The new birth in Christianity is of extraordinary importance. But as in Jesus’ time, many believers apparently misunderstand the “born again Christian”.
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Born again probably badly misunderstood
The statement of Jesus Christ, that the door to the kingdom of heaven is only open to those who are born again, probably left a shining question mark over most of the heads of the contemporaries. Even the “respected” and undoubtedly Pharisees did not understand the “rebirth”.
So in John 3:3:
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The Pharisee Nicodemus asked how it was possible to be born again. As an adult, one cannot simply return to the womb. Nicodemus completely ignored the spiritual aspect. It was symbolically described by Jesus Christ. The “rebirth” happens through the acceptance of Jesus Christ, repentance, a request for forgiveness of sins, the symbolized death and the equally symbolic resurrection through the Baptism. You surrender your life completely to Jesus Christ. The self-righteousness of the Pharisees consistently prevented such a view and thus also knowledge. Accordingly, they also taught the people the “legalities” without necessarily sticking to them.
Legalism has given way to experience
It’s the same today as it was then, only with the difference that “lawfulness” has now been replaced by “experience”. One must be able to “feel” the belief and experience the “enlightenment”. The charismatic movement that really got going after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s did a great job. This is reflected today in the Christians who feel “born again” but obviously have no idea of Jesus Christ and His way of salvation.
Minority believes in the sinless life of Jesus Christ
This is shown by the recently published results of a study carried out by “The American Worldview Inventory 2023” in the USA. According to this, only 44 percent of the “born again Christians” surveyed still believe in a sinless life of Jesus Christ. In the previous poll in 2020, the proportion was 58 percent, as “The Christian Post” reported. The belief in a life of Jesus without him violating one of the commandments has thus continued to decline in the past crisis years.
Way of salvation is clear and simple
The poll result is actually awesome. Another necessary question would have been how these respondents define “born again” at all with their belief in a sinful Jesus Christ. The “spotless one-year-old lamb” already demanded in the Old Testament as a sin offering symbolized the equally spotless Jesus Christ. A single sin of Jesus would have been enough to make the only possible way of salvation maintaining the righteousness of God. There would have been no alternative and humanity would have been hopelessly lost. Only through His innocence (“unblemished”) did Jesus Christ buy with His own sacrifice the right to be able to pardon us sinful people while maintaining justice.
Anyone who calls themselves “born again Christians” and assumes that Jesus Christ – possibly only as a founder of a religion like many others – walked through His relatively short life in a sinful manner, simply has not understood the gospel. In the case of emotional enthusiasm instead of faith, the Word of God (=Bible) takes a back seat anyway. These “believers” seem to be dealing with an emotionally “New Age” infused Christianity.
Bible verses from King James Version