Being Born Again
The Bible states that when someone repents and believes in Jesus they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Many people in this church testify of dramatic changes in their lives and experience a love, joy and peace that they have never experienced before. It is like they have a brand-new way of life. Jesus refers to this transformation as being born again.
In John 3, Jesus said that unless someone is born again, they cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven. He goes on to say that “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, they cannot enter the kingdom of God”. Being born of the Spirit occurs when someone is filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time. The Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”.
The Apostle Paul goes into further detail about the transformation process. He says that there is a death of the old life and nature and the experience of a new spiritual life. He says that the old life was crucified with Jesus and new life is given through the resurrection of Jesus.
In Romans 6, the Apostle Paul states that all Christians filled with the Holy Spirit, died with Christ, and were raised with Christ into new life.
In verses 6&7, Paul says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him (Jesus) in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin”.
These verses are not speaking of the forgiveness of sin, but power over sin.
In verse 11, Paul says that Christians must consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
In Colossians, Paul again speaks on a co-crucifixion and co-resurrection. He states in verses 11&12, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
A circumcision involves the cutting away of flesh. The flesh referred to by Paul in this verse is the source in which sin generates. The NLT version of the Bible refers to the flesh as our old sinful nature. Therefore, the flesh (old sinful nature) of a born-again believer is cut from them and they die to the power of sin, so they are no longer enslaved to it.
Paul in Ephesians 4 contrasts the old self (before being born again) and the new self afterward. In verses 22-24 he states, “Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”. So, Paul says that born again believers have an old self that is corrupt through deceitful desires. He then states that born-again believers have a new self which is created after the likeness of God in true holiness and righteousness.
You may want to reflect upon that scripture for a while. Is it not saying that born again Christians are created like God with a holy and righteous nature? You may also want to consider Colossians 3:9&10.
The sad reality is that many Christians are not taught that they have to take off their old way of life and embrace their new self. So, they see themselves as a slightly better version of whom they once were. But, by taking off old ways of life, old habits, old ways of dealing with stress, old mindsets and embracing the ways of Jesus people live set free from the power of sin.