By Gerald Flurry

Most professing Christians think they were born again when they said they accepted Christ. But does the Bible say that’s what it really means to be “born again”? This second birth is FAR MORE than most traditional Christians assume. When Jesus spoke of being “born again,” He did not mean what most people think. It is vital that we understand this subject.

Who and What Is ‘God’?
To understand what it really means to be born again, we must first understand who and what God is, and the very PURPOSE for our existence.

The first words of the Bible are: “In the beginning GOD created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The original Hebrew word for God, throughout this account, is Elohim. That is the plural form of the Hebrew Eloah (“Mighty One”). So Elohim means “Mighty Ones”—more than one divine Personage. Also notice the plural pronouns “us” and “our” in referring to “God” in Genesis 1:26.

Elohim is a plural noun. That word stands for a single class composed of more than one individual, just like the words church, family or kingdom. Just as there is the animal kingdom and the human family, or kingdom, Elohim in Genesis 1 shows that there is also a GOD KINGDOM, or FAMILY.

Who is in the God Family? Let’s notice what the Bible reveals.

1. Who was with “God” when God created the universe? John 1:1. Is the “Word” also God? Verses 1-2. Was it the Word who actually created all things? Verse 3.

The Greek word translated into English as “Word” in John 1:1 is Logos. It means “spokesman,” or “one who speaks.”

2. By whom was all the material universe created—including this Earth and mankind? Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16-17. Who, then, is the “Word” of John 1:1? John 1:14; Ephesians 3:9 (last part). And who is the other divine member of the God Family? 1 Corinthians 8:6.

John 1:3 and Genesis 1:1 are two accounts of the same event—the original creation of the universe. Along with John 1:1-2, these scriptures reveal that the two supreme Beings of the God Family created all things. Together they planned the creation, and the Word did the actual creating. Everything was created and made by the divine Being who later became the human Jesus Christ to die for the sins of mankind!

Man Created in God’s Image
Man is not just another “animal,” as evolutionists claim. God’s purpose for creating man surpasses anything ever imagined by the human mind. Let’s continue reading the first chapter of Genesis and begin to understand the most astounding revelation of your Bible!

1. After what “kind” were the animals created? Genesis 1:20-25.

These verses specify that God created fish to reproduce after their own particular kind, birds after their particular kind, and cattle after their particular kind. Each kind has varieties within it, but all creatures reproduce only after their own “kind.” Dogs reproduce dogs, monkeys reproduce monkeys, sheep reproduce sheep, etc.

2. After what “kind” was man created? The man kind? Genesis 1:26.

Have you ever noticed that before? Man was not created after the “man kind.” He was created after the God kind! This is huge!

3. Even though man is made in the likeness of God, are both composed of the same type of “material”? John 4:24; Genesis 2:7.

There is a vast difference between spirit and dust. Although man was created in the very shape and likeness of God, he was not created out of spirit. He was made of matter, the dust of the earth, subject to death and decay. But God’s purpose is to eventually create him out of eternal spirit!

Our Awesome Destiny!
Astonishing as it may sound, God is now in the process of creating His greatest creation of all—His supreme masterpiece!

Only a very few have really understood God’s awesome purpose for human beings. The Bible reveals that awesome purpose: God is REPRODUCING HIMSELF—through mankind! Our destiny is to become the literal children of God, MEMBERS of His own divine Family! Let’s understand this amazing truth.

1. God is forming and molding man; what does Isaiah liken God to? Isaiah 64:8.

God’s creation of Adam and Eve was complete only in the physical sense. They were created perfect physically—but not perfect SPIRITUALLY. They were created of the dust—not of divine SPIRIT. They were created corruptible and subject to death—not incorruptible and immortal, like God.

But the Master Potter did not intend that mankind should remain that way!

2. Are true Christians being fashioned by God for a specific purpose? Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 2:10.

“We” in the New Testament usually refers to Spirit-begotten Christians, as Paul intended in Ephesians 2:10. We, then—if we are true Christians—are God’s “workmanship.” We are in the process of being “created”—WHY?—“unto good works.” God, with the Holy Spirit He has put within us, is forming in us His perfect spiritual character! With our consent and cooperation, God is creating us after His own character! We are to become the supreme masterpiece of all His works of creation—individuals who will be capable of righteously exercising the awesome powers of God! Individuals who are literally children of God—who act just like their Father!

The material creation of man is only the first phase. Now the clay model has to be fashioned and molded, with our cooperation and the aid of God’s Holy Spirit, into the finished spiritual masterpiece.

What It Means to Be ‘Born Again’
Incredible as it may sound, Jesus taught that humans can be “born” into the FAMILY, or KINGDOM, of God!

1. How many individuals does God want to have in His Family? 2 Corinthians 6:18; Hebrews 2:9-11; Revelation 21:7. What relationship does Jesus Christ have to the OTHER sons of God? Romans 8:29.

God plainly shows that His purpose is to increase His divine Family by bringing many sons into it! Not just one firstborn Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. To be “conformed to the image” of Christ means to become like Him—to be glorified as He is now glorified—to be a member of the divine FAMILY OF GOD even as Christ now is.

2. What must happen to flesh-and-blood Christians before they can enter God’s Family? 1 Corinthians 15:49-52; John 3:3-8.

Jesus said we must be “born again”—CHANGED INTO SPIRIT! Yes, born again—this time born of the Spirit of God as divine sons in the Family of God!

Begotten Sons Now—Not Yet Born Again
1. If we are true Christians, are we already—in this life—the children of God? 1 John 3:1-2. Are we already inheritors of the Kingdom of God? Romans 8:14-17.

Notice that although we are now the “sons” and “children of God,” we are only heirs—ones who shall, in the future, inherit what God has promised. Why? Because we are now only begotten. It is only when we are born of God that we become inheritors of God’s Kingdom—divine members of the Family of God.

Before the second phase of man’s creation—our spiritual creation—can begin, God the Father must first beget each of us by placing His Holy Spirit within our minds to join with the spirit in man. We are then impregnated, so to speak, by the “seed,” or germ, of eternal life. It is the begettal of the spiritual life of God within our minds. Much as a newly begotten physical embryo begins to grow in his or her mother’s womb, we are to grow in SPIRITUAL CHARACTER after we are begotten by God’s Spirit. This growth results from Bible study, prayer, and walking with God every day of our lives.

2. Do we actually receive of the divine nature of God when we are begotten by His Holy Spirit? 2 Peter 1:3-4. What are some of the divine characteristics, or “fruits,” of God’s nature that obedient Christians manifest in their lives after they are begotten by God’s Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23.

Born Again at the Resurrection
1. Can we humans inherit God’s Kingdom? 1 Corinthians 15:50. What must happen to us to be born as divine sons in God’s Family? Verses 51-53.

“That which is born of the Spirit IS spirit,” said Jesus (John 3:6). But we have not yet been born of the Spirit. We are STILL FLESH AND BLOOD—capable of pain and bleeding. But when born into the God Family, we will be free of human pain and suffering (Revelation 21:4). And with our new spirit bodies, we will be unfettered by the physical limitations of time and space. When Christ was resurrected—“born again”—He was able to pass through solid walls (John 20:19, 26). Any human beings who claim to already be born again are completely mistaken; after all, they are still flesh and blood.

Jesus said we must be born “of the Spirit”—we must become composed of spirit—to ever see or enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5). And so the second birth is something yet to occur at the resurrection to immortality!

2. Speaking of the resurrection—when the second birth will occur—what did Paul say regarding the new body Christians will receive? 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. Will they resemble what Jesus Christ already is like? Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2; Matthew 17:1-2; Revelation 1:13-16; Matthew 13:43; Daniel 12:3.

Because God is spirit, when one is born of his heavenly Father, he will also BE SPIRIT—he will be composed of the same substance of which God is composed. He will be given a spirit body like Christ’s and will be GLORIFIED and given tremendous SPIRITUAL POWER. The power and glory that Spirit-begotten Christians shall receive at the resurrection will be so great that it will make their faces shine as the sun! And all who are thus born again of God will be able to see God because they will be in the Kingdom—the divine Family—of God!

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By Ryan Malone

1.
It was utterly dumfounding! This teacher was telling him that one must be born a second time! But how could that be? he wondered.

Ever since Nicodemus’ mind-boggling conversation with Jesus Christ, many have been just as confused as he was concerning the TRUTH about what it means to be born again.

Why couldn’t he understand this concept? Why don’t many understand it today? It actually stems from most people’s misunderstanding of Christ’s gospel. If you don’t understand that, you can’t comprehend what it means to be truly born again.

The word gospel means “good news.” What was that good news? Mark 1:14 defines it:”Jesus came into Galilee, PREACHING the gospel of the kingdom of God.” It was not a gospel about Him, but about a coming Kingdom—a coming government to rule this earth.
2.

Christ’s message raised curiosities among the religious of His day. Nicodemus was one of them. “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).

Christ, being a teacher from God, taught Nicodemus the message behind the miracles. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). Christ told Nicodemus, the ONLY WAY he could be a part of this Kingdom—part of the fulfillment of Christ’s message—was to be born again! Years later, many professing Christians read this and frantically run to get themselves “born again” so they can be a part of this kingdom.

But Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews” (John 18:36).
3.

Not understanding the timing of the Kingdom, Nicodemus obviously did not understand this “born again” concept: “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4). Physically, this is impossible.

Christ answered, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (v. 5). Being born of water is baptism. Here, Christ meant that we cannot be born of the Spirit, or “born again,” unless we are first baptized.
4.

And being born of the Spirit was the main focus of Christ’s teaching. He defines it in verse 6: “That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.” Christ’s words are so plain. That which is born of the flesh is flesh: in a physical birth, we are physical beings. But that which is born of the Spirit is spirit: in a spiritual birth, we are SPIRITUAL BEINGS!

So unless born again, BORN OF THE SPIRIT, one cannot enter the Kingdom of God (v. 5). He or she cannot even see the Kingdom (v. 3). “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (v. 8). And yet so many professing Christians will argue that they are born again, when the Son of God clearly states that if you are born again (born of the Spirit), you are like the wind—NO ONE CAN SEE YOU!
5.

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (I Cor. 15:50). Flesh and blood are visible. So if you are still flesh and blood, you have NOT inherited the Kingdom and therefore are NOT born again.

Now, we must define the word kingdom. A kingdom has four parts: 1) a king or ruler, in this case Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:16); 2) an area of land which the king will rule, in this case the Kingdom of God will rule the earth for 1000 years (Rev. 20:4); 3) subjects to rule, in this case submissive human beings striving to live according to God’s way; and 4) a law by which to rule these subjects, in this case the perfect law of God—the Ten Commandments (Rev. 22:14).
6.

So where do those born again (born of the Spirit) fit into the Kingdom? “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:and Isaw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God…and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4). They are the ones RULING with Christ. These saints have died and now live! They are Spirit (invisible) and will reign with Christ. In other words, they have entered the Kingdom of God. They are BORN AGAIN!
7.

NOTICE! Being born again means being part of God’s Kingdom—which is, in other biblical passages, referred to as the family of God. In this world, kingdoms and nations are merely families grown large. So those “born again” are actually born into God’s SPIRITUAL FAMILY. Why would Christ use the word “born” if it didn’t compare to physical birth?

So many have misunderstood this fabulous truth. Why the confusion?

8.

The New Testament Greek does not have two words to differentiate between being merelybegotten and actually being born. The Greek word in all cases, gennao, actually includes the entire process from begettal to the birth.Strong’s Concordance defines it as follows: “to procreate (properly of the father, but by extension of the mother); figurative to regenerate:—bear, begetbe born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered of, gender, make, spring.” English has two separate, distinct words for this process. The King James Version of the Bible bears this out, at times translating gennao as “begotten” and other times “birth.”

It is the context that must determine what the Greek word actually denotes. (Translators were not always right.) If it refers to us receiving God’s Spirit now, while in the flesh, we know this refers to begettal, since the Kingdom is not yet here and no fleshly human is spirit and sinless! But if it refers to us being like God, not able to sin or living forever, we know that is the true, spiritual birth!

9.

Now, understand this. Before a human being can be physically born, the baby must be begotten. Romans 8:16 shows how this relates spiritually as well. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Notice, humans have a spirit. Job 32:8 states, “But there is a spirit in man.…” Spiritual begettal, which makes us God’s children, is when the Spirit of God combines with this human spirit—just like the male sperm combines with the female ovum to create a child.

10.

So how and when is one spiritually begotten? When does this Spirit of God enter the mind? Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy [Spirit]” (Acts 2:38).

This is why Christ, in John 3, mentioned being born of water first. This is the spiritualbegettal, when man is forgiven of his past sins and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. Upon receipt of this Spirit, man becomes a member of God’s spiritual family in embryo!

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Gen. 1:26). Man looks like God in physical form—he has His likeness. This is proven in the sense that the Word became flesh and looked like the Father (John 14:9). But in order to be a member of God’s family, man had to gain the image of God! He needed the character of God, the mind of God. He needed to think like God

11.

Physically, the purpose of conception is to make another human being similar to the parents—with two eyes, two ears, a nose, a mouth, two arms, two legs, etc. BUT AT THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION, THE BEGOTTEN DOES NOT LOOK LIKE A HUMAN BEING. It looks like a cell! It actually takes over nine months to come to the complete “image” of a human being. Over the months, little by little, the embryo takes on the features of a human. Soon, an independent heart, a toe here, a finger there, and so on. The same applies spiritually. When man is begotten of God, he actually seems to have none of God’s image—he may not act like or think like God. But over time, he begins to take on the features, the character of God. The equivalent of an arm might develop, or a leg, until he is fully ready to be born as a spirit being into the family of God.

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11). The Spirit of God in a human being is what quickens his or her body to be changed into spirit composition. It happened first to Christ. That is why He is called the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). To this point, He is the only one born again, because He is the only one who was flesh and is now a Spirit member in the God family. And how did it happen to Him? By the resurrection. “For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be RAISED incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Cor. 15:52). Those dead at the return of Jesus Christ, when He comes to establish His KINGDOM on earth, will be resurrected incorruptible, spirit children in the image of God.

12.

This is the most fundamental truth to God’s plan for humanity—the very reason life exists on this planet! God is making a family. He intends that every single willing human being be born again into His family. It starts at the birth of water (being baptized and forgiven of our past sins) and the receipt of God’s Spirit, and then growing as a baby would in gestation until the embryo has formed the image of God—when the human, by the guidance of God’s Spirit, learns to think and act like God. Finally, he or she will be changed to a spirit member of God’s family—unable to sin and able to live that way forever. He or she will be, as Christ said, like the invisible wind and a part of an invisible Kingdom, or family. The parallels are astonishing!

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