Most people we call Christians today are not Christians, I think; “believers” should be the better word, because one can be a believer yet not a Christian. Simon the sorcerer in the Samaritan Church in Acts 8: 9 was a believer but not a Christian. Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5: 1-11, were believers but not Christians. Even the devils believe and tremble James 2: 19
We should be using the phrase, “have you accepted Christ”, rather than, “are you Born Again”; because many have really abused the meaning of born again. There is a big difference between being born again and confessing Jesus Christ. The Word of God says in Romans 10:9-10; that if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God had raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
But the issue is the most people stop at the confessing part while leaving out the believing part; because whoever believes will obey and do what he believes. If you accept the Word of God with all your heart, you will definitely obey and do what it says.
And for you to be born again, you must combine confessing Jesus Christ with believing the Word of God; and obeying it in order to live a righteous life until the end. The LORD said that there are some that call him on their lips but their hearts are far from Him. This is the same thing as confessing Jesus Christ and not believing in the power of his Word. That is claiming to be born again, but not allowing the Word of God to break you and reborn you.
This is what it means by a corn of wheat refusing to fall to the ground to die in order to be reborn. And this will cause the potentials of this grain of wheat to be limited, when it has the ability to grow new life and bear much fruits. But there it is, abiding alone. This is exactly why the church is full of crop of believers who lack the fear of God in them; they are unrepentant, and lacking brokenness, but still claiming to be born again Christians.
Beloved, this ought not to be so. Conversion without conviction is an express ticket to Hellfire; it is like a racing car at top speed without breaks. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin, without him; one can neither be born again or become a Christian. He is the power of Righteousness of a believer. He is the power that turns a mere believer into a Christian.
Once you are born Again, there is no going back. Once you are born again, you do not sin again, that is why the Word of God says that whosoever is born of God does not sin because the Word of God abides in him. He cannot sin because he is born of God, (1 John 3: 9-10).
What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?
In Verse 10 of the above scripture, the Bibles shows us how to know those who are actually born again and those who are not. Being born again is conforming to the image of Jesus Christ, (Romans 8: 29); and it is a continuous process in the school of salvation. Remember that salvation is like a school, you enroll by accepting Jesus Christ, but that is not a guarantee that you will graduate at the end. This school of salvation is also known as the kingdom of God on earth. This is where you are groomed by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to conform to the image of Jesus Christ; in order to qualify for the kingdom of Heaven.
So whether you will graduate or not depends on your results at the end of your school years. Obeying the Word of God; living a consecrated and righteous life will earn you good grades that will make you to graduate to the kingdom of Heaven. This is where you will enter God’s rest and receive a crown of glory according to your labour of love in the kingdom of God on earth. Therefore, you can only be born again only when you have died to Flesh. Being Born again is only possible in a believer who has crucified the flesh with Jesus Christ, buried with Jesus Christ and Resurrected with Jesus Christ.
Being born again is when a believer has graduated from just believing to being a Christian. This is when a believer has become a follower of Jesus Christ. It is when a believer has carried his own cross and follow in the footsteps of Christ, putting his body under subjection to the Word of God. This is when a believer has graduated from milk of the Word of God to eating solid food of the Word of God, [Hebrews 5:12-14]. This is when a believer has graduated from just identifying with a church, or from just being a church goer to conforming to the image of Jesus Christ as his follower. That is when a believer has stopped living his live according to the dictates of the world and all its lusts; to living his life according to the Word of God.
Are There Different Kinds Of Believers?
There are many believers or many who have confessed Christ; but there are only few Born Again/Christians. Jesus made it clear in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13: 1-23) that there are different kinds of believers or those who have confessed Christ. And this is what we have in the Church today. There are some who accepted Jesus Christ on the wayside of their hearts and because they lack spiritual understanding, the devil came and snatch them away, even though they are still in the church, claiming to be born again Christians.
There are another set who received Christ on the stony places of their heart, but because they didn’t take root in the Word of God (they didn’t allow the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to transform them); they where on the right path towards being born again for a while, but when trials and temptations came, they went back to the world, but still inside the church claiming to be born again Christians.
Another group are those who receive Christ among the thorns, the care,lusts, and riches of this life swept them away like a flood back to the world, but they are still inside the church claiming to be born again Christian. They have tested the power and grace of God, but they loved the wages of unrighteousness more than obeying the Word of God. They are those who are seeking other thing first and hoping that the kingdom of God and His righteousness will be added unto them.
And finally, are the sets who received Christ on the good soil of their heart, and washed themselves with the Word of God; and are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. They went further to become Born Again Christians and abiding in the Word of God, while allowing the Word of God to abide in them till the end. These ones are the Christians, every other sect mentioned are just believers that were converted but not convicted like Judas Iscariot, Simon the magician in Acts 8:9-24, Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11, etc.
Who Then Is a Born Again Believer?
A Born Again believer is a Christian; someone who imitates Jesus Christ. It is a believer who has repented from his sins and accepted the Word of God by believing and confessing Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Who have died to flesh, resurrecting with the Word of God as a new Born. Reborn from the Ashes of the dead flesh and lusts of this world; and washed by the Blood of the Lamb of God. Sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit; and now living an acceptable life of righteousness according to the Word of God until the end.
In 1 Peter 1: 23, the Bible says that we should be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God; which lives and abides forever. What this scripture is telling us is that you can only be born again by obeying the Word of God and living your life according to the ways and words of Jesus Christ. Not just by confessing Jesus and then disobeying his words, which is the same as the Word of God and the Word of Life.
You will hear many preachers say that you are still living a sinful life and struggling with sin even though you are born again because it was your spirit that got born again and not your soul or body. The question is then, what did your spirit get born again to do? If you say that you are born again because you confessed Christ and you are still living in sin; what it means is that you have not repented and you shall not obtain mercy, because you have not forsaken your sins. It is only when you confess your sin and forsake them that you will obtain mercy, [Proverbs 28: 13]. If you surrender your all to Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you will live a consecrated life and will detest sin.
Whoever that is born of God lives above sin because he by the mercies of the LORD has obtained the grace to do so. Every desire and urge for sin dies completely because the power of the Word of God is at work in him. The Holy Spirit empowers him to live a consecrated life which qualifies him to see God in all his situations; because without holiness, none shall see God. That is why the scripture says in Psalm 119: 11, thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you. The Word of God planted in the good soil of his heart prevents him from sinning and conforms him to the image of Jesus Christ.
It Is Only Something That Is Dead That Can Be Reborn
It is only something that is dead, that can be reborn. If you have not died to flesh, how then can you be reborn (be born again). If you have not crucified the flesh, you have no business being Reborn. That is why Jesus says in John 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat falls into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hate his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
That is to say, if your old nature (man) did not die, or if you refuse to die to the flesh, you cannot be reborn in order to put on the new man and then bear much fruits. Many believers have really confused the meaning of being born again with just confessing Jesus as Christ; and leaving repentance and forsaking of old nature, and putting on the new man (which is presenting your body as an acceptable living sacrifice and renewing one’s mind , Romans 12: 1-2) out of the equation.
That is why there are many Judas Iscariot, Simon the magician from Samaria etc in the church today. This is because many believers have partial obedience, to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. And partial obedience is equal to disobedience. There is no crown without a cross, but these crop of believers want a crown without carrying their cross and following Jesus Christ until the end.
Who Is A Christian?
A Christian is a believer who abides in the Word of God and the Word of God abides in him till the appearing of Christ. Otherwise, they are just one of the other types of believers. They were first called Christians in Antioch because they were behaving like Jesus Christ. Not because they were religious, after all, they couldn’t be more religious than the Pharisees and their were also other religious sects at that time. Paul was a Christian, because he could boldly tell the Believers to follow him because he was a follower of Christ. All the apostles were Christians because they gave a good account of the life of God in them. They allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth.
What Is Christianity?
Christianity is conforming to the image of Jesus Christ Romans 8: 29. That you attend church services and very active in the kingdom of God does not make you a Christian, it can make you a type of believer, but not a Christian; which is what I call “conversion without conviction“. That you were born into a “Christian” home does not make you a Christian; what makes you a Christian is behaving like Jesus Christ. Washing yourself with the Word of God and abiding in it and the Word abiding in you till the end.
What makes you a Christian is total separation from the love of this world, and purging your body from all filthiness of lusts/flesh. It is renewing your mind with the Word of God. It is not conforming to the standard of this world, but conforming to the words of Jesus Christ. That is aligning your will and desires with the Word and Will of God.