What does it mean to be ‘born again’?
Ask that question to anyone who claims to be a Christian, and you’ll get some interesting answers. But more than anything you’ll get blank looks and averted eyes.
By very definition, a Christian MUST be born again. A Christian who is not born again is, by definition, not Christian.
To resolve this dilemma of their flock generally not being born again (which, were it not resolved, would mean forfeiting a tidy sum of money), mainstream “Christian” organizations have devised their own answers and mechanisms around what it means to be born again. In other words, they’ve redefined it.
Roman Catholicism claims that you’re born again at baptism, an event which usually occurs when you’re three weeks old. Evangelicalism claims that you can become born again at a mass altar-call, when you’re ‘slain by the holy spirit’ after voluntarily coming forward to receive said spirit. Other denominations claim that you just have to ‘pray’ the ‘sinner’s prayer’ and then, like magic, you’re born again (even if you don’t really feel born again).
Given the lack of authenticity of these ‘rebirths’, it’s no wonder that mainstream Christianity is in the state it’s in. Mainstream Christianity comes across as fake because it is fake.
To be spiritually reborn means to have God’s spirit come and live with you, not just sometimes (as with the Old Testament prophets) but all the time (as with Jesus). God’s spirit replaces the worldly (demonic) spirits in you. Those spirits are driven out and God’s spirit comes in. No other spirit can share a place in your soul with God’s spirit.
You either have God’s spirit, or you don’t.
You’re either born again, or you’re not.
There’s no middle ground here. There’s no “I think I am” or “We say you are, so you are.”
If you’re born again, you know it. There’s no faking it. There’s no thinking “maybe I am, maybe I’m not”.
Your life changes dramatically for the better.
When you’re born again, you increasingly see as God sees, and you experience ongoing joy that grows and grows and grows and grows the closer your will aligns with God’s. You align your will with God’s by choosing what you know is God’s will (i.e., doing the right thing). You do the aligning, not God. God’s job is to guide you into doing the right thing, not force you into doing it.
You can also choose not to align your will with God’s, but this would not be wise. Do this enough, and you’ll lose grace. Jesus tells us about a room that is swept clean of demons, only later to be filled with more and worse spirits. This can happen to any born-again. Be warned. Being born again is spiritual rebirth, spiritual rebirth is grace, and grace can be lost.
Being born-again is an exorcism and the true starting point of your journey to heaven. But because those who are born again are yet in the world, they are still ‘burning off’ what doesn’t belong in heaven and can’t be taken there. Being born again doesn’t mean you’re automatically perfect like God or that you’ll never again sin; it means you’re striving for perfection and that you’re less likely to sin than someone who is not born again.
As long as you have free will, you can sin. Being born again doesn’t take away your free will. You’ll have free will as long as you’re in a mortal body, so as long as you’re in your mortal body, you’ll have the capacity to sin.
This doesn’t make you a ‘sinner’. It makes you a saint with the capacity to sin. Big difference there. Jesus had the capacity to sin, but nobody in his or her right mind would call Jesus a sinner. When you’re born again, you become like Jesus. Anyone who calls born-agains ‘sinners’ does not know what he/she is talking about and is actually blaspheming the holy ghost (which is not, according to Jesus, a recommended course of action).
Born-agains are saints, not sinners.
When you’re born again, your values reflect God’s values. This doesn’t happen by learning; it happens automatically with no effort on your part. For me (being born again from atheism), my values changed instantaneously, 180 degrees, 100%. No-one preached to me; my values simply changed.
I used to think as the Western world thinks and value what the Western world values (pro-homosexual rights, pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, etc.) because I had the world’s spirits (demons) in me. Suddenly, after God exorcised me and his spirit entered me, I rejected everything I used to hold as self-evident or “enlightened” or “modern”. These changes came as part of the package deal of being born again. They took no effort on my part and have remained ‘who I am’ since the day I was reborn.
When you’re born-again, your sins are wiped clean away. Your soul is a ‘clean slate’. Jesus died so that you can be born-again, so that God’s spirit can take its rightful place in your soul. You have been reunited with God. The kingdom has come. God’s spirit is with you night and day, helping you do the right thing (i.e., make the right choices) so that you can make it to heaven. Being born again doesn’t mean you’re automatically getting into heaven. Being born again is a prerequisite for getting to heaven, not a ticket there.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
There are lots of liars who call themselves Christians. Some of them lie on purpose (wolves in sheep’s clothing) and some of them lie because they’re genuinely clueless about the kingdom (blind leading the blind). Paul says to test the spirits; don’t believe everything you’re told; test what they say against scripture and against what God’s spirit teaches you, one on one.
Don’t be fooled.
You are to follow only Jesus, not people. You are to be dependent only on God, not people. You are to look only to God for help and healing and comfort, not people.
Be like Jesus. That’s what it means to be born again.