Christian Churches of God

No. 172z




Born Again


(Edition 2.0 19960727-20000712)

Most do not understand the process involved and the meaning of the term to be born again. Christ delivered the teaching on the subject as recorded in John 3:1-21.




Christian Churches of God




(Copyright ã 1996 Wade Cox)

(Summary by Andrew Mason, Ed. Wade Cox)


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Born Again

The phrase "born again" is frequently and carelessly quoted among modern charismatic Christianity with little understanding of the true meaning of the concept. The terminology is derived from Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. There are four vital points in this text, which must not be overlooked.

No one who is not born again can inherit the Kingdom of God. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom (1Cor. 15:50). The works of the flesh must be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-26). Compassion and love should replace railing accusation and ad hominem attacks, which are the ways of the world. Let us deal with concepts objectively, in an open and honest way, and without guile (Jn. 1:45-51). Let us not forget our duty to work diligently in the faith, despite the trials and betrayals many of us have encountered. Indeed, being born again is a process of overcoming the self through faith in God (Rev. 21:7).

No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, Christ Jesus. Being born again is not to be confused with transmigration of the soul, a false and blasphemous doctrine of the mystery cults that runs entirely contrary to the Bible and the express words of Christ.

Christ was crucified so that those who believe on him would have eternal life. This is our example, that we should follow in his steps, having the same mindset in us (1Pet. 2:21-25; Phil. 2:5-8; 1Jn. 3:4-9).

God did not send Christ into the world to condemn the world, but to redeem those who believe on him. This belief is a process of moulding human behaviour to a point where obedience to God and His law-order comes naturally. The old self is put to death at baptism and the Spirit is developed in the individual until the divine nature permeates the entire being. This can only be accomplished through the Holy Spirit. Peter and the apostles were not converted until Pentecost (Lk. 22:24-32). Like many church-goers today they were part of a physical organization. But more is required for salvation.

Upon repentance, past sins are forgiven and no more brought to mind (Ps. 103:10-12; Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12; 10:17). Failure to exhibit this forgiveness is unconverted (Mat. 7:1-12; 6:12; 18:23-35). Christ nailed the record of our sins, not the laws of God, to the cross (Col. 2:13-15). The law is holy, and just, and good (Rom. 7:12). Both unforgiveness and anti-nomianism are unacceptable.

The law is not pointless; it’s about loving one another. If we don’t love our brother we cannot love God and we are not converted, though we give our body to be burned (Jn. 15:12,17; I Jn. 3:11). We must forgive others their trespasses, even as Christ and Stephen forgave, and as Saul, who became Paul, was forgiven. The elect are those sons of God who are developing righteous character, the key elements of which are forgiveness and love.