So you’ve (hopefully) made it through our last two issues discussing our current times’ fear and the importance of our God-relationship in this period. If not, check them out.
This week’s Youth Race is about “Revisiting Rebirth” — everything from repentance to the first spiritual resurrection, the second being in the rapture. Rebirth is a new beginning of something or someone and is often a term used by Christians when acknowledging the “steps to be saved”. Truthfully, the word “rebirth” does not appear in your Bible, however the concept does appear in phrases like “ye must be born again” (John 3:7) and “…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…” (2 Cor. 5:17). But what does a Spiritual “rebirth” truly mean?
When man was shaped at the beginning of mankind, he was created flawless and with a desire to commune with his Maker — God. According to Genesis 3:8, “they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”, indicating that there was an established timeframe in which Adam and Eve fellowshipped with the Creator. However this relationship was severed when Adam and Eve sinned by eating the fruit which God had said not to eat. This sin transferred to every natural birth following, starting with Cain and Abel; God knew man would need a rebirth to properly connect with his Maker again. Fast forward to the introduction of Jesus — the Saviour, Creator, King, and Master wrapped in ONE body. This child was flawless, again, from His birth as a natural man. This natural man, however, had no sin at all; He was God. God as man came to redeem mankind and give the opportunity for rebirth so we might commune with Him again. His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection are recorded in four gospels, but His story is still yet to be finished. He left a pattern for us to follow as we can become His children.
This is where “Rebirth” comes in. You and I, without rebirth, have NO HOPE of a relationship with the King of Kings and, ultimately, NO HOPE of an eternity in Heaven. The pattern He left for us allows us the chance to be free from sin and reconnect with the One who created humanity. How? Well…let’s break down His plan and we’ll see.
First Birth — our natural birth, we are “…shaped in iniquity…” (Psalm 51:5), creating a breach between us and God
Life — in which we begin to realise our need for a Saviour as life can be rotten
Death — the time when we die out to self in repentance to a loving, merciful God
Burial — water baptism in Jesus’ name
Resurrection — the in-filling of the Holy Ghost evidenced in the speaking of other tongues
Ok great. Explain those death, burial and resurrection parts again?
A death to the flesh must come in order for us to be in a place to be refilled. A cleaning of the heart must happen before God can fill and one can be born again. This is done by repenting of, or turning from, your sins. Thankfully, there are no sins too great for our God to forgive prior to coming to the cross as a sinner. Don’t believe me? Check out 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and see if your sin falls under any of those mentioned, then see verse 11 and notice it says, “And such were some of you, but ye are sanctified…”. How? “In the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God”. The spirit of God = the Holy Ghost. Your sin isn’t too big, God’s spirit has all power to forgive and restore. So, after you repent and surrender to the Master, leaving your wicked ways behind and giving your will to Him, you must be baptised and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The burial — baptism and being filled with His Spirit. Baptism is done by complete submersion in water, but it must be done in Jesus’ name (established in Acts 2:38, practised in Acts 19:5). To be submerged means to be completely covered, generally in water (Oxford Dictionary). It is imperative that one is submerged in Jesus’ name, contrary to the beliefs of many who baptise in “the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. This baptism, in Jesus’ name, symbolises burial with Christ into his death (Romans 6:3). Without this form of burial, we have no chance of spiritual resurrection unto life.
The in-filling of the Holy Ghost — the first resurrection. What is the Holy Ghost? The Holy Ghost is God’s spirit as the comforter, fire, and life. This is the first resurrection as it begins new life, or a rebirth of the spirit. Often times, after repentance and receiving the Holy Ghost, people will feel “lighter” as the weight of their sin lifts a little when they turn to God. Baptism seals this feeling when the sinner is washed and able to feel clean, not simply lighter, by the application of Jesus’ name in water burial and the joint spirit resurrection by the Holy Ghost. The in-filling of the Holy Ghost is evidenced by speaking in other tongues (Acts 2:4 & 11, 10:46, 19:6) …which can be confusing if the one receiving is not familiar with any other languages and you are a newcomer. Speaking in other tongues is commonly referred to either as a heavenly language or an unknown tongue. This is a God given tongue that will flow when one has emptied themselves of sin and yielded to the Spirit. It is not understood, nor can it be translated, by an earthly man or woman, but only interpreted under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost itself.
These three primary elements to initial salvation are not all that it takes to be/stay saved, but without these “steps” man has no hope.
What about you? Have you repented, been Baptised in Jesus’ Name, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost?
I hope you have enjoyed this short article. Please drop a comment below to let me know if you would like to continue revisiting essential topics related to living for God.