“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

3.5 You Are Born-Again

(You Are Now an Infant in Christ)

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

WELCOME NEW BROTHER OR SISTER IN CHRIST! It is at this point (after belief, repentance, confession, and baptism) that you have been “born again” – you have “put on” Christ and been raised up “a new creature [person]” in Christ, being “born of the Spirit” in accordance with New Testament Scripture. While you were a captive to sin, Satan and death, you are now a captive to Christ in life, for Jesus has “led captivity captive” and “redeemed” you (purchased you back) from death to life; as the Psalmist says: “He restores my soul.”

You have been redeemed from spiritual death to spiritual life and have had your sins forgiven by the blood of Christ; your sins have been removed “as far as the east is from the west.” You have also “put on” Christ in righteousness and have been given spotless “clothes of white” to wear and are as a “virgin” again with regards to sin – “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow.” So, rejoice greatly; for God Himself, the Creator of all the universe, the God of everything from eternity past to eternity future now has a personal relationship with you through the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” You are now reconciled to God by and through the “blood of Christ.”

How awesome, staggering and stunning! And not only has God (your “heavenly Father”) forgiven your sins, but He also now calls you His friend, and even more, He calls you His own son or daughter as you have been adopted into His very own family! You are now a brother or sister of Christ Jesus Himself, and indeed, you are also now a “fellow heir” with Jesus. Amen and amen!

Being born again, you were also translated into the “Kingdom of God” and are now part of the worldwide body of believers called simply the “Church of God” or the “Church of Christ,” who are your brothers and sisters. There is only one worldwide “Church of Christ,” founded by Jesus, which has local gatherings in each city (or locale). The many sects and denominations that you see today are not biblical. In fact, Jesus stressed and prayed for unity and not division among His followers. Please also see the chapter on Finding a Church.

YOU ARE AN INFANT IN CHRIST

Remember from an earlier chapter I explained that being born again is only the first step (but by far the most important step) on the path towards final salvation and eternal life with God and His Christ in heaven – it is at final salvation when you receive your “crown of life.” Said another way, being “born again” is a necessary but not sufficient condition to receive the gift of eternal life! The way it is often taught and preached in modern, so-called “reformed,” liberal (and apostate) “Christian” churches leads many to conclude wrongly that being born again is the only step they ever need to take to gain eternal life, but that is not what the Bible teaches.

As a new believer, you are just an “infant in Christ,” a new baby Christian if you will, immature in the faith, and you must “press on to maturity,” for it is written:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. – Hosea 4:6

Therefore My people go into exile [destruction] for their lack of knowledge. – Isaiah 5:13

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away… – Hebrews 6:1-6a

Scripture is very clear that Christ doesn’t expect you to remain a baby Christian forever. You must “press on to maturity” by “growing in grace and knowledge [understanding] of the Lord,” and you do that by reading and studying Scripture daily. Do not remain ignorant of the full teaching of Scripture; you must know all of what Scripture teaches, for it is written: “the sum of Your word is truth.” Your “lack of knowledge” can enable the “ravenous wolves,” “vipers,” and modern-day “Pharisees” to “lead you astray” and “take you captive” (to their false theology) and still even now turn you out of the “straight and narrow path” to eternal life!

Yes, you must “contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all time handed down to the saints” and not be tricked into following “another gospel which is not another” (i.e., the many false teachings of man). If you fail to “press on to maturity,” Scripture is clear you are at great risk of “falling away,” backsliding, going apostate, or quitting the faith – i.e., turning back from following Christ to return again to your old sinful ways and the ways of this world “like a dog that returns to its vomit.”

I hope you are sensing my urgent plea that you continue on, for you are only just starting to “fight the good fight of faith.” You see, I also once started out here as you are now, and I fell away, so I know that the risk and the danger are very real. Please, brother or sister in Christ, “press on to maturity” in faith and towards your ultimate goal of eternal life! You have only just now started your Christian journey which actually lasts the rest of your lifetime…and you must not take your salvation for granted. Scripture exhorts us to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” “be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you,” and “finish the course [race].” Always remember that we are just “pilgrims” (“sojourner,” in “exile,” “stranger,” “foreigner”) here in this world; for the Christian, “our citizenship is in heaven,” not here on Earth.

In the next section of this book, we take a much deeper look at the Christian life, “the way” of a Christian (which lasts the rest of your lifetime), so you don’t “come short of” your ultimate goal – which is “eternal life” with God and His Christ in heaven. I do not want you to “die in the wilderness” for lack of knowledge and understanding of the complete New Testament plan of salvation and knowing what God expects.

FALSE TEACHING(S) YOU WILL ENCOUNTER:

RELATED SCRIPTURE:

…for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. – 1 Peter 1:23

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:3-9

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20

…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. – 1 Peter 1:18-19

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He [Jesus] made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. – Colossians 2:13-15

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. – Galatians 1:3-5

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:9-14

“I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud,
And your sins like a heavy mist.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah 44:22

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions [sins] from us. – Psalm 103:8-12

For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more
.” – Hebrews 8:12

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. – Ephesians 1:3-14

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. – Romans 6:17-18

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. – 1 John 3:1-3

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-13

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:12-13

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. – 2 Peter 1:1-11

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. – Hebrews 5:11-14

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” – John 15:4

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. – Philippians 3:20-21

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course [race], I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. – Romans 13:14

Therefore it says,

When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men
.” – Ephesians 4:8

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean…
Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow.” – Isaiah 1:16,18

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all time handed down to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into indecent behavior and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. – Jude 1:3-4

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Timothy 6:12-14

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. – Philippians 3:20-21

…be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:14-18

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