Born Again Christian: What does it mean to be born again in Jesus Christ?
At what point does the calling of God land on all men? At what point does it only affect a certain number of men? At what point does man truly recognize the calling of Christ, so that they are able to recognize that they are born again in Christ?
The outward call is that which says that Christ wants that all men will come to Him. He does not desire that anyone who hears the word of the gospel reject it. However, He prophesied that this would happen, and He gave warning against it, so that the believers would be separated from the unbelievers.
Therefore, the outward call, or the hearing of the bible and the message of Christ, is given to all men. They have heard that they are to come to Christ. An example of the outward call is in Acts 17, which says:
- Acts 17:30 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent”
Yet, as we know from the Bible, and as we know based on the presence of atheists, there will be those who have ears but cannot hear. They have heard the outward call, yet for purposes only known to God, the master Potter, they will not be counted with the righteous, or the vessels of honor, namely the believers.
- Jeremiah 6:10 “To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.”
Work of the Holy Spirit: How much free will do we really have?
Believers cannot go to God on their own. For no man has been born without a sinful heart. There must first be an action that calls man to Christ, planting in him the seed set will grow into fruit. This action is only achieved through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God must first call a man through the inward call. Man receives the call and responds in his heart. Through the delivery of the Holy Spirit which intercedes in man’s heart, a new heart is given by Christ and the regeneration process begins. Only then does man recognize his true inner need for salvation in Christ, and only then does the rebirth take place. In the book of John, Jesus was mocked when referring to one being born again. Surely those who heard His holy message were unable to comprehend it in their hearts. To them, it was but a joke, a subject of mockery. But God has a purpose in all of this, as seen in Romans.
- Romans 9:16-18 “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.”
- Romans 9:19-24 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His Will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the Potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory—”
The Regeneration Process
When the Holy Spirit enters into the heart, no believer desires to reject It. Instead, they are given a new heart in Christ, and that new heart implants new desires, a new yearning for Christ, and the will to do the Will of God. The regeneration process allows the believer’s heart to begin a new path seeking righteousness. Obedience also becomes of utmost importance in the believer’s life throughout the regeneration process. One may find themselves feeling they have never felt so close to Christ once the rebirth has taken place and the regeneration process has begun. Actions are seen in the individual which denote that their lives and hearts have been changed by Jesus, as they have become born again in Christ.
- Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”
Born Again in Christ: Can those who are truly reborn choose a different path after the rebirth?
As we regenerate in the power of the Holy Spirit, there is never a time when the true believer wishes to blaspheme or reject Christ, for we have become born again in Christ. Their love for Him is unmistakable. Soon they desire to want more and more knowledge in order to maintain a closer walk with Christ. This is of His doing, not our own. God’s purpose in electing His followers is for a specific purpose when we are born again in Christ. God can even choose those who haven’t been born yet, sanctifying them and setting them apart from the unbelievers. This gives one no ability to base their salvation on doing good works, as it says in the bible that God has a purpose which includes an imparting of faith in a person. Good works become one’s honor after they have become a born again Christian, and not prior to recognition that they are saved by grace.
- Romans 9:11 “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—”
There is a common belief that says men can reject Christ on his own free will, however if God has made promises to His chosen ones, what kind of God would He be if He broke those promises? If He has indeed injected His Holy Spirit into the heart of the believer, allowing them to travel the path of becoming a born again Christian, and that is only done through the power of the Holy Spirit, why would He give man, who is so sinful, the authority over His own election? Would God, in His perfect wisdom, allow sinful lowly man to reject or deny Him, after He has already called him inwardly and given him a new heart? For what God has done, let no man undo. And what God says He delivers, let no man take away. This is but one example of the power of God. Who among us is capable of reversing the actions of God?
What does being born again truly mean?
Once God begins the regeneration process, we become sanctified, or, set apart and made holy. We have already been justified and given forgiveness of sin in Christ, an action that took place on the cross for the true believers in Christ. Otherwise, for what reason would Christ have died, if not for the redemption of sins of the world? Why would Jesus have purposed to sacrifice His own earthly life for the sins of believers, if only to make such a gift conditional on men, who have such sinful and unholy hearts to begin with?
Even as born again Christians, we sin in our daily lives. Surely, we will be disciplined for this, which is an act of God’s love, in order that He will bring us even closer to Him in prayers. But through the regeneration process, we are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit which lead us closer to Christ and provide us the ability to live a more holy life. This is the purpose of the regeneration process in born again Christians, to make us realize our salvation more and more everyday. This is so that we may reside with Christ in heaven for eternity. The regeneration process does not happen overnight. Rather, years may go by, and sometimes even in periods or stages, where we become closer and closer to the Lord.
Can Jesus allow someone to fall away permanently if they are truly His chosen sheep?
When the Holy Spirit calls on our hearts, it is promised to us that through Jesus Christ, He will not let us be snatched from his hands.
- John 10:25-30 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
See also: Predestination.
The topic of being “born again” doesn’t have to be a difficult one. To be a born again Christian does not mean to belong to a specific religion. Not every Christian who has experienced the rebirth will say, “I’m a born again Christian” if asked their religious beliefs. Not all born again Christians have symbols of fish on bumper stickers.
All true believers who are chosen by God will reach a spiritual awakening at some point in their lives, resulting in their being born again in Christ. Being born of the Spirit is a realization of one’s true faith, a realization of the true gifts of Christ, and a yearning for salvation, where such things were previously absent. The growth of our spirituality will be evident as we further advance in Christ. What a blessing it is to know that the Lord has given us such a gift that we as sinful humans do not hold the power to reject. What a wonderful testament of the love and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to deserve such an honor under the Almighty Yahweh. Thank God that He has given us such a miraculous gift, as the gift of being born again in Jesus Christ.
- 1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
May the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, be with you as you further your walk with Him in faith.