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Saved vs Born-Again

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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit – John 3:5-6.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and member of the Sanhedrin who came to Jesus during the night. Recognizing Jesus’ greatness, Nicodemus asked to be instructed more fully by Jesus. Although he didn’t immediately understand Jesus’ words about the necessity of regeneration, he eventually did comprehend and became a disciple.

Nicodemus addressed Jesus as Rabbi, understanding His role as a Priest and a teacher informing Him that He was a teacher and the miracles He performed that God had to be with Him,  Jesus reply to Nicodemus’ statement was that a man had to be born again. Nicodemus didn’t quite understand what was the rebirth, his intellectual thinking was, can one enter the second time into his mother’s womb? Jesus’ explanation to Nicodemus was that a person must experience a spiritual rebirth.

Every believer usually receives baptism, but baptism isn’t essential to salvation, because it doesn’t wash away the filth of the flesh (The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us {not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God} by the resurrection of Jesus Christ – 1st Peter 3:21). The new birth or regeneration is the act by which God imparts spiritual life to one who trusts Jesus. Without this spiritual birth, a person can’t perceive spiritual things nor can he or she enter the kingdom of God. Many have received salvation without the regeneration of the spirit. Salvation is the deliverance from wrath and the penalty of sin, it’s a conception of the mind, that Jesus is the Son of God and through Him only can we be reconciled to the Father. True salvation brings about repentance, literally meaning to change one’s mind, it’s to reject one’s sinful habits and turn to God.

Salvation brings spiritual growth from just being saved from the wrath of God to the sons of God which brings justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is the divine act of declaring sinners to be righteous on account of their faith in Jesus. He paid for their sins completely and finally on the Cross, and through faith in Him, their sins can be and will be forgiven. Regeneration is when the Spirit of God indwells a repentant sinner and imparts eternal life to his or her spiritually dead soul. Sanctification is the process in which God develops the new life of the believer and gradually brings it to perfection. Glorification is the ultimate salvation of completely mold us into the image of Jesus Christ through the Fruit of the Spirit being manifested through us daily. When the Word of God has been written in our hearts and in our minds, this is when we as Christians will come subject to the will and the Word of God in every area of our life.

Nicodemus was a religious man, he believed in God, but in order for him to enter into the kingdom of God, he had to be born again in his spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete or helper whom Jesus promised to the disciples after His ascension, the Comforter wasn’t just for Jesus’ disciples then, but for the other generations of disciples that would be coming to the faith (And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever – John 14:16). The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are unified in ministering to the believers. The disciples were followers of Jesus, they were saved, but they were to be filled with the Holy Spirit, that was the promised to them and to everyone that believes (But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth – Acts 1:8).  This misconception of believers receiving the Holy Spirit when they receive salvation is incorrect, if that was so, the disciples wouldn’t have been instructed by Jesus to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise. Neither would Jesus had to blow on them prior to receiving the Holy Spirit for Him to rest upon them (And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost – John 2:22).

In order to function and to be effective in the kingdom of God, we must receive the gift of the Holy Spirit  (If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him – Luke 11:13). Receiving the Holy Spirit is a gift to the believer who has conformed their heart and mind to the Word of God, willing to come subject to the do’s and don’ts of the Word of God, this is when the believer has become born-again versus just receiving salvation, the power of God is living within their being. They communicate with God, and He communicates with them through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s attitude and ministry are marked by generosity, His Chief function is to illumine Jesus’s teaching, to glorify His person, and to work in the life of the individual believer and the church which is the body of Christ.

Many accept salvation because they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but the Father wants the believer to not only believe but become sons of God. The devils believed, but they don’t worship God (Thou believes that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble – James 2:19). The devils don’t love God neither do they submit themselves to His written Word. Their kind of belief does not lead to love, submission, and obedience; instead, it leads to hatred, rebellion, and disobedience. Anytime one disobeys the Word of God he or she is in rebellion. God is love and when we love someone we do everything we can humanly possible to show our love towards them. When we receive the divine love of Christ in our hearts, we don’t have to try, it automatically loves God and His people. We have the nature of Jesus in us and His nature was to love the Father and submit to His will.

When one has truly accepted salvation in their hearts and not through emotions, there will be a change in their character and behavior. Their focus will be on pleasing the Father, they read and study the Word of God because they want to know what is expected of them as being a child of God. When one is hired for a position for an employer, they will receive an employee handbook, they are expected to read and adhere to the handbook. God has given His children a handbook, it’s called the Bible and they are to follow the guidelines of the Bible if they want to have fellowship and a relationship with the Father. As one grows spiritually, the Fruit of the Spirit should begin to manifest in the believer’s life. This is something that is done by the Holy Spirit as the believer submits to the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Many believers want to serve God and yet live a life that does not reflect their character as being a child of God.

To get to know Him is to read Him and submit to His written Word. When you truly love someone it’s not a task to want to get to know them and follow their instructions. Take time and get to know the God you say you worship, examine yourself, and see if you’re in the faith according to His instructions.

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