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How can you know if you have been "born again"?
If you believe that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh through the Virgin Birth, and you believe in his finished work on the Cross, bodily resurrection, and ascension back to his home in glory, and you are trusting in him as your personal Savior, REJOICE! This is Biblical proof that you are a born again child of God!
1 Jn 5:1 states that anyone who is now believing (present tense active voice) has already been born (Greek Perfect Tense - PERMANENTLY BORN - CANNOT BE "UNBORN AGAIN") out from the source of God.
Books and tracts have been written on "How to be Born Again". I studied and studied God's Word, but I have not found one single word in the Scriptures that state that man plays any part in becoming "born again". There is also no "command" in Scripture to be born again, because man doesnít have anything to do with it. The teachings that man is born again "because" and "when" he "believes" seem to be completely man made.
My concern is "what does the Bible say" and not what someone says about the Bible. The "New Birth" in the New Testament is a sovereign and instantaneous act of Almighty God, just like the germination of a seed, giving life where there was no life.
At the time of God's choosing, a person is translated from the kingdom of Satan into the Kingdom of God (Col 1:13), by this instantaneous sovereign act of God. This instantaneous act of God is called three things in the New Testament, the "new birth", "regeneration", and "quickening", where you see these three words, they are speaking of that instant in time when a person becomes a spiritually alive child of God.
What the Scripture teaches about the "New Birth":
1 Jn 5:1 Anyone who is now believing (present active) has already been born (Perfect passive indicative) of God. This verse alone states emphatically that being born of God PRECEDES believing.
Jn 1:12 & 13 Those who are "presently believing" were born "not of blood (genealogy), nor of the will of the flesh (not of our will), nor of the will of man (man has nothing to do with it), but of (Greek "ek" out from the source of) God".
Jn 5:21 Jesus quickens (gives life where there was no life) whom HE will. He initiates the new birth from HIS WILL.
Jas 1:18 "Of HIS OWN WILL begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures".
Jesus gave us two illustrations concerning the translation of a person from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God. In John chap 3, in His discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus said that it is like a "New Birth", and it is like "the wind".
The first illustration Jesus chose. It is like a New Birth:
John 3:1-6. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 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.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born (Greek Perfect Tense - PERMANENTLY BORN - CANNOT BE "UNBORN AGAIN") of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
First of all, notice that there is no command to be "born again" here (or any where else in Scripture). Jesus is saying here that a man must be in the "born again" condition before he can "see", or "experience" the kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is all around men, but they cannot "see" it until after they are born again.
This tells me that Nicodemus was already born again before he came to Jesus, because Jesus speaks to him about one of the most profound SPIRITUAL truths in the Scriptures! Notice in John 8:41-47 Jesus told the unbelieving Pharisees that they could not hear him because they were children of Satan. Jesus said "He that is of (out from the source of, or "born again") God can hear Godís words, he that not of God cannot hear Godís words." Nicodemus is the only Pharisee, that we have Biblical record of, that Jesus spoke to about spiritual truths.
When is a human being born as a human baby? Whenever God chooses.
What does a man have to do with his physical birth? Nothing.
A man is physically born, immediately knows nothing about what has happened, and spends the rest of his whole life trying to figure out what life means.
The Scriptures teach that the new birth is exactly the same.
The second illustration Jesus chose, is that when a person is translated into the kingdom of God, it is like the wind:
John 3:7 & 8 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must (Present tense) be born (Aorist, Passive, Infinitive) again.
(Note: The Greek Aorist tense indicates a POINT in time, and the Passive voice indicates that we receive the action, not cause the action, and the Infinitive instead of the imperative means it is not a command, but is stating the condition of having been born again.)
8 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 (Greek Perfect Tense - PERMANENTLY BORN - CANNOT BE "UNBORN AGAIN") of the Spirit.
When does the wind blow? Whenever God chooses.
Where does it blow? Wherever God chooses.
How can we know that it has blown? We can see the results. (the tree leaves moving etc)
The Scriptures teach that the new birth is exactly the same Jesus made it clear in the book of John that the new birth is a sovereign decision and act of God the Father:
Jn 6:37 & 39 All the Father hath given me will come to me, and the Fathers will is that none of the ones He "has given" (Greek perfect active indicative) Jesus will be lost.
Jn 6:65 No man can come to me except the ability be given him from my Father.
Jn 17:2, Jesus has power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as the Father "has given" (Greek perfect active indicative - has ALREADY PERMANENTLY GIVEN) Him. (God is not trying to save everyone, like it or not, that teaching has been made up by man)
Jn 15:16 Jesus told his disciples "I have chosen you, you have not chosen me".
Jn 17:9 Jesus not praying for the world, but for those that the Father "has given" (Greek perfect active indicative - again ALREADY PERMANENTLY GIVEN) Him.
THE CONDITION OF THE NATURAL MAN BEFORE THE NEW BIRTH:
Rom 3:9-19 The natural man is described, none righteous, none that understand, none that seek God, and all guilty before God.
Jn 8:41-47 Jesus told the unbelieving Pharisees that they could not hear him because they were children of Satan. Jesus said "He that is of (out from the source of) God can hear Godís words, he that not of God cannot hear Godís words."
Eph 2:1-3 States that prior to the new birth, the natural man is motivated by the "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience".
In 1 Cor 1:18 and 2:14 the gospel is said to be foolishness to the natural man. The natural man cannot receive anything from the Spirit of God. That is our condition before the new birth.
THREE SYNONYMS FOR THE "NEW BIRTH"
New Birth = Gennao = Procreate, give birth. Primarily human, but in John 1:13, John 3:3-8, 1 Cor 4:15, 1 John 2:29, 3:9, 4:7, & 5:1, 4, & 18, our new birth.
Regeneration = Palingenesia = Regenerate, recreate, restoration of a thing to its pristine state. Titus 3:5, for the new birth restoring us to the state of Adam before the fall.
Quicken = Zoopoieo = Make alive, give life where there was no life, like the germination of a seed.. Always "quicken" in the KJV except "made alive" in 1 Cor 15:22, and "given life" in 2 Cor 3:6 & Gal 3:21. Jn 5:21 JESUS "QUICKENS" (gives life where there was no life) WHOM HE WILL.
THE NEW BIRTH IS A MIRACLE FROM GOD:
When we find that our self or another person suddenly becomes able to believe that Jesus is God come in the flesh, and able to trust Him and His atoning work on the Cross, that means that the miracle of the new birth has been worked in that personís life.
We even find this principle in the Old Testament, in Psa 65:4, "Blessed is the man whom thou CHOOSEST and CAUSEST to approach unto thee".
What about people who are not born again? They donít want to be born again, they donít want to be saved, the gospel is foolishness to them. (1 Cor 1:18 & 2:14, and Rom 3:9-19). Pray for them when you are burdened to by the Holy Spirit. Witness to them, because when we give out the Gospel, God ALWAYS CAUSES US TO TRIUMPH, because to one person the Gospel condemns, to another the Gospel gives knowledge of salvation. The result is always up to Almighty God, and a "sweet savor" to Him:
2 Cor 2:14 Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To the one [we are] the savour of death unto death (those who are condemned by the gospel); and to the other the savour of life unto life (those to whom the gospel is the "good news" of their salvation). And who [is] sufficient for these things?
17 For we are not as many, which corrupt (water down the Word of God - To cut wine with water in order to sell more wine) the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
A good example of man's misinterpretation of God's Word is John 3:16. Most people's understanding of John 3:16 comes from what they learned in children's Sunday School. An expanded translation of John 3:16 from the Greek states "For God so loved the world (the "world" of those who are presently believing in this context) at a point in time (in eternity past) that he gave his only begotten Son, in order that all those who are presently believing will not even begin to perish, but will keep on having everlasting life". John 3:16 is a PROMISE to those who are PRESENTLY BELIEVING. It is crystal clear from the words of Jesus in John 17:2 & 9 that the love of God is directed to the ones the Father has already given Jesus, not toward every human being.
We don't know who God has chosen for salvation, and we trust Almighty God with this decision, so we take every opportunity to witness, in Word and in deed, and when we find someone who can hear the gospel (good news), we have found someone to whom God has already given the New Birth.
What about our children, and loved ones, who are not "presently believing"? We must trust them to our loving Heavenly Father. Would you rather trust the eternal destiny of your children and loved ones to their own "decision" to trust Christ, or would you rather trust God, who knows everything about every person, with that decision?
It is AFTER the "new birth" that we can, and must, trust Jesus as our Savior, and continually grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When the Philippian Jailor, in Acts 16:31, asked "Sirs, what must I do to be "saved"? He was told "Believe (trust in and rely on) on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved". When "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" becomes "Good News" to a person, that is Biblical proof that they have already been "Born Again", because this "Good News" is foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor 1:18 & 2:14, and Rom 3:9-19). See BibleFood.com Page 3 to read about all the wonderful benefits of our "salvation package", the things that are done for us, and the things that become available for each of God's children, at the point of the New Birth and for the rest of their life, as we Trust in and Rely on the Lord Jesus Christ.
May the Lord richly bless you and your walk with Him.