TITLE: YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
TEXTS: John 3 : 3-6; 1 Corinthians 15 : 34-58
It will shock you to know that what you learnt about “born again” has been wrong. The doctrine of “born again” has been misunderstood by many. Yahshua and Apostles have been misquoted by most preachers. Like Nicodemus who was confused and did not understand, many people today have different opinions and have misplaced what this concept – born again – represents. But you must know! That is the reason Yahshua and Apostles took time to explain it to the Assembly. Man has to go through the process of second birth before he or she can “see” and “enter” the kingdom of Yahweh because “flesh” and “blood” cannot enter into it. Remember, Yahweh, promised to send His true Pastors to teach us these truths. “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). The Holy Spirit is our number one Pastor, followed by those appointed men the Spirit of Yahweh guides into all truth (John 16:13). Receive this truth unhindered!
What is “Born again”?
"Yahshua answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Elohim… verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:3,5,6).
Did you understand? Two types of birth exist as explained by our Master Yahshua Messiah. The word “again” represent second time. At first time, man is born into flesh – flesh and blood. In the second time, man must be born into Spirit – spirit being. The above quotation by Yahshua reveals that the flesh must undergo change or transformation (second birth) before qualifying to “enter” into the kingdom of Yahweh. Yahshua revealed that as man is physically born into this world through the process of conception and birth, similarly, he must be born into spirit through the workings of the Holy Spirit (“born again”); so that he can qualify for Yahweh’s kingdom through the process of repentance, receiving and believing in Yahshua, baptism in Yahshua Messiah, conversion and salvation. To be “born again” is not just making oral confession to forsake one’s sin and follow Yahshua; it is not answering altar call, and to be prayed for; it is not agreeing to behave oneself; it is not about playing Yahweh, or claiming to be a Christian; it is not receiving prayer at the altar for ‘accepting’ Messiah. It is much more than these. First and foremost, every individual must make up his mind whether to renounce sin forever or not; whether he will be able to accept Messiah as Master and Saviour; whether he can keep the covenant of baptism into Yahshua Messiah – till He returns; whether he can deny self, obey the Father, keep His commandments and the faith of Messiah, endure sufferings, trials, persecutions, even death (Lk. 14:26,27,33; 9:23; Matt.16:24; Tim. 3:12; Matt. 5:10-12). Until thorough self-examination is carried out, and these queries properly answered, one need not jump into baptism for Salvation journey, else, it will be futile effort, because the individual may be doing so in vain [carrying sin along]. If one finds himself convinced to follow Yahshua Messiah, the person will then repent of his sins from the heart, receive Yahshua Messiah as his MASTER and PERSONAL SAVIOUR. The heart must be free from sin because that is where the Holy Spirit will write Yahweh’s LAW, which the individual will not break again (Jeremiah 31:31-33). After the initial process of water baptism, the Holy Spirit baptism is expected to follow (conversion). At this stage, the individual gets converted by the Spirit through spiritual baptism (this is not “born again” but CONVERSION). The Holy Spirit baptism can occur before or after water baptism depending on the state of the person’s faith in Yahshua Messiah.
This marks the beginning of the SALVATION journey, which is a life-long process for being “born” into Yahweh’s family or kingdom. Yahshua said that believers must be born into Yahweh’s family. However, the Almighty Yahweh identifies the heart as man’s source of problem in obeying Him. The process of renewing the defiled heart by the Spirit is conversion; and conversion process must be complete before a believer can attain the second birth status. The fulfilment of this second birth process leads to being “born again” into “the kingdom of Yahweh” (John 3:3).
Defiled Heart Needs Renewal
It is the Spirit of Yahweh that renews the believer through the process of conversion of the heart. The heart of man was identified by Yahweh as his problem. After man’s heart became deceitful, he stops keeping the commandments of Yahweh. Yahweh said: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29). Yahweh need to renew and restore the heart of man so that he could begin to fear Him and keep all His commandments. Only clean and pure heart can seek YAHWEH and find Him. “But if from thence thou shalt seek YAHWEH thy Elohim, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” [emphasis added throughout] (Deuteronomy 4:29; Psalm 24:3-4). Yahshua said that what defiles a man is what comes out from his heart – “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18-19; Mark 7:15). As a result of man’s helplessness, Yahweh promised to work upon his heart, to correct and renew it through His Spirit. Upon receiving Yahweh’s Spirit, the Spirit commences the work of conversion to fulfil Yahweh’s promise to believers. YAHWEH said:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith YAHWEH, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people (Jeremiah 31:33).
Indeed, this promise is being fulfilled today right from the coming of our MASTER YAHSHUA MESSIAGE who died for our sins and gave us unmerited gift of His GRACE (fruit of His Spirit). HIS FRUIT is the Heart Converter. In His abounding Grace lies this gift of the fruit for good works. “Conversion” and “born again” process is purely the work of the Holy Spirit (the source of GRACE), depending on the individual’s relationship with Messiah, who is the Giver of the Holy Spirit. Conversion is actualisation process towards being born again. It leads to being born again. At conversion the work of renewing the heart commences. The Spirit begins to deal with the “human nature” or “Adamic nature” or the “old man” that corrupts the heart. The fruit of the Spirit roots out the sinful nature of man. At conversion the work of purification, sanctification and regeneration is made manifest, and the fruit reflects the character of YAHWEH, which enables the believer to keep YAHWEH’s commandments and to fear Him.
The Process of Born Again Explained
The following seven steps summarises the Biblical processes of being born again:
- Acknowledge your sins (1 John 1:9; Jeremiah 3:13; 14:20; Psalm 32:5)
- Repent of your sins (Mk 1: 14; Rom. 3:23; Lk. 13:3,5)
- Receive and believe in the name of Yahshua Messiah (Jn. 1: 12; Rev. 14:12);
- Be baptised in the name of Yahshua Messiah (Acts 2:38; Mk 16:16);
- Be converted by the Spirit (Acts 3:19; 2 Cor. 5:17; Ezek. 36:36-27; Jer. 31:33);
- Continue as Yahshua’s disciple, growing in grace and knowledge of Yahshua (John 8:31; 2 3:18);
- Salvation: receiving of spiritual body at resurrection where change takes place within a twinkling of an eye; immortality replaces mortality at Yahshua’s return. The process automatically transforms the mortal body into spiritual body whether asleep or alive (Born again) (Jn.3:3,5; 8:5,9-11,14-16,23; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The first step to take in the journey of born again or second birth is to acknowledge that we have sinned and come short of YAHWEH’s glory. The second step is to heartily repent all sins committed and refuse going back to them. The third step is to receive or accept Yahshua Messiah and believe in His finished work of the tree. The believer must put his or her trust and confidence in Him – resting his/her faith upon YAHSHUA MESSIAH. On the fourth step, having counted the cost to follow Him to the end, the believer baptises into Yahshua Messiah by water immersion. Immersion means plunging into the water. Baptism is an acknowledgement that the believer has renounced sin, flesh, worldliness and Satan. It is a covenant that the believer will not break YAHWEH’s moral laws or commandments again. In the fifth step, the believer is baptised by Yahshua Messiah Himself via His Spirit (Matthew 3:11), and empowered by the fruit of the Spirit for good works (see Galatians 5:22-23; and also, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Ephesian 2:10). At this stage, the Holy Spirit begins to guide the believer’s life by way of leading, guiding and helping the obedient child of God into all truth (John 16:13) – and in everyday living unto – holiness and righteousness. The believer is bestowed with grace to love in reading [hearing] the Bible with understanding. Obedience to keep Yahweh’s Word or Commandments becomes easy. The joy for salvation begins to radiate in the individual’s life daily. Peace comes naturally. The assurance of one’s salvation is re-assured and faith is strengthened in doing the good works of YAHWEH. The Scripture describes ‘good works’ as the whole duty of man – to fear Yahweh and to keep His commandments (Ecclesiastics 12:13). The Spirit of Yahweh bears witness to the believer that he or she is a child of Yahweh. At sixth step, the believer is expected to grow in “grace, and in the knowledge of our Master and Saviour Yahshua Messiah…both now and for ever.” (2 Peter 3:18). The fear of the YAHWEH is bestowed upon the believer to please HIM. YAHWEH provides WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING to the believer to keep Yahweh’s commandments and faith of Yahshua Messiah (Psalm 111:10; Proverb 1:7; 1 John 2:3). This seventh process prepares the believer for being “born” into the family of Yahweh at the sound of last trumpet where the saints would be caught up by Messiah’s angels (Matthew 24:31), and they are transformed within a twinkling of eye. The mortal body receives spiritual body at resurrection and those who are alive gets automatic transformation of their physical body into spiritual body. Immortality replaces mortality, thus salvation of our souls are assured into eternity where we would live with the MASTER FOREVER AND EVER. This is born again into undying body. The new spiritual body has no blood nor flesh in it, because “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). (The body of the believer can now withstand all conditions and will never die again, just as the body of Messiah was when He rose from the dead). (Jn.3:3,5; Rom. 8:5,9-11,14-16,23; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
READINESS OF HEART TO OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS
Naturally, the problem of the heart of mankind has been on how to keep YAHWEH’s COMMANDMENTS. So at this last stage, the heart is renewed, made clean and pure, and becomes able to keep His commandments, which has not been possible. The heart is empowered by the Spirit to reject evil at all times. However, within our converted heart in this present state, when we begin to keep His commandments, we then KNOW that we KNOW Him. Apostle John wrote:
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:3-6).
In Revelation 14:12, Yahshua promised that believers that “keep the commandments of Elohim, and the faith of Yahshua” shall inherit the kingdom of Yahweh. Yahshua further reassured us: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (kingdom) (Revelation 22:14). The seventh step is the crucial stage of spiritual birth into Yahweh’s family; the believer is now one of the sons or daughters of Elohim with new spirit body (read further below – “How Do You Get Born Again?”).
Yahshua is the only “born again” Son of YAHWEH today. Yahshua promised that other brethren will be “born” into the kingdom of Yahweh at His second coming on earth. The believers will be rewarded for their faithfulness to Elohim and Messiah. Finally, the believers will be crowned as kings and priests to reign with Messiah for ever and ever (see Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). According to our Master Yahshua Messiah, the believers will inherit all things with Him.
There is a ‘seed’ (Spirit) of Yahweh in the life of everyone that will be born again. This ‘seed’ of life is a seed-bearing fruit in the believer, and during resurrection of the saints, it must be live with the saint. This seed powers believers characters – it has nothing to do with flesh. Yahshua told us that “every man that is born of the flesh is of the flesh; and every man that is born of the Spirit is spirit (Jn. 3:6). It is this seed of Spirit that quickens the ‘sleeping’ saint.
For instance, the dead body of Lazarus was quickened into life by the power of the Holy Spirit (though without a new spirit body because he has to die again). Yahshua was quickened into life by the Spirit with a new spirit body that is incorruptible and indestructible. Yahshua reveals that it is the Spirit that quickens the body of a converted sinner as well as raises him or her from the dead (Jn.6:63).; whereas, the unconverted persons that do not possess the Spirit will not rise from the dead. Yahshua is simply saying that at a believer’s resurrection, the Spirit of YAHWEH, which have life and spirit will quicken (raise) the dead with a new spirit body. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Apostle Paul wrote:
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom. 8:11). Halleluyah!
Brethren, grab this truth. Yahshua was brought back into life with a new spirit body after death by the power of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, all true believers who died in Messiah are promised that the same power of the Holy Spirit indwelling in the believer will quicken their body on the resurrection day, when all the believers will be born again with a new spirit body that will be incorruptible and indestructible. The born again body will inherit the kingdom of Yahweh as Yahshua declared. Apostle Paul captures it thus: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Yahweh; neither doeth corruption inherit incorruption (1 Cor. 15:50). Apostle John says that “whosoever is born of Yahweh sinneth not; but he that is begotten of Yahweh keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (1 Jn. 5:18). He adds that “Whosoever is born of Yahweh doth not commit sin; for His seed (Holy Spirt) remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of Elohim (3:9). NOW, the BIG question!
How do you get born again?
This is crucial and very important. For the sake of emphasis, “Born again” is a second birth – Spiritual birth – whereby the physical (first birth) gives way to second birth (spiritual birth). We must all become spirit being before we can “see” and “enter” the KINGDOM OF YAHWEH (John 3:3,6). The corruptible (flesh) changes to incorruptible (spirit) at the new birth (second birth). Yahshua said you must be “born again”. The first human birth occurs through the process of conception by a woman and after nine months a child is BORN. The second birth takes the process of individual’s repentance, baptism into Yahshua Messiah, and receipt of the Holy Spirit, who then converts and transforms the believer through His fruit (or power). The second birth follows this process: Acknowledgement of SIN, Repentance of SIN, Forsaking of SIN, Baptism in Messiah, Gift of Holy Spirit – (FRUIT for Conversion), Change or Transformation into INCORRUPTIBLE BODY OR SPIRIT BODY (see John 1:12; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 15:42,44,51; John 3:3,5,6). As discussed earlier, at conversion, the process of being “born again” commences. The person receives the Holy Spirit that releases Yahweh’s fruit (see fruit below) which begins the work of conversion, regeneration, cleansing and purification of the heart, thus filling the heart with cleanliness and power of the Spirit required for growth in grace, and increase in the knowledge of our Yahweh and Saviour Yahshua Messiah; and subsequently for change/transformation. This process can never start until the person genuinely acknowledges that he has sinned. The person must then renounce SIN, and then accept/receive and believe Yahshua Messiah as his MASTER and personal SAVIOUR (Jn. 1:12). The significance of this process is to be begotten a son or daughter of Elohim into Elohim’s family where the person will possess spirit body that can inherit eternal life for ever.
Entering into YAHWEH’s Kingdom will be at the close of the age when the dead in Messiah will be resurrected with a new spirit body (incorruptible body); and the living will be changed or transformed within a twinkling of an eye – and both – the dead and the living will be caught up in the air to meet with our MASTER YAHSHUA MESSIAH. Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 put it succinctly:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Grace is the Fruit of Empowerment
Why is “born again” a gradual process? The straight answer is that we must all be taught of Elohim through Yahshua Messiah’s Spirit (Isaiah 54:13; Jn. 6:45) and until we receive knowledge; and begin to practice and live with what we learnt, transformation may not take place. It is a life-learning process that last for a life time. We have to choose whether to accept, receive or believe in Yahshua or not (Lk. 14:26,27,33; Matt. 16:24). At the time the believer accepts Yahshua and His WORD and gets baptised by water immersion, the salvation work begins; which means, the believer must honestly deny self and sin and surrender his/her life to Yahshua. Then the Holy Spirit begins the work of transformation and empowerment – changing the defiled heart to a new heart and a new spirit, and removes the heart of stone; thus replacing the defiled heart with the heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26), so that the believer can live a holy life as Elohim commanded: “be ye holy for I am holy”. This is God’s gift of GRACE to every believer. The believer is now empowered to do what was impossible before. The Holy Spirit provides the believer with power to study the Bible; power to obey the law and commandments of Yahweh as Yahshua obeyed the Father’s commandments (Jer. 31:33; John 15:10); the Holy Spirit provides the believer power to receive and speak the TRUTH always. The believer is guided into all truth (Jn. 16:13); the Holy Spirit gives the believer the power for righteous living. More importantly, the GRACE upon which the fruit is bestowed is released to the believer, namely: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE (Gal. 5:22-23), which are the summation of the law; the Holy Spirit – the embodiment of the GRACE – gives the believer the gift to do the work of YAHSHUA MESSIAH, this can be any of these: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:8-10); more importantly, fearing Yahweh and keeping His commandments. Also Yahshua’s GRACE is bestowed upon His Assembly for doing the work of the Ministry, namely: Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, and Teachers (Eph. 4:11). These are necessary empowerment for edifying the Church; for doing good works; for obeying Elohim’s commandments; and to have the faith of Yahshua without which no man can enter the kingdom of YAHWEH.