Matter of Faith: You must be born again … Part 3


From: Bob Williams

While being “born again,” according to the Scriptures, applies only to Israel as a nation, both individual Jews and members of the Body of Christ, which is the church God is forming today, must experience a new birth to become spiritually fit for service to God.

The basic issue involved in the new birth is not reformation, nor is it religion; it is the doctrine of regeneration. This is clear from Christ’s words to Nicodemus in John 3:5,6. Notice how carefully the Lord defines the character of the new birth: It is not the reformation of the outward man, nor the education of the natural man, nor the purification of the old man for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Rather it is the Spirit of God giving birth to a new life – a divine life and nature. It is partaking of the Divine nature (II Peter 1:4). Simply put, it is being born of God — “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” (John 3:6).

“Regeneration” — i.e., being “born of the Spirit” — is a doctrine associated in Scripture with God’s dealings both with the nation Israel and the Body of Christ. In fact, the word itself is found only twice in the Bible, once in relation to Israel’s program and once in reference to the Body of Christ.

The first occurrence is found in Matthew 19:28, where Christ is speaking to His Apostles. Notice carefully the wording here: “In the regeneration WHEN the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory.” This is a future regeneration associated with the time when Christ sits on “the throne of His glory,” and where the Apostles “also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Regeneration for Israel, then, is clearly a part of her kingdom program and hope.

The second occurrence is from the Apostle Paul in Titus 3:4,5: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by THE WASHING OF REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Notice that “he saved us” is past tense, hence a completed fact for believers. Interestingly, the only other occurrence of “renewing” is in Romans 12:2; “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind ...” In both instances, we are spiritually “transformed” or “regenerated” to meet God’s purpose for us.
Obviously the doctrine of regeneration is a spiritual truth, which plays an integral part in God’s purpose for both Israel’s future kingdom program and the current administration of grace. Thus we must be careful to distinguish the dual applications of this doctrine.

Regeneration for a Jew in the kingdom program makes him a part of a born again nation. Regeneration for a person in the dispensation of grace makes him a part of the Body of Christ, a new creation. That’s because today God is creating a new species of humanity — “neither Jew nor Gentile,” (Gal. 3:28). Just as Adam was not born but was rather created, so believers go from the old creation into the new creation as we go from Adam into Christ.
Every person reading this was born into this world spiritually dead in sins, “alienated from the life of God,” (Eph. 4:18). The question is: Have you been regenerated? Have you passed from spiritual death to spiritual life by placing your faith in the finished work of Christ?


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