Understanding Born Again Part I
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, 1st John 5:1.
If we went down to a redneck bar in just about any American city and we polled the drunks as they came out and asked them if Jesus is the Christ, they would almost all respond, "Of course he is". Does that mean they are they born of God? I think we all realize that what they are saying is not a revelation from the Holy Ghost, it something they learned from flannel graphs during a vacation bible school, at Sunday school, or from some catechism.
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost, 1st Corinthians 12:3. We could get a parrot to say "Jesus is the Lord" and he might say it over and over, but it would not be a sign that our parrot is speaking by the Holy Ghost, it is something the flesh taught him.
Jesus Christ himself expressed the difference when after Peter identified him as the Christ, the son of the living God, he told Peter; Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven, Matthew 16:17. The western world, the vast array of today's churches, and alas even our fundamental churches are full of people whose only revelation that Jesus is the Christ came from flesh and blood, not from an inner revelation wrought by the Holy Ghost.
The Apostle John told us that if we believe that Jesus is the Christ we are born of God. The Apostle Paul told us that no man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ told Peter that him knowing that Jesus was the Christ was a revelation from the Father, and yet we have people who can't connect the dots and realize that Paul and John are both speaking of the same thing.
Sometimes people ask me if I am a liberal or a conservative. I never answer that outright. I tell them what I believe. To many people that is a non-answer. They just look at me blankly and ask again whether I am a liberal or a conservative. They have no idea what those words really mean. When they have to judge for themselves whether I am a liberal or a conservative, they do not have the intellectual tools to do so based on the evidence that I have given them. I have had the same thing happen when people ask me if I am a Calvinist or an Arminian.
The Apostle Paul never uses the term, "born again" and those who lack the ability to identify what it means to be born again can't see it in his writing. Before we look at what the Apostle Paul has to say about the state of being born of God, we'll look at the statement I made in the last post when I said that no one could be born again until the incarnation of Jesus Christ. We'll look at an Old Testament saint make the transition from being secure in the promises of God to being born into the Kingdom of God. It happens right before our eyes. The Apostle Paul explained that to us if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, John 1:45. Philip identifies Jesus Christ as the son of Joseph. That is something the Holy Ghost would never do. In fact when it becomes necessary to link Jesus Christ with Joseph, the scripture use the term "supposed". And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Luke 3:23. The Holy Ghost would never call Jesus the son of Joseph. What Philip unwittingly did was to call Jesus Christ accursed. He put him under the sin of Adam and under the curse of Coniah (Jeremiah 22:28-30).
There is no evidence in Philip that he is born again or that he spoke by the Holy Ghost. What he did do, was to bring Nathaniel to see Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ saw Nathaniel he identified him as a man of faith who was already saved by Old Testament precepts. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!, John 1:47. Jesus Christ has flagged two points about Nathaniel, one point made by David in the Psalms and one identified by the Apostle Paul in Romans.
Jesus called him an Israelite indeed. Here is where we need the Apostle Paul to do his job, take us by the hand and explain to us Gentiles what that means. That is his job. Paul tells us; For they are not all Israel which are of Israel, Romans 9:6. He goes on to explain that a person isn't considered to be the true Israel if they are not of the promise and that God always keeps a remnant. Jesus Christ identified Nathaniel as being part of that remnant, an Israelite indeed.
David spoke of such people when he said; Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile, Psalm 32:2. Jesus Christ identified Nathaniel as being such a man in whom was no guile. This is not a man lost and on his way to hell. So many people view all of the crowds of people in the Gospels and in the synagogues of Acts as being lost sinners on their way to hell.
Nathaniel is no such person. What Nathaniel doesn't know is that the man standing in front of him is the one whose spirit dwells in his heart. What he does know is that the man standing in front of him just read him on the inward parts and identified his true spiritual condition. Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me?, John 1:48. Jews require a sign so Jesus gave him one; Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee, John 1:48.
Nathaniel became part of the transition. He did not get saved in John 1, he got born again. By what evidence? Look at what he says next; Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel, John 1:49. John explained in 1st John that believing that Jesus is the son of God is the proof that they are born again. A person could not be born again prior to the incarnation because the proof of being born again is believing that Jesus is the son of God. That means believing that if you were to take a DNA sample of the man Christ Jesus and test every man who ever lived you would never find a father on this earth. God is his Father. I can explain that to you and you may be able to parrot those words, but until such time as the Holy Ghost births the new man inside of you, it will be just flesh and blood teaching you. When you are born again you will know that Jesus is the Christ and that he is born of God as surely as an arctic tern knows to fly from pole to pole, as sure as a new born baby knows to suckle and as sure as the Father knows his son. It is a miracle.