A couple has to do a lot of preparation when they are expecting a baby. The mother-to-be will watch her diet and exercise and try to get more rest, and the future parents might take a class on natural childbirth. As the day gets closer they will prepare the bedroom, purchase furniture, and choose clothing for the new baby. At some point the parents will be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat, and the mother will feel the baby kick. The birth of a child is eagerly anticipated. Another birth is expected. God the Father is looking forward to His children being born again! Today we will prove that being “born again” means a rebirth as a spirit being. Many Christians believe that they are already born again, but we need to see what the Bible says on this subject.
BEING BORN AGAIN IS ESSENTIAL
Much of the understanding (and misunderstanding) of the term “born again” originates with the third chapter of the Gospel of John. Read John 3:1-3. Notice that, “’unless one is born again, he cannot see thekingdomofGod.’” Read verses 4 and 5: “’Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter thekingdomofGod.’” Clearly, being born again is essential to being in God’s kingdom.
THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT IS SPIRIT
The key to the meaning of “born again” is in verse 6: “’That which is born of the flesh is flesh.’” Obviously we are all born of the flesh, and we are all composed of flesh: we are physical beings. The verse continues: “’…and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’” None of us is composed of spirit yet, so we are not yet born of the spirit; we are not yet born again.
Continue reading verses 7 and 8. Verse 8 is a literal description of a spirit being, which is what we will be when we are born again.
In 1 Corinthians 15:50 Paul wrote that while we are still physical flesh and blood, we cannot inherit thekingdomofGod.
One of the beautiful thoughts of God that you have read about in lessons on this website is that there is a physical fulfillment and a spiritual fulfillment to many Scriptures. We learn from the physical in order to understand the spiritual. Romans 1:3-4 discusses the physical birth and the spiritual birth of Christ, who “was born of the seed of David according to the flesh” (verse 3). That was His physical birth. He was “declared to be the Son of God…by the resurrection from the dead” (verse 4). That was His spiritual rebirth when He was born again. These verses compare the two births– one from a human mother descended from David, and one by a resurrection as a spirit being as the Son of God.
Christ was “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29), “the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15), and “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5). Christ is our elder brother. “All shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Just as Jesus was made alive again by a resurrection from the dead, we will be made alive by a resurrection; as Jesus was born again, we will be born again.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS AFTER BAPTISM?
Let us understand what happens when we receive God’s Holy Spirit after we are baptized (Acts 2:38). We read in Romans 8:11 that God will give us life through the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. That is, the Holy Spirit lives in us now while we are mortal beings, and the Holy Spirit will be used to change us to immortal spirit beings in the future. The process is similar to physical conception: the sperm enters the egg, and the fetus begins to grow and is eventually born.
If we are spiritual fetuses, then who is our spiritual mother? The Church is compared to a woman in several Scriptures, including Ephesians 5:22-27. In Hebrews 12:22-23, the Church is called the heavenlyJerusalem, and Galatians 4:26 tells us that that sameJerusalemis called “the mother of us all.” These Scriptures are showing us that the Church is our spiritual mother.
Ephesians 4:11-13 describes the Church where we grow until we become “a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” That is, we grow until we are resurrected as spirit beings with the same perfect character as Christ has. Please see our Bible study “Our Potential,” where we learn that we are to become immortal spirit beings with perfect, righteous character as part of God’s family.
We are begotten when we receive the Holy Spirit, but we are not yet born again.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
Why is it important to know that we are not yet born again, that and we will be born again in a resurrection? Firstly, God’s truth is important, and we have proven from the Holy Bible what it truly means to be born again.
Secondly, if we think we are already born again, we might believe that we “have it made,” and there is nothing left for us to do. We might think that we are not required to keep the Ten Commandments, but in another Bible study we proved from the Bible that we are required to keep God’s law. We would wrongly believe that we do not have to grow in character, and thus we could lose our reward and possibly our salvation.