Forty years ago today, I awoke an atheist. Through the convergence of many sources of "light," by noon, I was a born-again Christian. I will not take the time to review the details of the greatest event of my lifetime, as I have given my testimony previously in this blog's posts of July 30Th -August 18Th, 2010. I looked up "born-again" on Google, and I was amazed at how many different interpretations there were. Because the views varied so greatly, I feel it is necessary for me to define the new birth as I understand it.
The two places the term appears in the Bible are John 3:3-8 and 1 Peter 1:23, but the concept of the new birth appears in many New Testament passages, such as Ephesians 2:1-5. In John's Gospel, Jesus describes the new birth as being the work of the Spirit. He contrasts our physical birth, that of water, with the spiritual birth. Nicodemus had been born physically, but he needed to be born a second time, spiritually.
There is one thing both births have in common: the person being born has nothing to do with his birth. Some believe that a man chooses to place his faith in Christ, and by doing so, he is born-again. That is true, but why does he choose to believe in Christ? Does man hunger for a relationship with Almighty God? The answer is a resounding NO!
The Scripture says that the new birth is the work of God alone (Jn. 1:12-13). It says that none seek to know Him of their own volition (Rom. 3:11). It is the Spirit Who convicts the lost of their need for the Savior (Jn. 16:7-11). It is the Father Who draws man unto His Son, Jesus (Jn. 6:44). And it is God Who gives a man the faith necessary to believe (Eph. 2:8-9). We are born-again because we believe; we believe because we have been given the faith necessary; we are a child of God because it is His will and not ours (Jn. 1:13). To God be the glory; great things HE has done!
As for when the new birth occurs, it totally depends upon the move of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual (Jn. 3:8). The born-again Christian is a child of God now, in this life (1 Jn. 3:2; 5:13). That is why we can call God our Father (Rom. 8:15). That is why we need not fear death; we have ETERNAL LIFE (Jn. 3:15-16; Rom. 6:23; 1 Jn. 2:25; 511). Those who are born-again will face only physical death; everyone else will face the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). So:
IF YOU ARE ONLY BORN ONCE (PHYSICALLY), YOU WILL DIE TWICE;
IF YOU ARE BORN TWICE (SPIRITUALLY), YOU WILL ONLY DIE ONCE.
Now you know why my birthday means so much to me. I pray all reading this will experience the same before they die! AMEN!