Ones who are truly born from above (John 3:3, 7) live in two dimensions, physical and spiritual. The unsaved (natural) man only lives physically and is dead spiritually. (Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13) It is from the failure to understand this truth that much misunderstanding and error arises. Consider the following propositions.
- 1. The spiritual realm (where God lives) is just as real as the physical realm (where humans live).
- 2. Spiritual reality is in some way even more real because it is eternal and things physical are only temporary.
If we don’t accept these as truth then the pursuit of God is futile because God is Spirit. (John 4:24) The very life of a Christian is spiritual life given by the Holy Spirit who indwells. (Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:16)
When Jesus said to Nicodemus “You must be born again” He explained that He was not speaking of another physical birth but a spiritual birth. The physical birth only produces more sinners, more corruption, more breaking of God’s law. Only those who are born of the Spirit are able to rise above the limitations of the natural man’s aptitude and abilities. John 1:13 says it this way,
“who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
And Paul wrote about those who had thus been born again, or from above, in this way.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)
When a sinner is born again by God it is a real birth, admittedly spiritual but no less real than a physical birth. And, as stated before, that which is spiritual in a very real way is even more real than the physical, because the physical is temporary and the spiritual is eternal.
Can a birth be reversed? Physically birth cannot be reversed. You can abort a baby before it is actually born or you can kill the baby after it is born but birth cannon be undone. A child, who dies, dies a son or daughter of its father. I think every sane person will agree that birth is irreversible, it cannot be undone.
Why then would anyone suppose spiritual birth can be reversed? It is clear spiritual birth by God is a real birth and produces a “new creation“. No person who has read the New Testament very much can deny this “new birth” is a reality.
The question raised would be difficult enough to answer if all that was said by Jesus was “You must be born again“. But that is not all he said. He also said these words.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)
Should I believe these words from the mouth of the Son of God? Or should I believe those who imply at least that they are not true?
Jesus said “should not perish“, “eternal life“, “I will raise him up on the last day“, and “they will never perish“. I am not competent in biblical languages but my research says that these declarative statements made by Jesus mean the same in the original languages as they do in English.
Here is my great dilemma. Should I embrace teaching about salvation (new birth) that in effect makes these verses untrue? I can’t bring myself to do it. I know this makes me the odd man out in coC circles. I have struggled with this question earnestly and with an open heart but I cannot accept that not only these promises, but dozens more, are untrue and unreliable if what my dear brothers in Christ teach is true.
Perhaps I have missed something in my 40 plus years of studying the Bible. I am very flawed and far less than perfect in my understanding of God and His Holy Word. But I do want to know His truth and search for it relentlessly. I love everyone who loves Jesus whether or not we agree on every point of doctrine.
“…He has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead”
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
When darkness seems to hide His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Trusting Christ alone,