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Why Were You Born Again?

by David A. DePra

     One of the most basic questions we can ask is, "Why were we

born?"  What is the purpose? But if you are a Christian, there is yet

another question, "Why were you born AGAIN?" Is there a purpose

for that re-birth?

     People who are not Christians cannot be expected to answer

either question -- although some try to come up with answers. But

none of them are correct. Only the Bible answers both questions.

Only the Word of God carries answers to these basic questions.

     Understanding WHY you were born -- and then reborn in Christ --

is actually vital to understanding the entire plan of God. If I don't

understand those things, I'm likely not going to understand God's

plan of redemption, or what Jesus Christ accomplished. In short,

if I don't understand the problems, I can't grasp the solution God

has provided.


Original Sin


     In order to understand why we needed to be born again, and

what that means, we must first understand why our physical birth

was not adequate. For we would hardly need to be born again if

the first birth was sufficient.

     At the heart of this issue is what is generally termed "original sin."

"Original sin" is the sin of Adam. It is Adam's rebellion and turning

away from God. The result of it was a corrupted, fallen nature. It

was such a terrible thing -- affecting the very fabric of all creation --

that all who are descended from Adam likewise carry this nature.

We are born with a sin nature. We inherit it by natural birth.

     Now the first thing we must see here is that the "sin nature" is

NOT something God did to Adam. God did not come down and

corrupt Adam's nature in response to his sin. Rather, Adam's

corrupted nature was the result of him turning away from God.

     Think of a lamp plugged into an electrical socket. If the lamp

gets unplugged, it goes out. The electricity was not at fault. The

lamp wasn't either -- unless it unplugged itself. But that is exactly

what Adam did. He deliberately walked away from the only Source

of Life. The corrupted nature which resulted was the damage; the

result. God didn't do that to him. Adam did it to himself by making

the choice to rebel against God.

     This damage was not merely to Adam's relationship with God.

It also corrupted the very fabric of what a human being IS. Man was

not made to live without God. Adam decided to do it anyways. The

result was a damaged creature who would now pass all of that

damage down through heredity -- through natural birth.

     It is here that we must note something very important. Through

Adam, human beings were ruined. Permanently. Thus, when we

talk about ourselves being "born in sin," we are not merely talking

about ourselves as beings who "do wrong things." No. We are

really talking about WRONG BEINGS. WE are wrong. WE are

damaged. WE are corrupted. Both morally and spiritually. The

"wrong things" we do are nothing more than the corrupted beings

we are, acting like corrupted beings must act.

     This is important to understand if we are to come to grips with

why we must be born again. We must be born again because

our first birth was a birth unto destruction and death. Only through

a new birth could this be changed.


Need For Salvation


     I did not choose to be born in Adam. I did not decide, the day

before I was born, to enter into this world. Consequently, God does

NOT hold me responsible for it.  Being born is not sin against God.

     Now, none of this negates the fact that I am born with a sin nature.

Despite NOT being responsible for it, each of us comes into this

world doomed to slavery to sin. There is absolutely nothing we did

to choose it, but there is absolutely nothing we can do to change it.

It is what we are in Adam.

     Unless we grasp this, we are going to have problems really

understanding why Christ had to die for us. Too many times, when

the condition of man is described by those preaching the gospel,

it is not presented accurately.  Sometimes it is incorrectly taught

that we have been born on "morally neutral" ground. We aren't

really sinners until we get older and break the law of God. Then,

we are told, we need a Saviour.  The suggestion is almost that

what makes us a sinner is God's law, and that what makes us

destined for death is God's punishment for disobedience. This is

wrong, and a totaly perversion of the Truth.

     The Truth is, we are sinners from the womb. If a new born baby

dies, he or she nevertheless needs a Saviour. That baby needs

a Saviour (and has one) because he or she has been born in

Adam, with a totally corrupted sin nature. The fact that the baby

never had a chance to exibit that sin nature does not matter. In

Adam, we have no life born in us.

     Thus, we see this Truth: We are not sinners because we sin.

Rather, we sin because we are sinners. It is our nature to sin. And

we are born with that nature.

     As mentioned before, we are NOT responsible for being born

that way. But we ARE responsible once we know the way out of it

in Christ. The Bible tells us this directly. It says, "THIS is the

condemnation, that Light has come into the world, and men loved

darkness rather than Light." (Jn. 3:19) When I see the Light and

refuse it, I am guilty of unbelief. I am then without excuse.




     We are sinners by birth. No law, no religious system, no good

work, and no amount of trying to obey God, can change what we

are by birth. There is no such thing as a self-imposed change of


     This is precisely why God had to save us solely by His grace.

Now get that. It isn't that God sat up in heaven one day, and from

a list of possible methods of salvation, arbitrarily decided to pick

one called "grace." No. We had no way of helping ourselves.

God had to save us solely by His grace.

     Now notice what this means. It means that WE had nothing to

do with effecting our salvation. We are the SAVED; merely the

recipients. Sure, we must believe in order to be saved, but even

our faith is a gift God gives us -- making it possible for us to choose

to believe. God saves us solely by His grace because it was the

only possible way for us TO BE saved.

Purpose of the New Birth


     Once we understand that humanity's problem is more than a

sin problem -- it is a SIN NATURE problem -- we can see why we

had to have a new birth. There is no other way to get a new nature.

Nature is inherent in birth.

     So, Jesus came and died for us so that we might be born anew.

Through Him we are, yes, forgiven, but more. We actually

BECOME new creations in Christ Jesus. We are totally born again.

     Now, all Christians know this, at least doctrinally. But many do not

really grasp what it means to be a new creation in Christ. We tend

to focus more on the fact that we are saved FROM sin, and FROM

death. We easily forget what we were saved UNTO. We are

saved UNTO life, and UNTO new creaturehood in Christ.

     This matter of our being a new creation has, in fact, become

totally watered-down nowadays. We don't really think it of it as

REALLY being a new birth. Rather, we tend to consider it more of

a "new classification" which God pins on us. We think of it as just

another name for salvation.

     But this is not what the Bible says. The Bible does not say that

the new birth is simply a new classification, or legal position. The

Bible talks of the new birth as being REAL. And if it is real, if I am

really a new creature, then inclusive in that must be a real purpose

of God. WHY am I a new creation? What is God's purpose in it?

     We can here draw a parallel between the physical birth and

the new birth in Jesus Christ. What begins the moment conception

takes place in the womb -- the moment life begins? Growth. The

second I was conceived, I began to grow.

     If there is one thing about life, it is NOT static. There is no such

thing as life which does not grow or change. From conception to

physical birth out of the womb, to ultimate death, we are all growing

and changing. It is not a conscious decision on our part to do so.

It is the way a human being IS. It is the way life works.

     Now what this means is this: We do not decide WHETHER to

grow. We do, however, have much to say as to what we will

become through this growth. This is so physically, within the limits

of our heretic genetic pool. But it is even more true spiritually, for

we have the eternal heredity of Jesus Christ. What we become

through our growth in Him can be limitless.

     Here we begin to see the purpose of God through our new birth

in Christ. God saved us because He loved us. But because of this

very same love, there is a purpose of God in the new birth. He

wants us to grow to BECOME something in Jesus Christ. We are

to grow to experience all of the potential which is included in our

new life. We are, in effect, to grow to become conformed to the

image and likeness of Jesus Christ. THAT is God's purpose in

the new birth. It is WHY we have been REborn.


Saved for Service?


     If you took a survey among Christians, there would be some

common misconceptions about the purpose God has for them

after salvation. One big misconception is that God has saved

us, and given us a new birth, so that we might SERVE Him and

witness to others. This is usually backed up by Acts 1:8:


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon

you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in

all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.


     The trouble with this idea is that you really don't need to be born

again to serve God. Neither do you need to be born again to

witness for Christ -- or even to preach the gospel. You really don't.

     One of the biggest problems in Christianity today is a spiritually

unhealthy church going out and trying to convince the world that

they need to become just like us! The point is, a "witness" to

Christ is NOT merely someone who tells others about Christ. A

real witness is someone who stands as an example of what Christ

can do for all men -- through the new birth.

     Jesus said this. Notice closely His words in Acts 1:8. He did

not say, "And you shall go out and witness." No. He said, "You

shall BE witnesses." There is a big difference. What we become

through the new birth is what we ARE. That is the witness God

wants us to BE.

     This does not mean we should neglect serving God or neglect

the great commission of preaching the gospel. But one of the

biggest mistakes the church has made for two thousand years is

to neglect BECOMING in Christ -- and then trying to serve and

preach anyways. It just doesn't work. If you neglect your own

spiritual condition you cannot and will not serve God for His glory.

Not in the long run. And in time, your message will reflect the fact

that you are spiritually unhealthy.

     If you want to know the reason why the church which emerged

in the early fourth century as Christianity barely resembled the

one Jesus left behind in the first century, the answer is right here.

Christians -- and especially leaders -- got their focus off of the

Person of Christ onto the institution of the church. They got their

focus off of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and over

onto what they perceived as the "commission" of the church.

     This is backwards. God says, "Focus on Jesus Christ. Make

your priority your personal one-on-one relationship with Christ. If

you will do that, then you will BE a witness. And you will preach the

gospel. And it will be RIGHT -- because you are centered in Him."   

     We cannot possess the Truth unless we allow the Truth Himself

to possess us. We cannot grow in serving Christ unless Christ is

growing in us. Personal spiritual growth in Christ is the key. Without

it nothing else we do for God will work.

     Incidently, don't get the impression that focusing on personal

growth in Christ is a self-centered thing. To the contrary, personal

growth in Christ will crucify self. You don't grow in Christ by

turning inward and trying to turn yourself into a beautiful white

specimen.  No.  To grow in Christ you go through a process of

reduction and depletion. You don't become a spiritual giant. You

become a little child. It will cost you everything of yourself, including

your own sense of self-righteousness. Personal growth means I

must carry a personal CROSS.


God's Purpose


God's eternal purpose for salvation and the new birth is that we

might grow to become conformed to the image of His Son, and thus

glorify God. We see this all through scripture.


And we know that all things work together for good to them that love

God, to them who are the called according to his PURPOSE. For

whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to

the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many

brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called:

and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified,

them he also glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30)


And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,

evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting

of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body

of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the

knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure

of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13)


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour

Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. (II Peter 3:18)


But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things,

which is the head, even Christ: (Eph. 4:15)


     So we see that we are saved UNTO something. We are born

again as a new creation so that, as that new creation, we might grow

to BECOME conformed to Christ. This is what God is doing in us

in order to prepare us for the eternal ages.

     Of course in this life -- in this age -- we will barely have enough

time to get started. Some have more time than others. But we will,

at best, only be able to settle a few fundamental issues here. The

fruition and release of it all will be in those ages yet to come.


God, who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not

according to our works, but according to his own purpose and

grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

(I Tim. 6:8-9) *

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