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The Truth About ... BEING BORN AGAIN
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God" – our Lord Jesus Christ’s words, (John 3-3)
OUR PRESENT LIFE ENDS IN DEATH AND OBLIVION
To appreciate the meaning of being ‘born again’, we must first understand our present state of being, received through our first birth, and also our inevitable, normal destiny.
Because we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, our first parents, we have inherited from them the same nature and the same propensities, as they possessed. It is a great law of physiological science that ‘like can only beget like’. Adam and Eve were originally created about 6,000 years ago with a nature which belongs to the animal species. But distinct from the lower animals they were given a higher mentality with a freewill. This higher mentality and free will enabled them to choose between obeying God their Creator or disobeying Him – whether they would live their lives on a more spiritual plane or on the more or less animal plane with its concerns for eating, drinking, sleeping and procreation. Being of the animal species their nature was corruptible but capable of ascending to incorruptibility or deathlessness. What would be their eternal destiny was dependent upon their unfettered choice. Would they choose to obey God’s will or would they choose not to obey? If they chose a life of continued obedience, God would have eventually permitted them to eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. If, however, they chose to disobey Him, God would deny them access to the Tree of Life, and remove them from The Garden of Eden to ensure that, "dying thou shalt die" – (Genesis 3-16/17, 17-19, 22-24). Sadly for the myriads of people who came after them, they chose to sin against God and because they sinned God made them to reap "the wages of sin, which is death", (Romans 6-23).
As their descendants, we inherit their nature. That nature, our being, is both mortal and prone to sin. It is mortal because we also are outside the Garden of Eden with its idyllic conditions and perfect, life-vivifying foods. Gradually our bodies age, wear out and finally corrupt. All since Adam and Eve are born mortal – all are subject to death and all do finally die – (1 Cor. 15-21/22). But our nature, or being, is also prone to sin. Adam and Eve’s choosing to sin against God, set a bad example and created a sad entail to all their descendants – "sin entered into the world". Of everybody ever since (except one man, Jesus Christ our Lord) it is true that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God") – (Romans 5-12/21).
Now it seems natural and normal for us to sin and it is natural and normal for us to die. We choose to sin, just as Adam chose to sin, and we inherit the effects of his bad choice. From the age of responsibility onwards, we ourselves choose to sin. So we die because, 1.. we are born to die and also because 2.. we have ourselves sinned and thereby become worthy of death.
When we die we cease to be. We become non-entities, non-existent, just like before we were conceived. Our bodies decay and return to the dust whilst our spirit (the electrical life force that kept our bodies living) returns to God, The Original, and Supreme Life Force of the universe, (Ecclesiastes 12-7). Then man who was created and is now born "a living soul" (or natural body of life), then becomes a dead soul that perishes, (Genesis 2-7; Luke 13-3,5).
GOD HAS PROMISED US ETERNAL LIFE IN HIS KINGDOM TO COME
Though we now sin and though we will one day certainly die, we need not perish, or die forever. God has promised eternal life in His kingdom to come upon this earth, at the return of His Son, when all things will be made new, and all nations will be blessed, (Genesis 12-3; Psalm 72; Galatians 3-8). But this eternal life is to be found only in and only through, God’s Beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, (1 John 2/25; 5/11).
BUT CONDITIONS APPLY – WE MUST BE CHANGED
But like all things that are of real value, to gain eternal life in the Kingdom of God when it finally comes (and we are sure it will be very soon), ‘certain conditions apply’. What God’s conditions are, have been set forth in the Holy Scriptures: "he who believeth (the Gospel) and is baptised shall be saved", said our Lord Jesus, (Mark 16-15,16).
THIS CHANGE IS LIKE A NEW BIRTH
To believe God is to please Him. To obey God is to honour Him. So-doing is a great change from the normal, selfish conduct of the human species, which is largely ignorant of, disbelieves and disobeys God. This change of thinking – thinking in accord with God’s plans, and this change of conduct – living in accordance with God’s will, is as if a person is a completely remade person. It is as if he has been born again and lives an entirely different kind of life than the normal and the ordinary. It is this change of thinking and of living, this transformation of character for the better, to which Jesus refers when he said to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God", (John 3-3). We must NOW allow God to change our characters for good, before He will change our natures THEN. We must have incorruptible characters before we can possibly have incorruptible natures! That is why Jesus went on to explain, "Except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God", (John 3-5). To be born of water is to have believed the Gospel of the Kingdom and been baptised in water for the forgiveness of sins – bringing a transformation of character. To be born of the Spirit is to have our mortal bodies change to immortal, our natural life changed to eternal life – a transformation, or ascension of nature, from the earthy and animal, to the heavenly and spiritual.
A MORAL REBIRTH NOW GUARANTEES A PHYSICAL REBIRTH THEN
If we will allow God’s Word to change our thinking process from disbelief to faith, and to change our conduct from disobedience to obedience – that moral rebirth will qualify us for an eternal rebirth and an everlasting place in God’s kingdom which is to come on this earth, see 2 Timothy 3-14/17; Titus 2-11/15, 2 Peter 1-3/11.
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