A recent national survey found that about fifty percent of the American population claimed to be "born-again Christians." What is meant by the term "born-again Christian," and what is the understanding of those people who call themselves "born-again Christians?"
The term "Christian" comes from the Greek word "christianos," which means Christ-man, or an adherent of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, this word was first used as a nickname, a term of reproach, because the believers must have given others a feeling that they were absolute for Christ. The apostle Peter used it later to remind the believers to stand firm for Christ and not be ashamed. Thus, a Christian is a person who is totally full of Christ, occupied by Christ, living for Christ, living out Christ to express Christ, and even living Christ. By this definition, most people who call themselves Christians actually are not. They might have believed and received Christ, yet they are not living as adherents of Christ.
The name "Christ" (translated from the Hebrew word for Messiah) means the anointed One. Christ was anointed with a special commission. In Genesis, God had created man to contain Him as life and to be one with Him. However, instead of taking God as life, man took in Satan and was defiled, corrupted, and condemned to die eternally. The Old Testament progressively reveals that, because He loved the man whom He created, God wanted to redeem man from the righteous judgment due to sin, save man from the corruption of Satan in his nature, be man's life, and build man up as His living house, His dwelling place in spirit, so that God and man could be one forever. Christ was anointed to accomplish this commission. A Christian is part of Christ, His continuation and increase. A Christian is someone who has been anointed together with Him to fulfill His commission in union with Him. Together, all Christians corporately are the enlarged Christ.
The Bible tells us that, in fulfilling this commission, Christ became a man named Jesus approximately two thousand years ago. "Jesus" means Jehovah our Savior, our salvation. "Jehovah" is the ever-existing God. Jehovah is the name God used before He became a man. After He became a man, He used the name Jesus. To us, Jehovah is the God of heaven sitting on the throne, whereas Jesus is Jehovah becoming a man to be our Savior, not only to die for us on the cross, to save us from our sins and from eternal perdition, but also to save us as our life inside from the corruption of Satan, saving us into Himself as our salvation and our dwelling place. The Christ into whom Christians believe and to whom they are joined as one is this crucified, resurrected, and exalted God-man, Jesus.
Christ Jesus lived a genuine and perfect human life to express God. He went to the cross to die for man because He was the only man throughout history qualified to be a substitute. The righteous One died for the unrighteous ones. He also crushed Satan to free man from his power of darkness. He resurrected on the third day to become a life-giving Spirit. He prepared Himself and made Himself available to man as life. He removed the sin that man should not have had. He redeemed man and prepared him as a cleansed vessel. Now He wants to give man the life he needs. All man has to do is to receive His salvation and take Him as life.
From our physical birth by our human parents, we have a dying physical body; a corrupted psychological organ (the soul), consisting of the mind, emotion, and will; and a spirit that is dead and incapable of contacting God. By receiving Christ as our Savior, we are born of God. The Spirit of God comes into our human spirit to regenerate it, enliven it, with the life of God. This is to be born again. First we are born of our parents, then we are born of God. The first birth gives us the opportunity to have the second birth. The first birth produces us as a dirty vessel; the second birth cleanses us and fills us with the divine and eternal life of God. The first birth destines us to die; the second birth results in life eternal. In the first birth we are cursed, but in the second we are blessed, not with material riches but with God.
A born-again Christian, therefore, is a person who has made his beginning, receiving Christ as his new life in his spirit. Every genuine Christian is a born-again Christian, and once a person has been born again he can never lose this divine life within him. As he continues by living as a Christ-man, his thoughts, his speech, and his deeds become those which are out from Christ, in Christ, for Christ, and expressing Christ.
If you sense the oldness and deadness, the emptiness and vanity, the confusion and frustration, and the tragic destiny of the first life, you need Jesus. Only He can enliven you by bringing the life of God into you to give you a new birth, a new life. Only thus can you be born again to be a Christian, a Christ-man, an adherent of Jesus Christ, full of life, joy, peace, rest, purpose, and fulfillment in God.
Say to Him boldly, "Lord Jesus, I need You as my Savior. Save me from eternal death. Give me God's life. I want to be born again of God. Make me a Christian." Then you will receive the life of God to make you a born-again Christian.
Acts 11:26 The disciples were first called Christians in
1 Peter 4:16 But if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this name.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to announce the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to send away in release those who are oppressed.
Acts 10:38 Jesus, the One from Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power.
Hebrews 1:9 Your God, has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy above Your partners.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image... and let them have dominion.
John 10:10 I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly.
Romans 5:12 Through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin, death.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 But God commends His own love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16 Every one who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.
Hebrews 2:14-15 That through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil, And might release those who were held in slavery.
Colossians 3:4 Christ our life.
Ephesians 2:22 In whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:21 But the One who firmly attaches us with you unto Christ and has anointed us is God.
1 Corinthians 12:12 All the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ.
Matthew 1:21 You shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.
Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM.
Exodus 6:3 By my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
Jonah 1:9 I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry [land].
Romans 5:10 We will be saved in His life.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death.
1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
Hebrews 4:15 One who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also has suffered once for sins, the Righteous on behalf of the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God.
1 Peter 2:9 You may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 Corinthians 15:4 And that He was buried, and that He has been raised on the third day.
1 Corinthians 15:45 The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.
John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.
John 7:39 But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive.
Ephesians 2:1 And you, though dead in your offenses and sins.
John 3:5-6 Unless one is born of water and 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 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, Who were begotten... of God.
Romans 5:17 Those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 God... has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.
Ephesians 3:16 That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man.
Romans 6:4 We have been buried therefore with Him through baptism into His death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so also we might walk in newness of life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 So then if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.
John 10:28 And I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever.
Ephesians 4:17 This therefore I say and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk in the vanity of their mind.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Meekness, self-control.
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