In this season, as we consider how we can grow into maturity in Christ, it is expedient that we lay a proper foundation of what is the starting point of this glorious adventure (1st Corinth 3:11; Luke 14:28). Just like every human life has a beginning, so also is the spiritual life (1st Corinth 15:44). The concept of being ‘Born Again’ seems a common parlance but beyond as a cliché, a proper understanding of its meaning, implication and importance is necessary if we will have a productive Christian life.
Text review (John 3:1-6)
- Born of water (Jn 3:5)
This is the stage of repentance and cleansing of sins. ‘Water’ here scripturally could be interpreted in two ways:
- Water baptism: Acts 1:5; Mark 1:8. Baptism with water is a symbolic representation of our identification with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:3). It is however meaningful when premised on genuine repentance (Acts 8:35-38; Acts 16:27-31). Baptism is not a ritual but an essential component of the salvation experience Mark 16:15-16. It is an open identification that I have received him and proud to identify with His resurrection (Mark 8:38).
- The word: Eph 5:26-27; 1st Peter 1:23, John 15:3, John 17:17. The word has a cleansing power. This attribute could make the heart burn, produce godly sorrow and consume passion for sin Matt 3:11-12, Luke 24:32, Jer 23:29; Jer 5:14.
*Being born of water, essentially by the word of God, is a compulsory event for the next component of being ‘Born again’. Nobody is genuinely born again without first being born by the word.
*Although water baptism may be a once and for all events, ‘washing by the word’ is continuous for our sustained redemption 1st Peter 2:2.
2. Born of the Spirit
Understand the nature of man
Man as a tripartite being: 1st Thess. 5:23, Zech. 12:1, James 2:26
The hidden/inner man Eph. 3: 16, 1st Peter 3:4
Candle of the Lord Prov. 20:27, Job 32:8; Prov. 18:14
*God as a Spirit (John 4:24) relates with the spirit of man (1st Corinth 2:14). To have a relationship with the Lord, your spirit must be alive unto Him. In essence, he must govern it!
The essence of in-filling of the Holy Spirit
It is the change of governing authority in the spirit of a man that makes him/her ‘new’. 1st Sam, 10:6; 2nd Corinth 5:17.
It is a seal of ‘new’ ownership: Eph. 1:13, 2nd Corinth 1:21-22; Eph. 4:30, Rom 8:15-16
Continuous obedience to the Law of God is only possible through the Spirit. 1st Peter 1:22. Nobody can ever please God by the flesh Heb. 9:14.
It is an empowerment to say ‘no’ to sin and live a victorious Christian life. 1st John 3: 9; Ezk. 36:26-27, Rom 8:26.
Salvation is a full package when we are washed from our sin, its consequences and at the same time empowered to sin no more. Our will however can override the wish of the Spirit, making some believers to be classified as ‘carnally minded’ (Rom 8:6). Once saved, to maintain it, we must keep pace with the dictate of the Spirit and constantly renew minds with the word of God (Gal. 5:25; Rom 12:1-2).