By Glenn Dunehew
Published December 22, 2007
Often, as I have talked with people about the Bible, I have been asked the question: “Are you one of those ‘Born Again’ Christians or just a regular Christian?”
This question reveals that many people do not understand what the Bible has to say about being born again. In order to give this question a fair hearing, however, we will have to look at the Bible and see what God has to say about the condition of man. Then we will be able to see what the phrase “Born Again” really means.
What is man really like?
What kind of words would you use to describe the average person? Most people would say, “Man is basically good.” Or that he is a mixture of good and bad: “Even some of the worst people do some good things and some of the best do wrong.” Different words that might be used to describe man’s nature would be: kind, giving, destructive, unfaithful, greedy, loving, selfish.1
However, the Bible states in Romans 3:10-12: “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”
The average person is not “basically good” according to the Bible. Nor is he basically loving, kind, giving or righteous. In our natural selves, we are the opposite of everything that is good: proud, greedy unfaithful and selfish.
Any attempt to discredit the notion of an innate evil that lurks within man by saying that all behavior is learned can be cast aside by performing the following experiment. Place a two-year-old in a room full of toys with some other children. If you watch their behavior, you will notice that every toy becomes “their toy” instantly. Why is this? It is their nature. Their parents never spent time teaching them to be selfish, did they? No, parents spend their time training their children to respect others, not to be selfish and to be kind, giving and loving.
In our natural selves, we can only fight the nature that is within us. As adults, we know that if we allowed every feeling to come out, we would offend many people. That is why people are concerned with how others see them.
Another experiment you could perform would be to take a pig and clean him up on the outside. Put a gold chain around his neck, dress him in a sport shirt, dab him with cologne and call him Arnold. But what is Arnold going to do when he comes to a mud puddle? Why do you think he will jump in? It is because of his nature! It is the same way with people. No matter how much you change on the outside, your inner nature is still sinful. Unless you are changed from the inside you will eventually come back to sin, just like a pig comes back to wallowing in the mud. This is true of me, you, and everybody!
This paints man in a negative light, but even worse when you compare man to a God who is good, just and holy. Even if you have just a small amount of sin in comparison to others, it is huge in comparison to God. God is who you will be with in heaven. God cannot and will not allow sin to come near Him. Our sin separates us from God, and our sinful nature only makes the gap larger.
But when we turn away form sin and give our lives over to Jesus Christ, He gives us a new spirit and a new nature, one that is not compelled toward sin. Where it was once natural to do evil, now it is natural to do good and follow God. And the things you did before now seem unnatural. This is what is meant by “Born Again.” God gives us a brand new spirit so that we can follow Him and have fellowship with Him.
Do I have to be “Born Again” to be a Christian?
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He also said, “I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, He cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:3,5,6). The Spirit he is speaking of is the Holy Spirit. The conviction power of the Holy Spirit is what causes you to realize your separation from God and draw towards Him. In doing so, you can be born again, not by the flesh, but by the Spirit of God.
To be born again requires that you acknowledge your sins before God, confess them and begin to walk in a new direction. You are doing this when you make Jesus the Lord of your life. By making Jesus Lord, you are allowing the Holy Spirit to remake your spirit, put your sinful nature to death and transform your life. This can only happen when you are willing to give up ALL sin. When even a little of your sin nature is left alive, the new life cannot come.
Many people fail to come to God because they want to make Jesus Savior of their life without making Him Lord. He cannot change them because they want to remain in sin.
Many people go to church and try to be good all their lives, but have never been born again. Unless they repent of their sin loving nature and allow God to change them from the inside out, they will never make it to heaven or have a real relationship with God. Going to church and saying prayers are good and commendable, but they do not change who you are.
God wants to change you into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. In order for this change to take place, you must be born again.
1. “Are You Going to Heaven? Two Question Test Reveals Answer”, Francis Anfuso: Glad Tidings School of Evangelism, (Christian Equippers, International, 1981) p.6.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Apologetics
Your comments are welcome!
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)