day I got born again, my name was written in the Lamb’s book of life and I was handed a ‘passport’ to heaven, and that was about it. To be born again was basically to escape hell. Then there was also the teaching that the new birth simply started me on a journey toward heaven, which might end successfully only if I lived holy enough. In other words, I couldn’t even be so sure about making heaven just because I was born again, unless I also developed character!
The New Birth is profitable for life now
Therefore, for so many years I believed (and preached to others) that the new birth was only about going to heaven. It was about the sweet by and by and not so much about life on earth right now.
But then I saw something in 2 Timothy 4:8 that got me thinking: ‘For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come’.
Godliness, which starts with the new birth, is not meant to benefit us only in the life to come but also in the life that now is. The new birth is not only a passport to heaven, but a passport to a victorious life of peace and joy, victory and success, right now!
The New Birth is a must
In John 3:3-7, the Lord Jesus taught that being born again (Greek: born from above) is a pre-requisite to entering into and experiencing the Kingdom of God. No matter how morally good or high in society a person might be, if they don’t get born again, they cannot and will never have a relationship with God now on earth nor spend eternity with God:
‘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. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?. 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. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again’.
There are many people who attend church all their lives and do all kinds of good works, thinking they will qualify to be part of God’s Kingdom because of their goodness. Not so. The Lord told Nicodemus, a well-known religious teacher and a Pharisee (Pharisees were deeply religious and outwardly good people) that he had to be born again as a must, not as a good option among many others.
The new birth is not a must only for the rogues in society. It is a requirement for everyone who wants to experience the Kingdom of God. Before God, we all ‘have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23), and therefore we all need to be forgiven and born from above, before we can be accepted by God.
Now, this means also that once you are born again, you enter into the Kingdom of God. You don’t need to keep praying that God will have mercy on you and admit you into His Kingdom some day in the future. You are already there or else Jesus told a lie! I have dealt with people who had been born again for years and yet were still worried and tormented that they might not make heaven. You don’t make heaven because of your good performance, but because you have believed in and received the Lord Jesus into your life and been born of God (John 1:12-13).
A re-birth of the human spirit
In John 3:6, the Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit’. The new birth is a spiritual re-birth, not a physical one. When we are born again, it is our spirit that undergoes a complete change, not our physical, mental or emotional parts.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23, man is a spirit-being, having a soul and living in a physical body. At the instant we are born again, it is the spirit part of us that undergoes a re-birth and becomes a new creation. Our soul and body remain basically unchanged, although they may be impacted.
I have seen people become frustrated because before they were born again, they were told that their lives would never be the same again after the new birth; that everything would change. Then they received Jesus and were born again, but their outward natural lives didn’t change at all. They still struggled with issues they had before such as extra body weight, or emotional problems, or abusive spouse, or funds were still short, etc, and then they wonder, ‘I was told everything would change but I don’t see any changes’. Yes, it is true that when you get born again, everything changes but those changes happen in your spirit, not in your soul or body.
Now, if you keep walking and working with God, your outward life (body and soul) will experience changes too, but the new birth brings immediate, 100% change to your spirit the second you say, ‘I receive Jesus into my life as Lord and Savior’. That is what 2 Corinthians 5: 17-18 teaches: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God’,
At the time of the new birth, a massive change takes place in your spirit within the twinkle of an eye, and you actually, in reality become a brand new spiritual person in God’s sight, accepted and cherished by Him. Your past spiritual nature and condition passes away, dies and is buried. Before God, you stand totally righteous and as pure as Jesus Himself, because your spirit is re-created with the very righteousness and holiness of the Lord: ‘And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness’ (Ephesians 4:24). The new man here refers to the spirit of the person who has been born again.
The born again spirit identical to Christ
In 1 Corinthians 6:17, it is written, ‘But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit’. The day you got born again, your spirit was engrafted into Christ and became one with Him in every way (1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27). That is why the born again Christian is described as being IN Christ.
The spirit of the born again Christian is 100% identical to Christ. Another way of putting it is that the born again spirit has everything we see in Christ and can do everything Christ did in His earthly life. We have the very life and potential of God in us. We are one with Him. He is in us in His fullness and we are in Him.
John the Beloved put it this way, ‘As he (Jesus) is, so are we in this world’ (1 John 4:17). No matter how spiritually mature a believer gets in this life, they never become like Jesus in their physical body or mind (soul), but in their spirit, as Jesus is in heaven, so are they right now in this world! Praise the Lord.
You are full of good things, full of treasures
In the letter to Philemon verse 6, Paul prayed for his friend thus, ‘That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus’.
At the new birth, Papa God deposits only good heavenly things in the believer’s spirit: power, wisdom, faith, love, all the 9 fruit of the spirit, etc. 2 Peter 1:3 teaches that the Lord has given to us ALL (not just some or a few) things that we need for life and godliness. Every born again child of God already has everything they will ever need to live in victory, to fulfil their earthly destiny, etc. These things are in the born again spirit. These are what I call the treasures of the new birth; heavenly treasures; so precious!
People read Scriptures that tell us who we are, what we have and what we can do in Christ, then they try to look for these things in their souls and bodies, and when they don’t find them, they are confused and frustrated. For example, believers read what Jesus said in John 14:27 that He gave us His peace. Then they look to their emotions (part of the soul) and they see fear, worry, depression instead of peace, and they conclude, ‘No. I don’t have that peace yet. Jesus said He gave it to me but I am not feeling it, so I don’t have it’. The peace is in the born again spirit.
Renew your mind to walk in the spirit
Paul’s prayer for Philemon was that the latter would come to acknowledge the good things in the part of him which was in Christ, and in so doing, the communication or sharing or releasing of his faith would become effective. In other words, he would walk in the spirit more effectively. To walk in the spirit is to live out of the realities in your born again spirit, as opposed to being controlled by your soul and body, which is what walking in the flesh is.
In Luke 11:52, the Lord Jesus taught that revelation knowledge is the key that gives us entrance into or practical experience of the realities of the things of God.
At the new birth, the believer receives everything they will ever need, but unless the believer gets to know what these things are, and how to draw them out from the spirit into the natural life, those good things remain buried, as it were, in the spirit. That is why Philippians 2:12 tells us to work out, (not work for) our salvation. We do that through renewing our mind by the Word of God.
Contrary to what some believe, the devil is not the believer’s number one problem. Neither is sin. These things may play a part, but the number one reason for defeat in the Christian life is ignorance of the truth. Personal knowledge of Holy Spirit-revealed truth is the means by which we attain the fullness of the freedom Christ bought for us (John 8:32).
Mirror of the Word
In the natural, a physical mirror helps you see parts of your body that you can’t see with your physical eyes. James 1:23-24 teaches that the Word of God is a spiritual mirror that helps us see and know spiritual realities that we cannot see or know using our natural senses.
In order to know the treasures deposited in your born again spirit, you have to look deeply into the mirror of the Word. You got to, on purpose and diligently, study and meditate in the Word. Only the Word of God reveals what we have become, what we have and what we can do by virtue of the new birth. The longer and oftener you look into the Word, the clearer the realities/treasures in your spirit will become to your mind, and the easier it becomes to walk in them.
Life takes a fresh turn when you catch the revelation of the treasures in your born again spirit. Your faith goes into over drive. Your expectations of life change. Instead of forever begging God for what He has already given you, you begin to aggressively take possession. You refuse to let life beat you all the time. You begin to believe and act as the overcomer you are by virtue of the new birth (1 John 5:4), and soon you see the manifestations of the realities in your spirit become experiences in your now life as well. That is when being born again begins to profit you in this life. That is when you discover that being born again is the most powerful and most important spiritual experience a human being can ever have from God.