Born Again-Really?

by: Wayne Schatzle

            If you listen to a good bit of religious programming you probably have heard the term “Born again” used a lot. It is a termed used to describe a believer’s condition in his faith. Possibly it is the most important thing that can happen to a believer. Consider, “unless a man is born again he cant even see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3! Most all texts on this topic are in the Gospel of John and his first epistle, which should make it a fairly easy study.

            The next question is when is a man born again. Many think it is when a believer is baptized. That seems to be a reasonable assumption but there are other scriptures that define what it is like being born again. In Jesus’ own words: “that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirit” John 3:6.  now look at verse 8: “the wind blows where it wishes, you hear the sound of it but cannot tell where it comes or goes. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit! I know a lot of people that claim to be born again and I would not say that they are spirit as they are not like the wind and they cut and bleed like the rest of men. In first John 3:9 we read: “whoever is born again does not sin for His seed remains in him and he cannot sin”. That’s a problem because believers are prone to sin until the day they die. The answer is relatively simple when we examine the meaning of the word “born”. In nearly every case the word used is Gennao, which is Greek for: to procreate; bear, beget, be born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered of; gender, make, spring {Strong’s #1080}. Now we can understand that the meaning includes conception as well as birth. It all makes perfect sense of we can say a believer is “begotten” upon baptism and born when he is resurrected to Spirit. Consider First Corinthians 15:44, “it is sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body- for there is a natural {flesh} body and a spiritual body. Verse 52, “at the LAST trumpet.. the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

            Discussing this topic in the past, a person said it was an insignificant issue and could be categorized as “striving over words” and a “twiggy” doctrine. Maybe so, but do you realize that the greatest massacre of all time, the killing of over 44 million infants in this country alone by abortion, hinges on when a baby is born? During late term abortion, seconds can mean the difference of life or death. In fact the most dangerous time for a baby {or fetus} is that time between begettal and birth.

            As a precious life is in danger, so is the time between baptism and death for a believer. Paul warned believers not to let anyone beguile them out of their reward {Colossians 2:18}.  People are also encouraged not to give up because of persecution, trials and pressure to follow evil. I am reminded of the first thing that happened to Jesus right after He was baptized: He was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. As Satan tried to get Him to fail so he does to a new believer. Like a baby, new believers are vulnerable to the wiles of evil and only by the strength of the Holy Spirit within him he can resist the devil.

            To be exact, Jesus is presently the only one to be “born again”- he is the “Firstfruits” of many brethren. Upon His return the fantastic first resurrection will occur, then all believers will be truly “born again” Revelation 20:6.             06/05

Written by Wayne Schatzle, director, Freedom Biblical Information Center
P.O. Box 1806, West Chester OH 45071)