There are many in this world who claim to be a “born again Christian.” They have the concept that any who believe in Jesus are “born again” and a part of the body of Christ. Let us notice some troubles this presents to the typical member of a denomination.
First, the term “born again Christian” is redundant. There is no such thing as a “not born again Christian.” Anyone who is a Christian has been born again, and anyone who has been born again is a Christian. Peter addressed his audience as those who had “been born again” (1 Pet. 1:23). He also said to them that they were to suffer as a “Christian” (1 Pet. 4:16).
Second, the term “born again Christian” is chiefly based upon John 3:3-5, “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.'” Please read that again.
Jesus said that to “enter the kingdom of God” one must be born again. The denominationalist says that the kingdom was postponed until a future time. He says that Christ established His church, not the kingdom. Yet, he will claim to be born again — born of the water and Spirit. How can one be born again, according to Jesus’s declaration, and NOT be a member of the kingdom? Something is amiss here.
If the kingdom has not to be established, then no one can be a member of it now, and thus no one has been born again, for the new birth puts one in the kingdom. Peter declares that some were born again (1 Pet. 1:23). Also, if people have been born again, then the kingdom does exist and the premillennial doctrine of a postponed kingdom is false. Paul affirmed the establishment of the kingdom when he wrote, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13).
How is one “born again”? Jesus said one must be “born of water and the Spirit” (Jn. 3:5). A study of God’s word will reveal that this new birth comes by heeding the Spirit’s word to be “baptized into Christ” and arise to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). Without being baptized for the remission of sins, it is impossible to be born again (cp. Acts 2:38). Have you truly been born again?
Steven F. Deaton