BORN AGAIN—when?? (Click here to listen.)
Are you or anyone else born again now or when will that actually happen?
Are those who believe they are “born again Christians” while still in the flesh being deceived by an unbiblical teaching? Does the Bible actually teach one can be born again, and if so, when does that really happen? The Bible reveals the answer and you CAN know the truth, if you are willing to search for the answers and believe your bible!
Many who live here in the USA and in other areas of the world are now claiming to be, or at least know some who profess “Christianity” and believe they are “born again” in this life. However, is this teaching and belief today one of Bible truth that you have proven for yourself, or a product of some mistranslations of words, heresy and even deliberate deception by the teachings of men? Let us find out what the Bible reveals for these questions and more!
Has anyone ever really been spiritually born again, as far as the supposed Christian claim of being “born again” in this life goes? Does that belief actually go AGAINST what some of the Scriptures reveal? Does the Bible say one thing in some passages and something totally different in other places? The man named Jimmy Carter, who became president of the USA, serving from 1977-1981, is only one of many who make the claim of being a born again Christian. He made his claim very public and it is now common knowledge! It is very clear however, that he remains very much flesh and blood, subject to the human frailties and health issues of the flesh and has even voiced some very un-Christian ideas, according to the true teachings of the Bible!
The belief is, as one internet site states; “Becoming born again is a personal choice, open for everyone to receive.” (Can just anyone decide to become born again, as this suggests? The true COG does not have this belief, as this article is designed to show, because the Bible does not really teach it.) Many people today make this assumption and even teach it in their congregations to their followers. One COG organization in this 21st century that I know of, has for years now made this claim of members being already born again and may even consider this a “doctrine” of theirs; but what does the truth of the Bible reveal? How do we get the right understanding on this subject, seeing the Bible does use that term in various places? We should all recall the Bible also says that God is not the author of confusion, (1Cor.14:33) and that “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) therefore some of those places using the term “born” again, anew or from above absolutely HAVE to be mistranslations, because the same word is translated “begotten” elsewhere! The original Bible manuscripts do not contradict themselves in this regard. Does Christ give us the answer in His own words, along with other passages of inspired Scripture, written by His apostles? Do some passages have “born” where it should be translated “begotten”? Please read on or continue to listen.
For decades the true COG has had the right understanding on this concept of being born again, all because God called a man that He was able to use to reveal the truth on this, as well as many other subjects. That man was HWA (Herbert W Armstrong) and I will give a quote from his writings later in the article. The Holy Spirit has to be involved to open a person’s mind to the truths of Scripture and then that person has to choose whether to believe with faith or reject what is revealed. To reject revealed knowledge is to eventually lose the opportunity for a right understanding on whatever the biblical subject may be. Let us notice some of this, beginning with 1Cor. 2:7-15. “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
V.10 “But God has revealed them to us (The faithful & believing Christian) through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except (by) the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except (by) the Spirit of God. (The Holy Spirit has to be in the individual and leading—Rom.8:9 &14) V.12 Now we have received, (If truly converted) not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man (One the Holy Spirit is not in or leading) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (NKJ throughout unless otherwise noted)
That should make clear, many Biblical truths are spiritually revealed (John 16:13) and the Holy Spirit is only given on conditions of obedience, (striving to keep the Commandments—Acts 5:32) true repentance & baptism, as Peter preached, (Acts 2:38) then comes the ceremony of the laying on of hands to actually receive the Holy Spirit. (V.39) This only begins the process to conversion, working toward salvation and is not a state of already being born again. The internalizing or impregnation of the Holy Spirit is the stage of being begotten, but not yet born again. (This is where mistranslations come in) Peter was also inspired to write this; 1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (We were first begotten by our physical fathers and then born in the flesh. We are begotten again by God spiritually by receiving the Holy Spirit. So no one here on earth and in the flesh has received this spiritual birth yet, as we are about to see.) V.5 who are kept by the power of God (Where? Again, here on earth and still in the flesh, not yet born again. So they are kept) through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Christ Himself made reference to this very same thing in this statement; Luke 14:14 “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just." This makes very clear that the “just” (who live by faith-Rom.1:17) receive their complete spirituality by birth into the spirit realm at the resurrection. They are not now “born again” in the flesh, being only begotten and still waiting for that change at the return of Christ. Note this very clear passage when properly translated; 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” (From the ASV)
HWA, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, was inspired to see this comparison during his studies of the word of God. He produced several writings dealing with this subject and one of those was a booklet titled; “Just what do you mean—BORN AGAIN?” Here now is the understanding that he was brought to on this subject, being quoted from my own personal booklet and page 34; (with his emphasis highlighted and my added words in parenthesis)
“Being born again refers to the time—the future state—when we shall be spirit, no longer flesh and blood—born actually by the resurrection. But in certain passages, the Greek (word) gennao is used, in referring to the present state of those who have received the spiritual life-begetting, impregnating Holy Spirit. They are, upon receiving His Holy Spirit, children of God, in the same sense that the (human) embryo-fetus is the unborn child of its human parents.”
Let us understand; that last sentence should be understood by all who are truly converted to be in a begotten state, as any embryo-fetus still are—in pregnancy, an UNBORN status! I recommend you find the booklet (do an internet search) and read it in its entirety. (You may also find the article on this website, “EMBRYONIC KINGDOM” interesting, as it relates to the members of the true COG, even going back to the beginning purpose for the creation of man—all yet unborn spiritually.)
What HWA stated above is confirmed by Scripture and Christ’s own words; John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jesus Christ himself was the only begotten son of God, as He himself was flesh and blood when he walked this earth, so His own statement applied to Him as well. (No one has an immortal soul at this time—but that is another subject not covered in this article.) Christ was not composed of spirit while in the flesh, as He bled and died (See “Can God Die” article for more on this subject) even though He had the Holy Spirit from birth, as John the Baptist did. Christ set the example of baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, symbolically by the dove—(Matt.3:16)—but was not considered to have been born again at that time, nor has anyone else been after going through this same procedure. This would in nowise apply to any other human being if it did not then apply to Christ, who was previously God. Scripture is very clear that Christ was firstborn from the dead, by resurrection. (Col.1:15-18)
Peter tells us we are begotten and not yet born, as seen above. Paul, in Rom 1:4 says He (Christ) was; “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Why? Simply because Christ was still in the “begotten” stage of being the Son of God until He was crucified and then resurrected; born into the spirit realm. This is another proof that those in the flesh are not yet born again, following the pattern set by Christ! Some totally ignore these clear Scriptures and teach the heresy of being born again now in the flesh, to their shame. But let us notice one passage in the NKJ (Noted above from the ASV) that shows how the same word has been manipulated in the KJV & NKJV of Scriptures; translated three different ways in this one passage. 1 John 5:1 “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.” (Since one cannot be “Born” until he/she has been begotten, the word born should be translated “begotten” and is seen as such throughout the context of the Chapter. John is speaking of those who have been begotten of God but not yet in a born of spirit state while in the flesh, as other more proper translations show.)
Note these passages in conclusion;
Remembering what was recorded in John 1:18 “The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him”. Paul clearly uses the term of new converts being begotten, not yet born again; 1Cor.4:15 “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel”. Again he writes this in Philem.V.10 “I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains”, and Paul is speaking in the symbolism of these being begotten as of one being converted by receiving the Holy Spirit after baptism. They are still in the flesh.
However the real clincher for us should be the fact that Christ is our example and at the crucifixion, He was still considered the BEGOTTEN Son of God and was not “born again” until resurrected from the dead, as the Scriptures clearly reveal. John 3:16 is a famous verse that says; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Christ is the only human being at this time that has experienced being born again from the human realm, and that was through resurrection from the dead! A true child of God in the flesh is still flesh, begotten of God but not yet “Born again” until the resurrection at the return of Christ. That is when one is truly BORN AGAIN, just as Christ was! It is upon the evidence of Scripture that I say to you now; beware of those who twist the Scriptures to teach the heresy of being already born again, while still in the flesh! Some of those individuals who may have become swayed by a wrong influence, still claiming to be a part of the true COG, need to take another look at the Scriptures and REPENT of this false teaching and deception, if they really want to be born again at the first resurrection, placed into the Spiritual kingdom of God as first fruits.
(Editor for TCOGMSO)