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Thread: What is the New Birth?

  1. #46
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier_of_Faith View Post
    Yes, however I am using the terminology of "die to self" in reference to Romans 6, in that we deny ourselves TO SIN at all... Yet we can not do it without the Work of the Holy Spirit within us. (And through the process of Love).

    Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
    Romans 6 doesn't have any such reference. The death there was performed by God when we believed.

    Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

    There is no die to self concept in the Bible. What you are referring to is believing the gospel, believing that which is already true. The old has passed and you are a new creature. This is walking in the Spirit.



    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier_of_Faith View Post
    However, having believed on Him at a young age, I was still on the negative side of this: Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? So even though I sinned, Grace DID ABOUND... But I grieved the Holy Spirit in the Process.

    Now I live in a BORN AGAIN state, much more aware of my ability to SIN NOT, and more apt to Repent immediately when I do sin.
    Romans 7. Most if not all believers experience this. I continued to struggle with sin.....well let me back up.....I was not 'raised in church'. We went on a regular basis (United Methodist) until I was about 5 and after that it was for Easter and Christmas until I was 10. I was saved on the side of the road at 2AM, alone, in my vehicle, having a nervous breakdown at 22. I asked Jesus if he was real because I could not go on any longer, and the Spirit brought to mind "Jesus loves me this I know....." from Sunday school when I was very young. I believed and everyone who knew me saw an immediate change. After that I did not step through the doors of a church for over a year, but I did roll out of bed every morning for praise, worship, and bible. Then began going to church.

    For 15 years, despite a lot of sin being eradicated via my second birth, I continued to struggle with what we call stronghold sins for 15 years. I did all the right things, or so I thought, but no amount of religious activity gave me victory over these sins. Something was wrong. Free indeed? I knew the problem wasn't God and I believed the Bible to be true so why wasn't I free? I was the Romans 7 man. I wasn't believing the gospel on a daily, no moment to moment walk, basis to overcome these sins. Once I realized the same faith that saved me is the same faith that delivers me it was 'easy'.

    Col 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

    I believed he died for me to give me life when I was saved, and that's all I have to do to overcome sin. Because of what he did I am, not am going to be, a new creature. I do not die to self. Self is the new man. The old self no longer exists because of the work of God. I cannot do anything to help Him in that regard, it is finished. All I have been asked to do is believe/walk in it.

  2. #47

    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier_of_Faith View Post
    I could tell by your posts that you had suffered similarly to myself. It got me to thinking. I had been taught that one can "fall away" and no longer be saved through sinning. I had also been taught though different preachers that the "Once Saved, Always Saved" preaching was not correct. They said that the OSAS teaching was false because of the teaching about "falling away", and because Jesus spoke about blotting names out of the Book of Life. I agree, but I also found that Falling away from Salvation is far more complicated than I was taught.

    It seems to me that Salvation is So simple. Jesus taught that one must be as a Child to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    Yet He also taught that if you hate someone, you are a murderer, and not fit for the Kingdom... 1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Not only that but Adultery is by Lusting, and extrude that to coveting is Stealing, and WOW! Now it seems hard...

    SO then I asked some of these preachers and teacher, "How many times do I need to sin to loose my salvation..." The would beat around the bush, and I would ask again, "At what point did I stop confessing that Jesus was Lord, and Believing God raised Him from the Dead?" I never did... So was I still saved, even though I lived like a heathen? YES.

    However there are consequences for my sins, especially while in Christ Jesus (while a Believer in Him). I just didn't know it. So then I was sinning out of ignorance. Now that I am Born Again, I have the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, and I know the voice of TRUTH (The Holy Spirit). 1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.[/B]

    But now that more was given to me, more is required. Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
    So you were a believer in Christ but not "born again?" Are you saying you were "saved" before you were "born again?"

  3. #48
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    I'm not sure Jesus ever used the word "reincarnation" anywhere in his Gospels. Can you provide a scripture?
    In our studies of John's gospel we discovered John's main theme and emphasis. Consistent with his final statement, his purpose for writing his gospel is so that we might believe in the son of God and in believing we might have eternal life. As it turns out, his gospel is an exploration of what it means to believe, why someone should believe, and under what circumstances one should believe. In chapter 3, Jesus and Nicodemus are having a conversation and Nicodemus opens the dialog with a statement of belief and why he believes what he does.

    John 3:
    1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

    Here we have the most typical reason why someone should believe what another person says. Nicodemus and his companions have been watching Jesus, observing his ministry and they have noted the miracles of Jesus. Nicodemus has drawn his conclusion from observation; he has seen the miracles of Jesus and he knows from the scriptures that Jesus comes from God, because no one can do these signs unless he does come from God.

    In other words, Nicodemus has become a believer. He finds the signs and miracles compelling. And so Nicodemus opens the dialog with his confession that Jesus is a teacher sent from God, to which Jesus responds,

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born [anothen] he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    I have left the Greek word untranslated for the moment so as to gain the full impact of the dialog. The Greek word "anothen" has a double meaning: 1) again, or 2) from above. This word play is lost in most translations, but we can see it again five other times in John's gospel. (1) Jesus means "born from above", but Nicodemus mistakenly hears "born again". Both meanings are possible, which is why Nicodemus continues the conversation by asking,

    Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

    Since the word has a double meaning, it is understandable that Nicodemus might be confused at first. What Jesus seemed to say sounded absurd to Nicodemus because he thought Jesus was suggesting that a man must be physically born "again", which is preposterous on the face of it, but outside of a Jewish context, the idea of being physically born again has been proposed by the Greeks, who believed in reincarnation.

    The Greeks believed that a human being is a rational animal and as such, all human beings should strive to reach and attain the highest levels of rationality. Some Greeks proposed that if a man did not reach the pinnacle of rationality in one life time, the man would be born again to live another life and try again. Only those who attained to that highest form of rationality would advance to the afterlife.

    But Jesus wasn't telling Nicodemus that he needed to be "born again" or "reborn"; his point was to make a connection between the spiritual disposition of Nicodemus and his ability to recognize and acknowledge the evidential value of the signs, which are compelling to those who are "born from above."


    ______________________________
    (1) One place is found a little later in chapter 3.

    3:31 “He who comes from above [anothen] is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

    In that passage, the meaning is clearly "from above" and the emphasis is on heaven and heavenly things as compared to earthly things.

    (2) I'm sorry I haven't been available to participate much, but I am working on a very large project.

  4. #49
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    So you were a believer in Christ but not "born again?" Are you saying you were "saved" before you were "born again?"
    What I am trying to say is that being Born again includes a work of the Holy Spirit which I had not truly known for many many years after truly coming to know Christ. I know that I was saved because I followed Romans 10:9-10, and I began seeing great works in my life. But there came a day when something awoke in me, which I could certainly point to, (Many years after I was saved) and it literally made me a different person. I believe THAT point in my life was when I was BORN AGAIN, because being born again is all about becoming a NEW CREATURE in Christ. Now, I did change a little bit when I accepted Jesus when I was 12, but I was a very immature Christian. I stayed immature for many years, wanting to stay in the Worldly Lusts, and not understanding the Power of the Holy Spirit within me.

    When Apostles came to a new group of "BELIEVERS", they would pray over the Believer with laying on of hands and God would "fall upon them" through the Holy Spirit. Once they "were filled" with the Spirit, they became New people, full of Power and Grace.

    Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

    So were they born again before they received the Spirit of Truth, or After?

    I can speak for myself. I feel born again now, but I felt powerless before. I knew He was with me and heard me, but I felt like He could do very little because I was living in unrighteousness. SO my Faith was hindered. Now I feel like I will get whatever I ask in Jesus name, and in the Will of the Father (because I want to do His will.)

  5. #50
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by CadyandZoe View Post
    In our studies of John's gospel we discovered John's main theme and emphasis. Consistent with his final statement, his purpose for writing his gospel is so that we might believe in the son of God and in believing we might have eternal life. As it turns out, his gospel is an exploration of what it means to believe, why someone should believe, and under what circumstances one should believe. In chapter 3, Jesus and Nicodemus are having a conversation and Nicodemus opens the dialog with a statement of belief and why he believes what he does.

    John 3:
    1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

    Here we have the most typical reason why someone should believe what another person says. Nicodemus and his companions have been watching Jesus, observing his ministry and they have noted the miracles of Jesus. Nicodemus has drawn his conclusion from observation; he has seen the miracles of Jesus and he knows from the scriptures that Jesus comes from God, because no one can do these signs unless he does come from God.

    In other words, Nicodemus has become a believer. He finds the signs and miracles compelling. And so Nicodemus opens the dialog with his confession that Jesus is a teacher sent from God, to which Jesus responds,

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born [anothen] he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    I have left the Greek word untranslated for the moment so as to gain the full impact of the dialog. The Greek word "anothen" has a double meaning: 1) again, or 2) from above. This word play is lost in most translations, but we can see it again five other times in John's gospel. (1) Jesus means "born from above", but Nicodemus mistakenly hears "born again". Both meanings are possible, which is why Nicodemus continues the conversation by asking,

    Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

    Since the word has a double meaning, it is understandable that Nicodemus might be confused at first. What Jesus seemed to say sounded absurd to Nicodemus because he thought Jesus was suggesting that a man must be physically born "again", which is preposterous on the face of it, but outside of a Jewish context, the idea of being physically born again has been proposed by the Greeks, who believed in reincarnation.

    The Greeks believed that a human being is a rational animal and as such, all human beings should strive to reach and attain the highest levels of rationality. Some Greeks proposed that if a man did not reach the pinnacle of rationality in one life time, the man would be born again to live another life and try again. Only those who attained to that highest form of rationality would advance to the afterlife.

    But Jesus wasn't telling Nicodemus that he needed to be "born again" or "reborn"; his point was to make a connection between the spiritual disposition of Nicodemus and his ability to recognize and acknowledge the evidential value of the signs, which are compelling to those who are "born from above."


    ______________________________
    (1) One place is found a little later in chapter 3.

    3:31 “He who comes from above [anothen] is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

    In that passage, the meaning is clearly "from above" and the emphasis is on heaven and heavenly things as compared to earthly things.

    (2) I'm sorry I haven't been available to participate much, but I am working on a very large project.
    Your account of the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus is on the mark, but there are a couple of errors.

    1. For a start, your claim that Nicodemus misunderstood Jesus by assuming he meant "born again" when according to you, Jesus actually meant "born from above" cannot be substantiated. Therefore you have zero bases to make this claim. Clearly, you seem to have forgotten that Jesus and Nicodemus discussed in Hebrew/Aramaic. A language both of them would have been comfortable in and, with little or no possibility of any them misunderstanding the nuances. Reading your piece, it almost seems you believed they conversed in Greek? I have no doubt in my mind that Nicodemus understood Jesus clearly, hence his question, how can a man be born again?

    2. Greek Mythology is famous for what is - myths. The concept of reincarnation is not limited to ancient Greeks, because it is wide spread among diverse cultures, from India to Africa, tribes of South America, etc. The reality however, is that it has no place in scripture. I asked if you could provide a scripture that supports reincarnation as a Biblical truth and you couldn't because it is not in the Bible.

    I don't think it is right to project a false doctrine (reincarnation) and blame the translation from Greek to English as the reason the English readers got it all wrong.

  6. #51
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    Your account of the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus is on the mark, but there are a couple of errors.

    1. For a start, your claim that Nicodemus misunderstood Jesus by assuming he meant "born again" when according to you, Jesus actually meant "born from above" cannot be substantiated. Therefore you have zero bases to make this claim. Clearly, you seem to have forgotten that Jesus and Nicodemus discussed in Hebrew/Aramaic. A language both of them would have been comfortable in and, with little or no possibility of any them misunderstanding the nuances. Reading your piece, it almost seems you believed they conversed in Greek? I have no doubt in my mind that Nicodemus understood Jesus clearly, hence his question, how can a man be born again?

    2. Greek Mythology is famous for what is - myths. The concept of reincarnation is not limited to ancient Greeks, because it is wide spread among diverse cultures, from India to Africa, tribes of South America, etc. The reality however, is that it has no place in scripture. I asked if you could provide a scripture that supports reincarnation as a Biblical truth and you couldn't because it is not in the Bible.

    I don't think it is right to project a false doctrine (reincarnation) and blame the translation from Greek to English as the reason the English reader got it all wrong.
    Answer to objection 1. While it might be that Jesus and Nicodemus spoke Aramaic to each other, John is writing his account in Greek. Secondly, without the double meaning of the word, there is no apparent reason why Nicodemus misunderstood what Jesus said.

    Answer to objection 2. The reason why reincarnation is found in India and etc. is due to Alexander the Great and the spread of Greek culture in those regions.

  7. #52
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by CadyandZoe View Post
    Answer to objection 1. While it might be that Jesus and Nicodemus spoke Aramaic to each other, John is writing his account in Greek. Secondly, without the double meaning of the word, there is no apparent reason why Nicodemus misunderstood what Jesus said.

    Answer to objection 2. The reason why reincarnation is found in India and etc. is due to Alexander the Great and the spread of Greek culture in those regions.
    1. Until that very minute, to be born again was not something that has ever been said before, therefore, it was unprecedented. I doubt that there's anyone in Israel (including the disciples) at that time that wouldn't have been confused and asked the same question Nicodemus did?

    Since the word has a double meaning according to you, isn't it also possible that the first meaning which Nicodemus believed, was the correct understanding of what that Jesus meant? The truth as I pointed out earlier, is that you have nothing to prove that the latter meaning of the word was what Jesus had in mind? For the sake of argument, let's agree that what Jesus meant was to be "born from above"; do you sincerely believe that to be born from above would have been any less confusing to Nicodemus than to be born again?

    You are just substituting what is generally and correctly accepted as the true rendering of the dialogue with an unproven version you insist is the truth, isn't it?

    2. As the earliest recorded civilisation, you might be right that the nations of the world that believe in reincarnation owe it to the Greeks. But that's not really relevant, what is, is that it is not Biblical and has nothing to do with what Jesus said.

  8. #53
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier_of_Faith View Post
    What I am trying to say is that being Born again includes a work of the Holy Spirit which I had not truly known for many many years after truly coming to know Christ. I know that I was saved because I followed Romans 10:9-10, and I began seeing great works in my life. But there came a day when something awoke in me, which I could certainly point to, (Many years after I was saved) and it literally made me a different person. I believe THAT point in my life was when I was BORN AGAIN, because being born again is all about becoming a NEW CREATURE in Christ. Now, I did change a little bit when I accepted Jesus when I was 12, but I was a very immature Christian. I stayed immature for many years, wanting to stay in the Worldly Lusts, and not understanding the Power of the Holy Spirit within me.

    When Apostles came to a new group of "BELIEVERS", they would pray over the Believer with laying on of hands and God would "fall upon them" through the Holy Spirit. Once they "were filled" with the Spirit, they became New people, full of Power and Grace.

    Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

    So were they born again before they received the Spirit of Truth, or After?

    I can speak for myself. I feel born again now, but I felt powerless before. I knew He was with me and heard me, but I felt like He could do very little because I was living in unrighteousness. SO my Faith was hindered. Now I feel like I will get whatever I ask in Jesus name, and in the Will of the Father (because I want to do His will.)
    Your story resonates with me. When trying to examine the notion of "born again" we should remember that in most cases people are saved BEFORE they experience the Holy Ghost. According to the scriptures, once we believe in our heart and confess Christ, we are saved (Rom 10:10). The Holy Spirit comes much later. I pointed out yesterday that the disciples were already saved before they received the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.

    So to claim that one cannot be truly saved without having the indwelling H.S. is tantamount to saying the disciples were not saved until Pentecost. And I don't know anyone who will agree with that?

  9. #54
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walls View Post
    Seems like the classic born-again experience to me. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin (Jn.16:8). The sinner becomes aware of his situation and of coming judgment. Someone tells him (or he grew up with) the gospel, and God (1) gives faith (Rom.12:3), and (2) reveals His Son as the solution (Matt.16:17). After that, one is a "babe" in Christ and pretty much susceptible to the old habits. This sickens the spirit and as time goes by more effort at denying oneself and crucifying the flesh is spent. We are all on road to a spiritual maturity and the way is long and hard. But the Lord is gracious to (1) be longsuffering with us, (2) supply us what we need, (3) paddle our bums when its necessary (Heb.12:4-11), and (4) supply an abundance of circumstances that change us and our thinking (Rom.8:28). But it needs our cooperation.
    Unfortunately, your account of how we come to faith does not reflect the scriptures. Some of the passages (Jn.16:18; Rom 12:3; Matt 16:17) are taken out of context. The true account is that the unbeliever first hears the Gospel, which naturally includes the fact that he/she is a sinner and that Christ is the only way to be saved.

    John 16:8 doesn't come into play as you claimed if you remember that many (an uncountable number believed in Jesus and were saved) beside the disciples were saved BEFORE the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. The dialogue between Jesus and the samaritan woman is interesting.

    John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
    John 4:41 And many more believed because of his own word;
    John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.


    Joseph of Arimathea (Jn. 19:38). There are many more, but am sure you get the drift. My point is that ALL these believed and were saved (Rom 10:10) BEFORE the Holy Spirit came.

    Does the context "grace" according to Rom 12:3 say that God gives the unbeliever *faith* to believe in him? NO! If this is the case, then what is the 'personal role' of the unbeliever in the whole born again process? The proper course is for the unbeliever to first believe by faith (everyone is imbued with faith as a virtue, whether they use it and how they use it is what makes the difference) then grace comes. This is proven by the interaction of the Samaritans with Jesus and their subsequent conversion. Unless of course, you are telling us that God has changed the criteria between then and now?

    In Matt 16:17 Jesus told Peter (who was already saved) that it was his Father in heaven that revealed to him that he is the Christ. Again, you used the passage out of context to prove your order of events leading to our coming to faith.

    While a new convert has a lot to learn, this is not what Paul meant as "babes in Christ" (1 Cor 3:1-3). Both 1 Cor 3:1-3 and Hebrew 5 and 6 make us understand that one could be born again for years and still remain dull of understanding, thereby making him a babe in Christ.

    Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

    Since Paul believed that these believers have been around the block enough time to be teachers themselves, but still need to be taught, we can draw the conclusion that they didn't come to faith yesterday. He repeats the same in Heb 6:1-2.

    In conclusion brother, just revisit the steps you believe leads one to Christ as your earlier assertion isn't accurate.

  10. #55

    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier_of_Faith View Post
    What I am trying to say is that being Born again includes a work of the Holy Spirit which I had not truly known for many many years after truly coming to know Christ. I know that I was saved because I followed Romans 10:9-10, and I began seeing great works in my life. But there came a day when something awoke in me, which I could certainly point to, (Many years after I was saved) and it literally made me a different person. I believe THAT point in my life was when I was BORN AGAIN, because being born again is all about becoming a NEW CREATURE in Christ. Now, I did change a little bit when I accepted Jesus when I was 12, but I was a very immature Christian. I stayed immature for many years, wanting to stay in the Worldly Lusts, and not understanding the Power of the Holy Spirit within me.

    When Apostles came to a new group of "BELIEVERS", they would pray over the Believer with laying on of hands and God would "fall upon them" through the Holy Spirit. Once they "were filled" with the Spirit, they became New people, full of Power and Grace.

    Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

    So were they born again before they received the Spirit of Truth, or After?

    I can speak for myself. I feel born again now, but I felt powerless before. I knew He was with me and heard me, but I felt like He could do very little because I was living in unrighteousness. SO my Faith was hindered. Now I feel like I will get whatever I ask in Jesus name, and in the Will of the Father (because I want to do His will.)
    I really, really appreciate this information! I've carried around with me this kind of burden for many, many years now. I didn't know whether I was "saved," "born again," or simply a naive Christian? Raised up in the Lutheran Church my family was one of the relatively few "every week" attenders. My grandfather had been involved many years earlier, and had aspired to being a pastor at one time--apparently loved Bible Study. I have some of his study materials.

    My Dad was church organist, choir director, adult Bible Study teacher, etc. My brother and I were acolytes. Both of us went through two years of catechism. And my brother did succeed in becoming a pastor for another denomination for awhile. The church he started still exists.

    But the Lutheran Church we were raised up in had a series of pastors, who seemed to weaken with time. I don't think it ever focused on the experience of the believer except for general attention to the 10 Commandments. The study in the catechism was eye-opening, however. It coincided with my adolescence, where I had to choose the direction I was going in.

    Since I had little spiritual foundation, I felt very dissatisfied within. Ultimately, I made immature decisions to associate with people that were not Christian. I ended up in sin, still attending church regularly, but feeling really guilty for how I was living, and yet not understanding what exactly was wrong about what I was doing.

    What, for example, was wrong with premarital sex? What does Grace mean--an open invitation for sin, only to be forgiven at the altar? What was wrong with drugs, or with striking out on my own, while living in my parents' house? I struggled with these things until I landed in youth detention. After that, I went through a few months of struggling to stop sinning (drunkenness, illegal drug use, immorality, theft, disrespect for authority).

    As indicated earlier, I was only able to end the sinning by completely changing my lifestyle, by giving up my non-Christian friends and their lifestyles. It was tough! But it was the only way I found power to live a Christian life. And to my surprise, as I read in Acts how God gives His Spirit to those who *obey Him* I instantly felt the power of the Holy Spirit. It was so obviously real that I prayed that the experience/feeling would not go away. I was afraid that night when I went to sleep that in the morning it would all be gone!

    To my surprise the next day I woke up with the same feeling of God's powerful presence. The Holy Spirit had not left me! And it continued on that way, with friends in the "Jesus People Movement" offering to take me places to meet with others like myself. It was amazing. A church grew up around that group of young people. And many of them are still serving the Lord.

    I say all this to suggest that my experience is similar to yours. I don't know whether I was "born again" or not? I do know I lived an exemplary Christian life in my childhood, and didn't "sin" until I reached adolescence, and taught myself to live like a sinner. I've never stopped going to church weekly, though I quit the Lutheran denomination--I still have a good friend who is a Lutheran pastor, and yes, he is a good Christian!

    I think the passage you referred to shows that people can live nominal Christian lives without knowing the full dimension of spiritual life in Christ. I can't say that anybody is "saved" without being "born again." However, these are just terms. How they fit into my life I don't know, and never really have figured out. So the conversation is of great interest to me! Thanks for the input!

  11. #56

    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    Your story resonates with me. When trying to examine the notion of "born again" we should remember that in most cases people are saved BEFORE they experience the Holy Ghost. According to the scriptures, once we believe in our heart and confess Christ, we are saved (Rom 10:10). The Holy Spirit comes much later. I pointed out yesterday that the disciples were already saved before they received the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.

    So to claim that one cannot be truly saved without having the indwelling H.S. is tantamount to saying the disciples were not saved until Pentecost. And I don't know anyone who will agree with that?
    My problem, brother, is that I then spent my entire early life "saved" and did not know anything about the Holy Spirit. All I knew was that He was 1/3 of the Trinity! I think there was spirituality residing in my life--I just didn't have any intellectual understanding about it. I actually thought the whole country was basically "Christian!" I'm talking about the U.S. I'm sure England is similar.

    You're right that the apostles did not receive the Holy Spirit Baptism until Pentecost. And they had to have been "saved" before then! Christ had already died, had forgiven them, and actually he had even breathed the Holy Spirit on them already, even while the Law was still in effect--before his death on the cross.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit was present under the system of Law, and that spiritual experience is necessary in the life of the believer, no matter what covenant he has been under! One cannot obey God in his heart without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

    But there was certainly something more that came at Pentecost, and I think that was the power to carry out their commission. They had already received the Great Commission, but they were instructed to wait until Pentecost to get the power to do this. It was an anointing based on the New Covenant of Christ. And they were later to discover this outpouring was for both Jew and Gentile, which is part of the terms of the New Covenant.

    So I'm not sure that there is a two step process in Christian Salvation, nominal acceptance of Christian truth and then a spiritual experience. I think they were supposed to be simultaneous, and must be simultaneous to some extent.

    It's just that sometimes, in the course of this fallen world, Christians do not always get the whole truth about Christianity up front. I certainly didn't as a Lutheran in my own community. I knew how to live in righteousness, but I was told very little about the workings of the Holy Spirit, about His presence with me, about spiritual gifts, for example.

    I think we need to focus on the truth that Salvation should incorporate simultaneously both elements, belief in Christian truth and spiritual experience. That's why we study the Scriptures, to get the full gospel message.

  12. #57
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    My problem, brother, is that I then spent my entire early life "saved" and did not know anything about the Holy Spirit. All I knew was that He was 1/3 of the Trinity! I think there was spirituality residing in my life--I just didn't have any intellectual understanding about it. I actually thought the whole country was basically "Christian!" I'm talking about the U.S. I'm sure England is similar.

    You're right that the apostles did not receive the Holy Spirit Baptism until Pentecost. And they had to have been "saved" before then! Christ had already died, had forgiven them, and actually he had even breathed the Holy Spirit on them already, even while the Law was still in effect--before his death on the cross.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit was present under the system of Law, and that spiritual experience is necessary in the life of the believer, no matter what covenant he has been under! One cannot obey God in his heart without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

    But there was certainly something more that came at Pentecost, and I think that was the power to carry out their commission. They had already received the Great Commission, but they were instructed to wait until Pentecost to get the power to do this. It was an anointing based on the New Covenant of Christ. And they were later to discover this outpouring was for both Jew and Gentile, which is part of the terms of the New Covenant.

    So I'm not sure that there is a two step process in Christian Salvation, nominal acceptance of Christian truth and then a spiritual experience. I think they were supposed to be simultaneous, and must be simultaneous to some extent.

    It's just that sometimes, in the course of this fallen world, Christians do not always get the whole truth about Christianity up front. I certainly didn't as a Lutheran in my own community. I knew how to live in righteousness, but I was told very little about the workings of the Holy Spirit, about His presence with me, about spiritual gifts, for example.

    I think we need to focus on the truth that Salvation should incorporate simultaneously both elements, belief in Christian truth and spiritual experience. That's why we study the Scriptures, to get the full gospel message.
    I keep thinking about it. Let's look at your personal experience for example. When you first believed, did you receive the Holy Spirit immediately or did it come later when you were able to discern its presence? I know one cannot be saved and not be born again since the two are inseparable. But does the Holy Spirit come upon us at the same time? If it does, how come many don't experience it until much later? I don't know anyone who's ever forgotten their first experience of the Holy Spirit.

    My views here are not fixed in stone, I'm just pondering the matter.

  13. #58

    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    I keep thinking about it. Let's look at your personal experience for example. When you first believed, did you receive the Holy Spirit immediately or did it come later when you were able to discern its presence? I know one cannot be saved and not be born again since the two are inseparable. But does the Holy Spirit come upon us at the same time? If it does, how come many don't experience it until much later? I don't know anyone who's ever forgotten their first experience of the Holy Spirit.

    My views here are not fixed in stone, I'm just pondering the matter.
    No, it's a great question, and I'm asking these things myself. I can only tell you what I think based on my own experience.

    I do think that salvation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit should be a simultaneous event. However, due to the problems with Christian compromise and a dilution of knowledge Christians sometimes have a lesser "saved" experience. Growing up in church may somehow have taken place without the knowledge of what being "filled with the Spirit" is all about.

    As for me, I have never known what it's like to not be a Christian. I was raised from infancy attending church weekly, and praying daily. So I know that being "saved" means living an exemplary Christian life. I just didn't realize the great gulf that exists between the non-Christian world and the Christian world.

    When I began to mix with the non-Christian world, my spiritual experience diminished. In coming back to obedience I discovered there was a lot more about Christian spirituality that I had not known about, due to the weak church I grew up in.

    So yes, I think that Christian salvation should be simultaneous with being "filled with the Spirit." We are exhorted as Christians to *be filled with the Spirit.* That means all Christians--even from spiritual birth--can choose to act in such a way that we are filled with the Spirit.

    What this means in a very practical sense is that we live righteous Christian lives. But obviously, a lack of knowledge will mean that the Christian relationship between the believer and God Himself can be a weak, legalistic bond. It can be based more on contractual agreements than on spiritual bonding.

    That's kind of where I was. I knew who God was, and I recognized what He wanted me to do and be like. I just didn't understand the full extent of the spiritual link that should exist between God and ourselves.

    Someone has to "explain the way of God more fully" to appreciate the difference sometimes. We aren't just *doing things for God,* or *being good.* More, we are to have constant fellowship with God, leaning upon him every hour for his spiritual resources. We derive our spiritual life from Him continually. Unless we know this our Christian experience will be partly spiritual but weak.

  14. #59
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    I have no doubt in my mind that Nicodemus understood Jesus clearly, hence his question, how can a man be born again?
    Nicodemus didn't ask that question. He asked, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” These questions clearly indicate that Nicodemus did NOT understand what Jesus meant.

    Now let me ask you a question. Why is it so easy to dismiss what I say? Is it the way I look?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    No, it's a great question, and I'm asking these things myself. I can only tell you what I think based on my own experience.

    I do think that salvation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit should be a simultaneous event. However, due to the problems with Christian compromise and a dilution of knowledge Christians sometimes have a lesser "saved" experience. Growing up in church may somehow have taken place without the knowledge of what being "filled with the Spirit" is all about.

    As for me, I have never known what it's like to not be a Christian. I was raised from infancy attending church weekly, and praying daily. So I know that being "saved" means living an exemplary Christian life. I just didn't realize the great gulf that exists between the non-Christian world and the Christian world.

    When I began to mix with the non-Christian world, my spiritual experience diminished. In coming back to obedience I discovered there was a lot more about Christian spirituality that I had not known about, due to the weak church I grew up in.

    So yes, I think that Christian salvation should be simultaneous with being "filled with the Spirit." We are exhorted as Christians to *be filled with the Spirit.* That means all Christians--even from spiritual birth--can choose to act in such a way that we are filled with the Spirit.

    What this means in a very practical sense is that we live righteous Christian lives. But obviously, a lack of knowledge will mean that the Christian relationship between the believer and God Himself can be a weak, legalistic bond. It can be based more on contractual agreements than on spiritual bonding.

    That's kind of where I was. I knew who God was, and I recognized what He wanted me to do and be like. I just didn't understand the full extent of the spiritual link that should exist between God and ourselves.

    Someone has to "explain the way of God more fully" to appreciate the difference sometimes. We aren't just *doing things for God,* or *being good.* More, we are to have constant fellowship with God, leaning upon him every hour for his spiritual resources. We derive our spiritual life from Him continually. Unless we know this our Christian experience will be partly spiritual but weak.
    There is NO such thing as a "lesser saved experience."

  15. #60
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    Re: What is the New Birth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    Unfortunately, your account of how we come to faith does not reflect the scriptures. Some of the passages (Jn.16:18; Rom 12:3; Matt 16:17) are taken out of context. The true account is that the unbeliever first hears the Gospel, which naturally includes the fact that he/she is a sinner and that Christ is the only way to be saved.

    John 16:8 doesn't come into play as you claimed if you remember that many (an uncountable number believed in Jesus and were saved) beside the disciples were saved BEFORE the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. The dialogue between Jesus and the samaritan woman is interesting.

    John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
    John 4:41 And many more believed because of his own word;
    John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.


    Joseph of Arimathea (Jn. 19:38). There are many more, but am sure you get the drift. My point is that ALL these believed and were saved (Rom 10:10) BEFORE the Holy Spirit came.

    ....
    You and I have had a dispute before where you accused me of stating something which I never had, and then answering me as if I had. Here you go again. Go back to my posting that you answered here and see if I mentioned anything about people being saved before Pentecost. Then, when you find NO SUCH THING, ask yourself why you went off about this?

    I have been on this Forum since 2011 and I have consistently posted that a man is saved by faith in Jesus,
    • whether he looks forward like Adam who BELIEVED in the promised Messiah Who would be "seed of the woman", and then called his wife "Eve" - "mother of all LIVING", or Moses who predicted Messiah in Deuteronomy 18:18, or David who wrote so profusely about the coming Messiah in his Psalms
    • whether he was present when Jesus was walking the earth like Peter in Matthew 16
    • whether he looks back as ALL Christians who ever lived and who have never seen our Lord Jesus, but believe in Him and confess Him

    Let's be friends. Please answer my statements, not what YOU THINK I wrote

    God bless.

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