Church of God, New World Ministries

Was Jesus Christ “Born Again”?

In February 1977, in the old Plain Truth magazine, appeared an article captioned “Just What Do You Mean Born Again?” It warned: “Don’t be too sure you know”

Many religious people talk about being “born again,” who don’t really realize what Christ meant by those words.

But how many realize that Jesus Christ, Himself, was born again and in the same manner in which He said we “must be born again”? Does that seem incredible?

Just what did Christ mean, when He said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”? The universally accepted idea of fundamentalist Christians is that being “born again” means the experience of having one’s sins forgiven. They call it a “born-again experience.” By it they mean a sinner being converted experiencing salvation from sin.

Many fundamentalists will say: “I am a sinner born again, and saved by grace,” and similar expressions. Have these people really been born again or have they only been deceived? Have they had the same “born-again experience” Christ had?

But wait a minute! Surely that last sentence can’t mean what it said?

Was Jesus Christ actually born again? And in the same manner that He taught that we must be born again” Incredible? Unbelievable? Was Jesus Christ a sinner, did He need salvation from sin? No! Of course not! Yet Jesus Christ was born again -just as he taught that we must be born again!

We will now show you one scripture and there will be more later in this article but most readers who claim to have been “born again” will not believe it, though it is the very word of God.

Here it is:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:28-29).

Jesus Christ is the firstborn of many brethren. Jesus Christ was born again, and the first of many brethren to be born again! Yet that very scripture will not be believed by many who claim to have already had a “born-again experience.”

We will give you even plainer scriptures that say Jesus Christ was the first to be born again, in the same manner that He taught that we must be born again. Yet many who read these words will not believe these scriptures.

Do you know why? Let’s take time to understand!

Just what does take place in the mind of the average person when confronted with a Scripture statement contrary to his own belief?

The average mind reacts in this manner: Whatever he has been taught, or has heard or read, and is the accepted belief of his church, he has assumed it to be true. It has become rooted in his mind as if it were true fact. It has become fixed lodged hard and fast in his mind. Millions have the firmly rooted belief that to be “born again” means the experience of a sinner being converted and put under grace.

Every scripture that has anything to do with being “born again” is viewed from this concept. It what he already believes, not what God says is the fixed concept by which he approaches anything on this subject. His own conviction, erroneous thought it may be, it is starting point for considering any scripture on the subject his approach the very basis by which he seeks to understand or explain this scripture

It never will even occur to him that his belief his definition of what “born again” means could be wrong. He has firmly assumed that conception to be fact, his mind, therefore, will seek to understand this scripture according to his erroneous belief but never to question or harmonize his belief according to the scripture.

If he is unable to square the scripture with his own belief, then he does one of two things. Either he tries to interpret the scripture according to his idea of being born again, or his mind becomes confused, and he simply runs away from it changes the subject - dismisses this scripture from his mind.

In other words, the average person who says he has already been “born again” is spiritually blinded to seeing the truth on this point. Perhaps it is impossible for him to even see the truth. He has accepted one of the fables to which God said, through Paul, the world would be turned.

The world is, spiritually, drunk on false teachings. A physically drunk man cannot see material things clearly and distinctly. They become blurred out of focus. A spiritually drunk person cannot see God’s Word clearly and distinctly. The above explains the reason. He tries to see God’s Word through the eyeglasses of these false teachings he has absorbed.

It simply cannot seem to occur to his mind that what he has so carelessly accepted could be wrong.

Tell such a person that being “born again,” as Christ taught we should be, does not mean that experience that takes place when a sinner has his sins forgiven, is converted and put under grace, and he will say: “You can’t tell me that! I Know! I’ve had the experience, brother!” He may have had an “experience”- but it was a different experience than what Christ meant by being born again!

What’s wrong? Not only are millions spiritually blinded by the false doctrines that came out of spiritual Babylon, but almost no one, it seems, realizes just what the Bible is.

It is God’s message which He sent for mankind. It is revealed knowledge, inspired by God - basic knowledge man needs, but cannot otherwise acquire. It is the foundation of all true knowledge. (Send for our FREE DVD “Is the Bible Worth Reading?”)

And what is the purpose of the Bible? You’ll find it in II Timothy 3:16. Its purpose is to correct us where we are wrong. To reprove us. To reveal to us true doctrine, and correct us when we have accepted false doctrine. Its purpose is to instruct us in truth, in righteousness. To change our minds!

This, right here, is going to be a crucial test for many who will be reading this article. Ask yourself: Are you willing to be corrected by God’s Word on points where you have been deceived? Remember, the whole world has been deceived! God says so! Read it in Revelation 12:9 and 20:3. A deceived person is one who really and sincerely believes he is right. Ask yourself, could you be one of them?

Yes, you may be wholly sincere and honest in your conviction, and still have been deceived, and therefor wrong! And if you now reject this knowledge from God’s Word, God will reject you! (God says in Hosea 4:6:” My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of God, I will also forget thy children.”)

Are you able to let God’s Word correct you when you have accepted and believed something contrary to the truth? Can you admit that it just might be that you and millions of others may not have been told the whole truth about being born again?

Notice again, carefully, Romans 8:29. It is speaking of Christ, the Son of God. It says, plainly, that Jesus Christ was “the firstborn of many brethren.”

This shows that many brethren were to born -but that Christ was the first of these brethren the first to be so born. Born from flesh to spirit!

Who are the “brethren”? In Romans 8:12, Paul shows his epistle, which we call the book of Romans, was addressed to the “brethren.” He says: “Therefore, brethren.” Now to whom is this epistle addressed? Notice Romans 1:7 to those “beloved of God called to be saints.” Paul addresses his letter to the Corinthians thus: “Unto the church of God to them that are sanctified in Jesus Christ, called to be saints” (I.Cor. 1:2). And in verse 10, “now I beseech you, brethren.” The brethren are those who have been converted - under grace, who are saints.

Romans 8:29 says Jesus was born first, before any of these brethren.

Now when was He so born? Is this speaking of His human birth. His first birth of the virgin Mary? Well mark this fact, and mark it well! Jesus was born 33 years before the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2)- -before the Church began, before these brethren came under grace. Were any people 34 years old converted, baptized, and put under grace that day any 35, or 40, or 50? If there was a single one older than 33 , then, according to the born-again belief, he was born (as a human) before Jesus. In that case Jesus could not have been the first of these brethren to be born. Do you see that?

This is not speaking of Jesus’ first and human birth at Bethlehem. It is speaking of His being born again- after He was born of the virgin Mary because many brethren were born (of human birth) before Jesus.

Next consider since this scripture Romans 8:29 cannot refer to Jesus first and human birth at Bethlehem, it must, of necessity, refer to a second birth to be born again.

Now when was Jesus born again after His human birth of the virgin Mary? Did Jesus Christ have the same “born-again experience” millions of people profess to have had? Was Jesus Christ a sinner? Did He need, or even receive, forgiveness of sin? Did he need salvation from sin? I’m sure every person who professes this “born-again experience” will agree the answer is no! A thousand times no!

When the scripture says that Jesus was “the firstborn of many brethren,” we have to agree that his birth was not the conversion of a sinner, being put under grace. It was not the same kind of being born again that has been erroneously taught and so widely accepted!

Yet, since He was the firstborn of many brethren, these many brethren are to be born as He was the same kind of new birth!

By process of elimination we have now proved:

  1. This birth of Jesus Christ in Romans 8:29 was not His first or human birth of the virgin Mary. Therefore, it had to be a later birth a born again experience.
  2. It was not the kind of “born-again experience” so commonly professed- not receiving salvation from sin. Yet He was born again!
  3. Therefore, it leaves only one possibility. It was His spiritual birth, when he was born of God, by His resurrection from the dead!

When He was born at Bethlehem, as a human, He was born as the Son of man. Continually, through His ministry, He called Himself the “Son of man.” But He was born again born of God by His resurrection, as you read in Romans 1:3-4: “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh (His human birth of Mary making Him the Son of man); and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

This scripture speaks of the two births of Jesus Christ. The one of the virgin Mary, a descendant of David, by which He became the Son of man. Then later, He was born again, this time as the Son of God, by His resurrection from the dead!

Before leaving this scripture in Romans 8:29, let’s notice the theme of the whole chapter let’s be sure we understand it in context.

What is the theme of this chapter? It is generally called “the Holy Spirit chapter.” But it is showing how God, by the Holy Spirit, changes us from carnal and sinning humans into, ultimately, sons of God, by the resurrection from the dead. Serving the flesh, we cannot please God (v. 8), but (v. 9) we are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in us.

But (v. 11) if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, even as God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, we also shall be resurrected by His Spirit that dwells in us. Read it in your Bible. Even as Christ was born again, born of God, by His resurrection, even so we the brethren shall be born again as sons of God, through the resurrection of the dead, by His Spirit that dwells in us!

We, if God’s Spirit is in us, are children of God, and heirs. Not yet inheritors, but heirs to inherit, when we are born of God by the resurrection, even the glory which Christ now has. We shall be glorified together (v. 17). The whole creation groans, waiting for the actual manifestation of the sons of God, when we shall be resurrected to glory (vs. 18-19). We are waiting for the redemption of our body, by the resurrection (v. 23).

Yes, by the resurrection we are to be conformed to the image (spiritual image) of God’s Son Christ, who was the first so born, by the resurrection, of many brethren (v. 29). “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again” (v. 34).

Now notice other scriptures.

Speaking of Christ, “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Col. 1:15).

Now notice a plain statement that it is speaking of Christ being the firstborn from the dead, by the resurrection:

“And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have preeminence” (Col. 1:18).

There it is! Read it with your own eyes in your own Bible. Christ is Head of the Church, the first of the brethren in the Church to be born from the dead.

When we are converted, our sins forgiven and we receive the Holy Spirit, we are then begotten of God not yet born of God. If this has taken place if we have been converted, begotten we are, truly, already sons of God (I John 3:2), but what we shall be, when born of God, does not yet appear for then we shall be like Him like Christ in His resurrected glorified body!

Now turn to the “resurrection chapter” I Corinthians 15:

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (v. 19). That is, if merely being converted in this life being forgiven-placed under grace is all the hope we have if that is all there is to it, if there is not to be the resurrection to the life to come, then we are of all men most miserable. If “being born again” takes place in this life, then we have no hope for the eternal life to come?

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (v. 20). That is Christ has been born again born to a second life eternal life, becoming the first of many brethren to be so born. He is the first of these who have died to be resurrected that is, born to a new and future life.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming (v. 22-23). Christ was the first to be born again born from the dead. Afterward - at His coming they that are Christ’s the many brethren shall be born again from the dead, just as Christ was.

These scriptures are plain. They make plain the fact and the truth that being “born again” is being literally born of God, immortal, by the resurrection and at the resurrection.

That does not in any way nullify the experience of conversion in this life. It simply means that millions have been deceived into calling that experience by the wrong name. It is a begettal, not a birth. Each of us was begotten in our mother’s womb before he or she was later, born.

Now notice Acts 26:23: “That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead.” There it is again. Christ the firstfruits Christ the firstborn of many brethren the first to be born by the resurrection from the dead! These are plain statements of Scripture plain statements from God. They do not say and we do not say that Christ was a sinner who needed salvation.

What these plain statements from God’s Holy Word do say, is that being born again is not that experience of conversion from sin in this life it is not anything any human has experienced in this life it is a new birth to a new life by a resurrection. However, it is also true that no one will be born again -born of God to the new immortal life unless he repents of sin, believes on Christ and accepts Him as personal Savior, receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, and then is led by the Spirit of God. But this experience is not a “born again” experience it is a begettal!

Are you now willing to believe God’s truth? It is so infinitely more precious and glorious than Satan’s counterfeits with which he has deceived the world.

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