Variations on "Born Again"

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Variations on "Born Again"

Postby Bare_Truth » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:39 am

This topic started as a comment to the post by ezduzit in the strip at : http://www.cnvillage.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3957&p=40592#p40592 . However I soon realized that this response and question would essentially hijack the main thrust of that strip and ought to be a separate topic.

ezduzit wrote:Born Again ?
Interesting numbers concerning who we are, but what percent are and or consider themselves born again ?

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.


I am not sure that all in the realm of Christendom actually define that status the same way. So the Gallup pole is actually only recording the percentages who claim that they are "born again".

Would anyone care to offer their denomination's definition of "born again"?

From the above quoted scripture one can say that "born again" is a requirement to "see" the kingdom of God, but the verb "see" (strongs 1492, eido) is quite broad and has literal and figurative meanings. These range from seeing with the eyes, to having knowledge, to understanding.

John 3:5 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.
What is meant by "see" in verse 3 is interpreted by some based on verse 5 as meaning experience the kingdom of God. They understand it as to enter heaven as a citizen thereof, either heaven above or heaven on earth.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
-- Based on verse 6, this is further understood by some as not coming to fruition until the resurrection when we cease to be flesh beings. People with this view, tend to see the word "born" or, "gennao" in the Greek, as covering the entire reproduction process from conception to emergence of the child from the womb as symbolic of the process of receiving the Holy Spirit when called by God and continuing to the resurrection as a Christian who has grown through life experience and practice of Christian principles.

Others see the Born again as a unique, one time, event when they receive "eternal security" as a sure promise of salvation which cannot be lost.

And that is probably only a start on what variations within Christendom there are about the meaning of the term "Born Again". Some of those understandings are probably mutually exclusive at least in part.

So then is it possible to talk about "born again" without out some sort of definition; and if so then what is that definition?
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby MtnDewNudist » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:49 pm

For me I define "Born again" as having your heart changed where you no longer desire to old sinful ways of your past and desire to turn closer to God and Jesus Christ. One who is born again renews his/her efforts to follow Christ's example and God's commandments.
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby ezduzit » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:05 pm

For me to be born again is to be "saved" , not sinless , religious or being "good".
It really doesn`t matter how you label yourself, without the new birth , a person is still lost and in sin.
Ez

From...............................http://carm.org/dictionary-born-again



Born Again



The term Born Again refers to new birth enjoyed by Christians upon conversion and regeneration. It is a work of the Holy Spirit within a believer. It is related to faith in Christ and Him crucified (John 3:3-5). It means that the person is no longer dead in sins (Eph. 2:1), no longer spiritually blind (1 Cor. 2:14), and is now a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17).
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby ezduzit » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:11 pm

So then is it possible to talk about "born again" without out some sort of definition; and if so then what is that definition?[/quote]

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again <313> (5746), not <3756> of <1537> corruptible <5349> seed <4701>, but <235> of incorruptible <862>, by <1223> the word <3056> of God <2316>, which liveth <2198> (5723) and <2532> abideth <3306> (5723) for <1519> ever <165>.

313 anagennaw anagennao an-ag-en-nah’-o

from 303 and 1080; TDNT-1:673,114; v

AV-begat again 1, be born again 1; 2

1) to produce again, be born again, born anew
2) metaph. to have one’s mind changed so that he lives a new life and one conformed to the will of God
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby jochanaan » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:20 pm

Being born again, as many understand it now, is equivalent to believing with saving faith, the sort of faith that will change minds and hearts, without which it is impossible to please God. I could say a lot more, but I think you get the essence. And yes, I know that I am born again, not by my own beliefs or works but by God's favor and love. Praise His Name! Amen.
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby Bare_Truth » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:20 pm

ezduzit wrote: .....
2) metaph. to have one’s mind changed so that he lives a new life and one conformed to the will of God
Well I guess that one puts the Apostle Paul in a world of hurt:
In Romans7: Paul wrote: 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
It does not sound like he had the conformation of his life to the will of God worked out yet. He understood the right way but often did not conform his life to it.
1John 3:
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Unless a distinct difference can be drawn between "Born Again" and "Born of God" it will require some pretty good eisegetic gymnastics to arrive at the conclusion that the Apostle Paul was born again, when he wrote Romans.

I don't think this particular definition works!
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby ezduzit » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:49 pm

.[/quote]Unless a distinct difference can be drawn between "Born Again" and "Born of God" it will require some pretty good eisegetic gymnastics to arrive at the conclusion that the Apostle Paul was born again, when he wrote Romans.

I don't think this particular definition works![/quote]


If you are looking for and expect sinless perfection after the new birth , let me know when you have "arrived"......... my children although not perfect are still my children no matter what they do or do not do.
Ez

Paul`s new birth experience.......
Acts9:1 ¶ And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Acts 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby Jon-Marc » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:45 pm

The words "born again" are overused and misused. A porn mag publisher said he was "born again" and was going to do a series in his mag about Adam and Eve. Many people speak of being a Christian or being born again with no concept of what it actually means. Many still believe that the US is a "Christian nation", but what does the evidence say? We have phony Christians, crooked politicians, crooked police, crooked judges, and many other crooked people who are supposed to be the epitome of doing right. A person who is sold out to Jesus and desires to do His will and not his own shows what being "born again" is all about. It is far more than mere empty words; it is a person who is a "new creature in Christ."

Jesus said "Ye must be born again." He likens being saved and cleansed by His blood as being a new birth; we become babes in Christ. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2Cor. 5:17

We are not just simply forgiven, saved from our sins, and cleansed, but we are made a new person inside by having a new love for the things of God and an abhorrence for sin and evil. Being "born again" is more than "talking religion" as one moderator in a non-Christian Web site told me I couldn't do there; our entire outlook is changed. In place of hatred we have love; in place of despair we now have hope; in place fear we have peace; in place of condemnation we have forgiveness; in place of death we have eternal life. It is far more than just being saved from our sins; everything changes for the better. Our life may not change in the least bit, but our outlook for the future does or at least should. We don't dread what tomorrow holds, because we know God holds tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that.

The Holy Spirit is in me; I am in Christ, and He is in the Father. You can't get any more secure than that!
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby Johannes_1965 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:52 am

I just gave my answer in the original strip, discovering this one only afterwards. (I wanted to delete my contribution over there, but that seems only to be possible for a moderator. Didn't find any "delete" button...)

So here is the Catholic variation:
"Born again" is completely identified with "evangelical" in the poll. Catholics would identify Baptism as the event of being born again into the communion with the Father through Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit; born again into the Church, the spiritual family of God, after the natural birth into a natural family (hopefully...).
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Tit 3,5-7)
When we later have fallen out of faith and grace and come back to both we don't speak of rebirth but of conversion.
I was born again through baptism as a child, in 1965, and I came back to what I had received in 1987 through conversion and reconciliation, an ongoing process until death.
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby jochanaan » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:41 pm

The Greek word which the KJV translators rendered as "again" can, and does, also mean "from above." And Jesus makes very clear a little later that "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) He does not say there that baptism is necessary ("born of water," in this context, probably refers to natural physical birth), and it is possible that Mark 16:16, which connects belief and baptism as necessary for salvation, was not in the earliest manuscripts, although this does not mean Jesus didn't say it.

As one who grew up mostly Baptist, I tend to understand baptism as a profound symbolic ceremony marking a believer's public commitment to living with Jesus all his/her life. It does not in itself save us ("Today thou shalt be with me in paradise"), but, like a wedding, is a public declaration of a change in relationship that already exists. Perhaps it is more necessary for us than for God, since God knows our hearts better than we do. :)

So being "born again" must be a profound spiritual transformation, not merely something we say to indicate we believe certain things.

(Incidentally, Nicodemus was not necessarily being "stubbornly bewildered" when he said "Shall he enter again into his mother's womb and be born?" As a leader of the Pharisees, he would have well understood the multiple levels of meaning in the Scriptures. He was probably using a rhetorical device to challenge Jesus to explain himself more clearly. And Jesus easily rose to the challenge, as always.)
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby ezduzit » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:08 pm

Johannes_1965 wrote:I just gave my answer in the original strip, discovering this one only afterwards. (I wanted to delete my contribution over there, but that seems only to be possible for a moderator. Didn't find any "delete" button...)

So here is the Catholic variation:
"Born again" is completely identified with "evangelical" in the poll. Catholics would identify Baptism as the event of being born again into the communion with the Father through Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit; born again into the Church, the spiritual family of God, after the natural birth into a natural family (hopefully...).
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Tit 3,5-7)
When we later have fallen out of faith and grace and come back to both we don't speak of rebirth but of conversion.
I was born again through baptism as a child, in 1965, and I came back to what I had received in 1987 through conversion and reconciliation, an ongoing process until death.
Johannes


I interpret this to mean if you could lose your salvation , it is impossible to return" to that state thru "conversion" or any other act....what say ye?

Ez

Heb.6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:52 pm

ezduzit wrote:..... I interpret this to mean if you could lose your salvation , it is impossible to return" to that state thru "conversion" or any other act....what say ye?


Ez,
I would be interested in seeing how you or others break down those verses.

Heb.6: 4-6
For it is impossible for those who:
-1- were once enlightened, and
-2- have tasted of the heavenly gift, and
-3- were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And
-4- have tasted the good word of God, and
-5- (tasted) the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

So analyzing it that way, it would appear that there are 5 elements of involvement in one's calling which must be included in really having responded to the point that if one should fall away, having experienced all 5, that repentance is not available. I believe that items 1 3 & 4 are pretty obvious and well understood, but how does one define and differentiate from the others #2 tasting the heavenly gift, and #5 (tasted) the powers of the world to come.

I would suppose that tasting the powers of the world to come would certainly include having wielded any of the gifts such as suddenly speaking or understanding a different language, healed the sick by laying on of hands, etc. (i.e. 1Cor 12:2) or having been on the receiving end of any of those gifts by being healed etc. but are there other things that would be powers of the world to come that we should include in such a list (e.g. being transported in a vision, having an Angel break us out of prison, etc)? .

But the more difficult for me to be sure of is #2.
What is to be understood by "having tasted the heavenly gift"?

Is it simply a blanket statement referring to one or more of the others, (i.e. #'s 1,3-5) or is it more specific than that and possibly distinct from them. The way it is worded in English with the definite article, (tasted the heavenly gift), it seems to imply that something very specific could be referred to here.

As for the impossibility of renewal to repentence after experiencing the 5 points (as I have outlined them), I have always understood that to mean that, anyone who had really experienced all of that, and walked away, had so thoroughly rejected God that they would not come back. Thereby making the "impossibility" self imposed rather than imposed by God. Someone that far gone would have to be so rebellious that they had utterly rejected God and did not want any part of his plan. This might be seen as in contrast to the example of someone who was perhaps healed and understood some things, (partial enlightment), who then might fall away and yet finally woke up to what they were passing up. Something like the lukewarm Laodiceans who are given a final call to repent (e.g. Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.)
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby Johannes_1965 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:18 am

ezduzit wrote:...I interpret this to mean if you could lose your salvation , it is impossible to return" to that state thru "conversion" or any other act....what say ye?

Ez

Heb.6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Normally, conversion is always possible, also as a return from loss of salvation through sins against the 10 commandments. Conversion and faith are the fundamental call of Jesus from the beginning of his preaching and forgiveness is his most important gift to us. I interpret Heb 6,4-6 as the special case of very conscious act of falling away from all those gifts mentioned, an act of apostasy. An example could be Judas who was very close to the Lord, chosen to be one of the 12 apostles, and who doesn't seem to have found repentance and forgiveness.
If somebody consciously chooses evil, not just doing it out of weakness or ignorance, John speaks of a sin leading to death: "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death." (1 John 5,16-17)

What I wrote above about baptism is of course the concept of baptism as a sacrament, an act that is not only symbolic but conveying salvation, given that somebody wants it and faith is confessed. Jesus commands to baptize disciples
"in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Mat 28,19), thus giving salvation through communion with God, the Holy Trinity.
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby ezduzit » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:09 am

Bare_Truth wrote:
ezduzit wrote:..... I interpret this to mean if you could lose your salvation , it is impossible to return" to that state thru "conversion" or any other act....what say ye?


Ez,
I would be interested in seeing how you or others break down those verses.

Heb.6: 4-6
For it is impossible for those who:
-1- were once enlightened, and
-2- have tasted of the heavenly gift, and
-3- were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And
-4- have tasted the good word of God, and
-5- (tasted) the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

So analyzing it that way, it would appear that there are 5 elements of involvement in one's calling which must be included in really having responded to the point that if one should fall away, having experienced all 5, that repentance is not available. I believe that items 1 3 & 4 are pretty obvious and well understood, but how does one define and differentiate from the others #2 tasting the heavenly gift, and #5 (tasted) the powers of the world to come.

I would suppose that tasting the powers of the world to come would certainly include having wielded any of the gifts such as suddenly speaking or understanding a different language, healed the sick by laying on of hands, etc. (i.e. 1Cor 12:2) or having been on the receiving end of any of those gifts by being healed etc. but are there other things that would be powers of the world to come that we should include in such a list (e.g. being transported in a vision, having an Angel break us out of prison, etc)? .

But the more difficult for me to be sure of is #2.
What is to be understood by "having tasted the heavenly gift"?

Is it simply a blanket statement referring to one or more of the others, (i.e. #'s 1,3-5) or is it more specific than that and possibly distinct from them. The way it is worded in English with the definite article, (tasted the heavenly gift), it seems to imply that something very specific could be referred to here.

As for the impossibility of renewal to repentence after experiencing the 5 points (as I have outlined them), I have always understood that to mean that, anyone who had really experienced all of that, and walked away, had so thoroughly rejected God that they would not come back. Thereby making the "impossibility" self imposed rather than imposed by God. Someone that far gone would have to be so rebellious that they had utterly rejected God and did not want any part of his plan. This might be seen as in contrast to the example of someone who was perhaps healed and understood some things, (partial enlightment), who then might fall away and yet finally woke up to what they were passing up. Something like the lukewarm Laodiceans who are given a final call to repent (e.g. Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.)


First ........ I do not believe you can lose your salvation , my position is Once Saved Always Saved......... to deny that some have a profession with out possession is a fact ie Lord, Lord ! (Matt.7:22)

Secondly ..... If you could lose your salvation , it would make Christ and his word a lie ie everlasting would not mean / be everlasting , eternal would not be / mean eternal (Jn.3:15, 16) thus "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

Ez
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Re: Variations on "Born Again"

Postby bn2bnude » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:10 am

ezduzit wrote:First ........ I do not believe you can lose your salvation , my position is Once Saved Always Saved......... to deny that some have a profession with out possession is a fact ie Lord, Lord ! (Matt.7:22)

Secondly ..... If you could lose your salvation , it would make Christ and his word a lie ie everlasting would not mean / be everlasting , eternal would not be / mean eternal (Jn.3:15, 16) thus "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

Ez


I am curious how your theology of Salvation fits together. It appears to be similar to what I grew up with but quite different from where God has me believing now.
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