Written: January 24, 2013 | Updated on January 2nd, 2020 | Jun P. Espina | 8 min read
Spiritual Birth is Necessary to Get Closer to Him
We desire God only as our last option or until things go wrong. It is our natural tilt to trust in ourselves even though we know our dire limitations. Our nature is to crawl away from our life Source just like the sprouting bamboos orbiting away from the mother tree. Complete dependence upon our Creator cannot be our path. Christ invited us all to “seek ye first God’s kingdom.” The word “first” means chief purpose and complete dependence upon Jesus Christ in everything. But just like Adam and Eve, we want to stay away from God’s garden. A sense of self-rule seals our character. We wish God would be there only in times of emergency. God becomes relevant to us only when a disease threatens our life or when we felt we are at the end of the world already. Hence, our need for a spiritual birth!
That is why Christ said we need to be born again since we cannot enter God’s kingdom unless we experience the second birth—not by baptism or church membership or doing works of charity but the “birth” involving God’s Spirit’s indwelling! We need a spiritual regeneration before we can have a God-first life. Mary Magdalene is one example. She lived life without God. After her spiritual birth caused by trusting Jesus, she left her prostitution to follow and serve Christ.
What is a Spiritual Birth also Known as the Second Birth?
What is a spiritual or second birth? Well, it means that the Spirit of Jesus Christ lives in your body. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? . . . If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (1 Cor. 6:19; John 14:23) Our body is sacred. It is God’s house if we allow our Creator to reside in us through faith in Christ. Our Lord’s teaching is indubitable: “We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” The synonym for “abode” is “residence, condo, or house.” God will make our body His condo. When you are a born-again person, you are richer than Jack Ma or Bill Gates. Since Christ’s Spirit lives in your soul. Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)
READ MORE: Saved by Faith In Christ
Who was that spirit who caused Hitler to murder about six million Jews? Satan’s. The devil subdued Hitler, right? Now, if it is possible for the devil’s spirit to live inside a person, then it is equally possible that Christ’s Spirit may also live inside the body and soul of his born-again followers. Stories abound in plenty in the Holy Bible of persons being possessed by demon spirits. Mary Magdalene, for example, had seven demons; whereas, Philip, the Evangelist, was filled with the Holy Spirit as he preached Christ to the Ethiopian Eunuch. (cf. Acts 8:26-40)
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Romans 8:9
The apostle Paul wrote that if you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you are not a Christian. It is confirmed by Christ when He said “I never knew you” to the miracle-performing fake Christians. (See: Matt. 7:23) A born-again Christian is a believer who is possessed by the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:9, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are one since we only have one God the Spirit. In Revelation, we read the seven Spirits of God, but it is symbolic of the Spirit’s perfection since number seven is the number of perfection in the Holy Scriptures. The central thought here is that the second birth is also described by Christ as being born of the Spirit of God. Without God’s Spirit in your soul, you are unsaved—you are destined to hell!
How to Make God Our First and Not Our Last Option?
We can only make God as our First Option when He already resides in us after the second-birth inwardness. It happened when we first repented of our sins and received Jesus as Savior and Lord. Christ is the Bread of life. His Spirit in us will fill us with spiritual food when we are hungry and water when thirsty because God already resides in us. This doctrine is clearly taught in John 7:
I didn’t have any interest in God at all, I mean, in the God of the Holy Bible, until I met Jesus Christ by faith in my heart. I became excited and more enthusiastic to know more about Him only after sensing His presence—His Spirit—in my soul. Since then, I never experience making God as my Last Option. For example, I don’t drive or eat or start a project without first saying a prayer to Christ, my Lord. Unbelievers don’t have that way of life. We heard about the ISIS praying before attacking their enemies. But it is a different conviction—it is unChristian, fearful, confused and even demonic!
How to Have a Spiritual Birth?
I met three people in my life who wanted to be experts in the Holy Bible, its doctrines, everything, except the Scripture’s invitation to come and entrust their souls to Christ for eternal life. They desired to argue and felt the joy of learning about God. But they were outside of Christ’s true circle of followers, like all those who are Christians in name only.
To have the second birth is as easy as seeing a pool of water (the Bible teaching) and start swimming (believing!). I learned one Sunday morning how sinful I was in God’s eyes, but Christ came for my rescue from God’s wrath. I received this Bible teaching with gladness of heart. Christ saved me! I did nothing except believing like a little child. I knew He redeemed me; I met Jesus Christ in my heart—that one Sunday morning. Even until now—after over 30 years have passed—I am meeting with Christ since He is a Resident in my inner me by faith.
If you care to complicate things, you may confess your sins to a human being who is sinful as you are—to the priest! Or you may submit to water baptism, obey the Ten Commandments, and give your offerings regularly to the church and live uprightly. Maybe that’s your version of the second birth—on how to be born of God’s Spirit! These methods, however, cannot give you a real spiritual birth. In the first place, the primary player in these plans to live forever is you—your own good works and glorification. You don’t need God’s intervention when you confess to a priest or submit to water baptism or give your money to the church. You can do all these Christian duties outside of Christ—without trusting His Word and lordship! What will you receive for these good works is the approval of your own ego and the admiration of your friends. Convicted robbers may also confess to the priest or give money to the church. The second birth is the action of Christ’s Spirit. I say again that the functions of religion mentioned above do not need the Holy Spirit. God declared in Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Second, reliance on good works like the SDA’s complete dependence on obeying the Ten Commandments (instead of Christ) can only make a person arrogant. (cf. Eph. 2:8-9) The born-again reality is a God-ordered encounter.
READ MORE: Human Responsibility to Believe in Christ
To be born again (born of the Spirit of Christ), you need to believe in the Gospel that Christ died to save you from sin. You need to have Christ’s Spirit in your soul. You can have Him by believing in His finished work on the cross at Calvary. Here is Paul’s description of the Good News (please note of the word ‘gospel’):
It is the Gospel. Christ died to save us. Three days after His burial, He rose again according to the Scriptures. If you want to get salvation outside of faith in Christ’s atoning blood, you will get nothing. Luke wrote in the Book of Acts that “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” There is no other name given except the name of Jesus Christ. Cursed are those so-called “Christians” who don’t honor the Gospel, according to the apostle Paul. Today, we call the cults as the Christian impostors. They used Christ for a front in their message. Behind their fake gospel is their man-made teachings that are anti-Jesus. Here is Paul sharp rebuke to the Christian fakers:
Christ Promised His Spirit
We find in Romans 8:9 (mentioned above) that you need Christ’s Spirit to be one with Him:
What will happen if our Lord’s Spirit dwells in your soul? The apostle Paul said that you would become a new person or a new creature to be exact. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. . . .I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20). Paul testified that Christ’s Spirit lived in his body. This teaching is hard since we cannot explain how we dishonor God’s Spirit in our imperfections. We grieve the Holy Spirit—who is also the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God—in the sinfulness of our deeds and thoughts sometimes. Paul said, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30) As born-again Christians we are always working out our salvation and our sanctification. (cf. Phil. 2:12-16) For no “one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6) The doctrine is that the Holy Spirit may be grieved inside, but He won’t leave since “you were sealed [with the Holy Spirit] for the day of redemption.” Second, Christ said, “no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28). And, third, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (See: Phil. 2:13)
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught that the Spirit of truth would abide WITH you and be IN you. (John 14:17) He said that He and the Father are one. (John 27:30) To have a spiritual birth, therefore, is to have the Spirit of God also known as the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Christ. Take note in John 14:23, since Christ said that He and the Father would live in the body of the believer.
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
How about you? Do you have Christ’s Spirit in your soul?