“Knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:18-19 ASV).
We all were born with sin securely embedded or engrafted in our nature. This is why we are sinners by birth and not by just our actions (Rom. 5:19).
The nature we inherited through the physical birth is absolutely sinful, corrupt, and rebellious to God. It cannot be reformed, refurbished, renovated, rehabilitated, repaired or refined by any religious rites, regulations or institutions. It has to be destroyed or put away!
The Scripture describes the nature you inherited through the physical or natural birth as:
“Your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers.” (1 Pet. 1:18 NKJV)
“Your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers” (1 Pet. 1:18 KJV)
“Your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers” (1 Pet. 1:18 ASV)
“Your foolish behaviour delivered by fathers.” (1 Pet. 1:18 YLT)
“The futile ways inherited from your fathers” (1 Pet. 1:18 RSV)
“The worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors” (1 Pet. 1:18 GNT)
“The empty life you inherited from your ancestors” (1 Pet. 1:18 NLT)
“The useless way of life handed down from your fathers” (1 Pet. 1:18 WEB)
“Your frivolous habits of life which had been handed down to you from your forefathers” (1 Pet. 1:18 WNT)
“The useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from your forefathers.” (1 Pet. 1:18 AMP).
The only way to get rid of the sin which has been firmly embedded in our nature from birth is death (Rom. 7:7). Therefore, God’s redemption plan entails our death so that our sin-riddled nature can be done away with and replace with a new and holy nature.
The Lord Jesus Christ came in the likeness of our sinful flesh so that He could be a perfect substitute for us. Christ’s death on the cross was the death that we need to experience in order to be free from sin.
The Scripture states: “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Rom. 8:3 NKJV).
Through Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross, our sinful nature was perfectly and permanently destroyed and put away.
The Scripture testifies: “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Rom. 6:6 RSV).
Similarly, through Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we have become partakers of the divine and holy nature of God.
The Scripture states: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4 RSV).
Just as we become one with Adam and share in his sin, defeat and death through the physical birth, we also become one with Jesus Christ and share in his righteousness, victory and life through the spiritual birth.
It is only by experiencing the new or spiritual birth that you can begin to experience, partake in, and appropriate the blessings of Christ’s finished work of redemption on the cross and His triumphant resurrection from the dead.
What then is “the New or Spiritual Birth?”
First, the new or spiritual birth is an instantaneous transformational experience:
The new birth is not a gradual reformation, refinement, or improvement of your sinful and corrupt self or nature, but it is an instant transformation of your nature.
The creation of the new spirit or heart within you is an instantaneous operation of the Holy Spirit. The implantation of the new and divine nature in your spirit takes place the moment you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Him as your Lord and Saviour (Rom. 10:8-10).
It may take a while for you to be fully convicted of your sins and of your utter inability to earn salvation by your self-righteousness or good works. It may take some days or weeks for you to eventually reach a decision to completely put your trust in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for your salvation.
However, the moment you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Him as your Lord and Saviour, you are saved, completely changed and transformed in your spirit. You become a new creation, a new self, a new being in Christ.
The Scripture states: “Therefore, if any one is in union with Christ, he is a new being! His old life has passed away; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17 TCNT).
Second, the new birth or spiritual birth is purely a spiritual experience:
The divine transformation happens instantly in your spirit, not in your soul or body, as you wholeheartedly receive and confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
The new birth is not a physical or religious experience. It is not the same thing as church confirmation or ordination. Neither is it tantamount to joining a religious group, organization or denomination.
Spiritual birth is purely a spiritual experience. It is a spiritual union with Christ. It is becoming one spirit with Christ. The Scripture testifies: “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17 NKJV).
Being born again is to be spiritually plucked out of Adam and engrafted into Christ by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 11:24). It is not the same thing as working for God, but it is God working in you, recreating you or implanting a new heart within you (Eze. 36:25-28, Jer. 32:38-40, Heb. 8:10, 10:16).
Third, the new birth or spiritual birth is a personal spiritual experience, not a collective or corporate experience:
Spiritual birth is purely a personal spiritual and transformational experience. You cannot experience the new birth for someone else; neither can someone else experience it for you.
Spiritual birth is not a spiritual heritage or legacy to be bequeathed to your children. It is not hereditary or transferrable. It takes a personal conviction of your own sins and your personal decision to repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ for you to become born again (Rom. 10:8-10).
Fourth, the new or spiritual birth is not water baptism or bearing a Christian title or name:
Being born again is not the same thing as you being baptized in the water, or as being ordained in your church. It is not changing your names to bear a saint name in the Bible.
But, spiritual birth is God changing your spiritual status, condition and position; transforming you from a sinner to a saint, from a slave to a son, and translating you from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of His love, the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 1:12-14, Eph. 2:11-13).
Lastly, the product of the new birth is not a better, refined, polished, or improved old self, but an entirely new creation or self in Christ:
Being born again is not becoming a more religious person, but becoming an entirely new person in Christ “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:24 RSV).
It is becoming conformed to the image of Christ in your spirit!
The Scripture states: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV).
“Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17 GNT).
Who is this New Creation in Christ (the product of the New Birth)?
Find out in the next piece!
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that You died for my sins and rose up for my justification. Today, I acknowledge, receive and confess You as my personal Lord and Saviour. Thank You for transforming me today from a sinner to a saint, and translating me from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, in Jesus’ name. Amen.