The Necessity of the New Birth

“I found Friday had still a hankering Stomach after some of the flesh and was still a Cannibal in his Nature.” ~ Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)

After Robinson Crusoe rescues and civilizes Friday, a cannibal of the Carib tribe, he discovers that Friday is “still a Cannibal in his Nature.” What does this mean? Friday isn’t a real Christian yet. He needs further instruction in and needs to experience what true Christianity is: a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, which produces radical change – spiritual transformation.

Friday’s spiritual condition, as noted in the above quotation, describes a lot of so-called Christians today. They call themselves “Christians” and yet they’ve never been spiritually transformed. There are “Christian gays” and “Christian alcoholics” and “Christian stars” and “Christian rockers.” [If you want my thoughts on the last two, message me.] What’s next: Christian belly dancers?! These are all oxymorons. You can’t be _ [pick a sin] and be a Christian.

For example, a homosexual can call him or herself a Christian. They can never have gay sex. Yet if they identify with the lifestyle and have homosexual desires, they’re still homosexuals – still unregenerate sinners – and they haven’t changed. They haven’t been transformed by Jesus Christ. There are also dry alcoholics and non-practicing drug addicts. The desire is still there. They haven’t changed. All these people wear, live, and breathe the old Adam. The old sinful nature is still there.

One problem is that many of these “Christians” have been lied to. They think they can’t change. They think they were born this way, with X sin, and nothing can change that fact. I think people can be born with specific sins. But whether or not they are doesn’t change the fact that we are all born with a sinful nature. We’re all born wearing, living, and breathing the old Adam. Being captive to a specific sin doesn’t matter. We must all still change. We must all be transformed in order to see Christ in heaven. And countless people have changed. God can transform the Adam nature into the Christ nature. When God changes people, when He transforms them spiritually, both the sinful nature and specific sins leave. Alcoholics and drug addicts can testify to instant and miraculous change. So do gays. When they get saved, they’re not gay anymore!

Another problem is that some “Christians” don’t believe they need to change in order to enter heaven. They think if they were born with X sin and God made them that way, then He must accept them the way they are – without radical transformation. This is also a lie. God commands in scripture (see below) that in order to see the kingdom of God (heaven), people must be born again. They must radically change. Yes, God made us in His image. And everything He makes is perfect. But these “Christians” have refused to receive the truth that they are born with a sinful nature. They are imperfect beings. So they must blame Adam for their sins, general and specific, not God. There is no sin past the gate of heaven. When people are truly transformed by God, they agree with Him in His Word that X is sin and must be repented of. They practice virtue, not vice.

The message of the gospel is to repent of (turn from) sin and believe in Jesus and let him change us. Yes, God loves us in our sin. But he loves us so much he doesn’t want to leave us that way. And if we want to enter heaven and be with God, we don’t want to be left that way either. In his mercy, God changes us. And we all have to be changed and transformed by God in order to be saved and see heaven. Radical change – radical spiritual transformation – is possible! Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

What’s the point in these lyrics? The blood of Christ can overcome the guilt, power, and penalty of any sin. And Christ came to save us from sin (see Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 7:9-11).

The New Birth: God’s Word

John 1:12-13: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 3:3-7: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.’”

1 Corinthians 15:8: “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Galatians 6:15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”

1 Peter 1:23: “. . .having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”

1 John 2:29: “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

1 John 3:9-10: “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”

1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

1 John 5:1, 4, 18: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. … For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. … We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”


5 thoughts on “The Necessity of the New Birth

  1. I feel you miss the whole point of Scripture – that no one can get into heaven. A personal encounter with Jesus does not a Christian make (many people personally encountered Him on earth), but the reception of His payment FOR sin on the cross. It’s not Jesus *and* subsequent holiness that gets people to heaven (as if that were the only important thing) but that the positional righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer securing salvation, sealing by the Spirit, and preserved regardless of fault or sin.

    Your theology is dangerous in that it leaves every one of us out.

    • And I think you missed the point of my post. I never said or acted like a personal encounter with Jesus didn’t mean the cross. Of course it does. You read a physical encounter where I meant a spiritual one. Wanna read the posts in my ‘cross/sacrifice’ category?

      Heaven IS Jesus and holiness. Why? Holiness always follows a true conversion, a true spiritual birth from above. You can’t have true faith without fruit. Holiness is the fruit of faith, just like good works (with pure motives) are the fruit of faith. Read James…

  2. Yet, none of us are holy, even after conversion. We are seen that way positionally. But everyday, every one of us (especially in America) live the Christian life without denying ourselves, struggling with materialism, and do not witness – all blatant sin even amidst desired sanctification. What you seem to be harping on is sanctification as we walk it all out but justification is a positional right standing before God regardless of holiness on our own (because we don’t have any).

    My point is that if you feel that once someone gets saved, then everything gets cleaned up spotlessly, you don’t get out very much with those who have endured years of addiction and struggle with sin. To pronounce judgment on such individuals gives one an air of false piety, and is no different than what ticked Jesus off so much with the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day.

    We can call people to holiness, but should walk alongside those struggling with sin instead of pronouncing condemnation. Thanks for the reply.

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