What Does it Mean to be “Born Again”?
And What Good are the Ten Commandments
if We Can’t Obey Them?
Lorraine Day, M.D.
Millions of Christians identify themselves as being “born again” Christians. But from where is that term derived, and what does it really mean?
There are three Bible texts that speak of being “born again.”
“Jesus answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
“Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again.” John 3:7
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, that lives and abides forever (for the eons). 1 Peter 1:23
In each text the literal translation is “to be generated from above.”
“Except a man be generated from above, he cannot see (spiritually understand) the kingdom of God.”
Because Jesus has told us that the kingdom of God is “within you,” the phrase “to be born again” or more accurately translated, “to be born (or generated) from above,” means to have the character of Christ living in us. This occurs when we become a “new Creature (or creation) in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“And when He was asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God does not come by observation (You can’t see it with your eyes).
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or lo there!, for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
“And He said unto the disciples, The day will come when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you shall not see it.
“And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there; do not go after them, nor follow them.
“For as the lightning, that flashes out of one part under heaven, and shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. Luke 17:20-24
In denominations such as the Evangelicals, Assembly of God, Pentecostals, the designation of being “born again” is defined as “receiving the Holy Spirit” or “having the gift of the Holy Spirit” or “having the gift of tongues” or “speaking in tongues.”
But this blatantly “sensual” (“soulish”) interpretation is clearly false, and stems from an unregenerate heart of one who doesn’t understand spiritual things. The Bible tell us:
“The natural man does not receive (cannot understand) the things of the Spirit (Breath) of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know (understand) them, because spiritual things are spiritually (only) discerned (understood).” 1 Corinthians 2:14
The word “natural” in this text is the word psuchikos (#5591 in Strong’s Concordance) and is a derivative of the word psuche (#5590 in Strong’s Concordance), which means “physical life” the life we live by breathing in physical breath. This is opposed to “spiritual life” the word zoe (#2222 in Strong’s Concordance) which pertains to the life of Christ in us “eonian life” (persistently mistranslated in the Bible as “eternal life.”)
The Bible translators make no distinction between the two words, psuche (physical life) and zoe (spiritual life Christ living in us), leading to major errors in doctrine. The word psuche refers to physical life a life that is physical and temporary from which we die a physical death. The word zoe does not mean “eternal life” living forever. It means a Spiritual life the life of Christ in us.
Neither Bible translators (presently or in the past) nor Christian theologians understand this distinction. They translate psuche as a physical - and temporary life, from which we die a physical death. They then translate zoe as a physical life that never ends. It goes on forever and is referred to as “eternal life.”
But the words “eternal life” (or eternity or forever, or forever and ever) never appear in the Bible. They have been “written in” by the translators. The correct words are “eonian life” which refers to a spiritual condition of Christ living in us.
Paul writes of this eonian life repeatedly, including the following passage:
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
The Bible translators and Christian Theologians make this major error because they do not understand a primary rule of Bible interpretation: The FIRST is always physical, and the SECOND is always Spiritual.
This rule of Biblical interpretation is given by Jesus Himself in his conversation with the Pharisee, Nicodemus (in John, Chapter 3), when He spoke of the first birth as a physical birth, and the second birth (being born “from above” or being “born again”) as a Spiritual re-birth.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh (the first physical birth): and that which is born of the Sprit is spirit (spiritual the second birth being ‘born again’).” John 3:6
Jesus then went on to chide the Pharisee, Nicodemus, for his lack of understanding of the Scriptures:
“Are you a master of Israel, and you do not know these things?” John 3:10
Jesus’ words are just as true today when spoken to the present-day Bible translators, pastors and theologians who also do NOT “know these things.”
“Are you a pastor, or theologian, or a Bible translator, or you consider yourself a leader in the Christian community, and you don’t know these things?”
They do not understand this important Rule of Biblical Interpretation: The FIRST is Physical; the SECOND is Spiritual.
The First birth, a physical birth, can be detected with the five senses by a soulish man or woman, one with no Spiritual understanding, because the First birth (a baby being born) can be seen, heard, and touched.
However, the Second birth, being “born again,” CANNOT be detected by the five senses. It can only be “seen”(understood) by those who understand Spiritual things. One can see the results of a change in the person’s heart, things that cannot be detected with the five senses.
Paul also confirms to us this Rule of Biblical Interpretation, in 1 Corinthians 15:44-47:
“It is sown a natural (soulish) body: it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural (soulish) body (the FIRST), and there is a Spiritual body (the SECOND).
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (physical): the last Adam (Jesus Christ) was made a life-giving spirit.
Howbeit that which is spiritual was NOT first, but that which is natural (soulish): and afterward that which is spiritual.
“The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy (made of dust). The second man is the Lord from heaven.”
This Biblical Rule of Interpretation is one of the most if not the most important Rule of Interpretation of Biblical truth, because it was given not by man, but by Jesus Himself, and followed up by Paul, the apostle and author of most of the New Testament.
“Natural = Soulish”
This word, “natural”, also means “soulish” a condition of having the five senses (sensual): the ability to see, hear, touch, taste and smell.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
God did NOT give Adam a “soul.” Adam became a “soul.” The Bible refers to all living creatures who have five senses (birds, fish, beasts and man) as “souls.” After God breathed breath into Adam’s body (which was made from the soil), Adam was alive and had the ability to see, hear, touch, taste and smell. He had the five senses. Adam became a (living) “soul.”
“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead [man]: and every living soul died in the sea.” Revelation 16:3
A “soulish” man is one who has the five senses. Or more Biblically correct, a “soulish” man is one who only understands by his five senses. He can only understand what he sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells. He has no spiritual understanding whatsoever, because spiritual understanding comes only from God.
Only when God opens the mind and heart can one understand Spiritual things the meaning of the words of Scripture. The “soulish” man cannot understand the things of the Bible. They are “foolishness” to him. (1 Cor. 2:14) The unregenerate heart cannot understand Spiritual things.
Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus that even though he was a “master in Israel” a supposed spiritual leader, Nicodemus was unable to understand spiritual things. He had “sense knowledge” only.
In John 3: 11,12, Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, We speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen; and you do not receive our witness.
“If I have told you earthly things, and you do not believe, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly (spiritual) things?”
These words of Jesus prove without a doubt that being “Born Again” is a Spiritual change of heart that cannot be detected with the five senses. Therefore, it is obvious that the “speaking in tongues” that is practiced by the Evangelicals and Pentecostals - - - the same “speaking in tongues” that is practiced in Satanic Voodoo a cacophony, defined as a harsh discordance of sounds of hoots, cackles and wails is chaotic and demonic and is the opposite of the Biblical definition of being “Born Again.”
Being “Born Again” or “Born from Above” denotes a change of heart, a change of character in which the Christian exhibits the character of Christ, the author of wisdom, sanity, peace, and calm.
What Good are the Ten Commandments if We Can’t Obey Them?
The entire Old Testament is a chronology of the Israelites leaving God, the Israelites being conquered and enslaved by a heathen nation, then Israel being rebuked by a prophet raised up by God and urged to return to God, then Israel finally returning to God only to repeat the cycle over and over again.
Why did the Israelites repeatedly turn their back on God? Why could they not keep His Commandments, particularly after the many miracles God had performed for them while delivering them from slavery in Egypt, bringing them miraculously through the wilderness, and taking them into the Promised Land as He had promised?
Why were they consistently unable to obey the Ten Commandments?
Because the Law - the Ten Commandments - was written on stone and not in their hearts.
God’s plan was to write the law (His Ten Commandments) in their hearts when He told Moses that He wanted to talk to the people directly at Mt. Sinai. But the Israelites were afraid of God, because they did not understand His character. So they did not want Him to talk to them directly. They preferred to have a human intermediary Moses. They said to Moses,
“You talk to God, then you come and talk to us and we will listen. But don’t let God speak with us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:19)
So, without the law “written on their heart” they did not have the character of God within them. Therefore, they had no power to keep the Ten Commandments. They could “hear” the law, but they could not “do it.” And thus, they could not be justified (set right) with God.
For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Romans 2:13
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20
It is true that the “just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38) but does that make the law void? Not at all.
Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:31, and
“Faith, without works, is dead” (James 2:20)
Faith, without the actions that correspond to that faith, is of no account. If one truly believes (has faith), then one will act on his belief. If a person says he believes, but his actions do not correspond to what he says he believes, it is obvious that he does not believe.
A person will act on what he believes!
The old adage is true: Actions speak louder than words.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Romans 5:20
The law tells us what sin is. But the law cannot give us the power to keep it. Only Christ living in us can give us the power to keep the law.
Romans 5:20 tells us that we cannot “out-sin” grace. “Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” It is through our mistakes that we learn to do right.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
The law tells us what IS sin. But if we only have the law and no power to keep it we become rebels, we become rebellious toward God. But when Jesus comes into our heart, He changes our character so we no longer have the inclination to break the law. We obey the law because that becomes our very nature.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Romans 6:15
When Jesus is living in our heart, when He has written the law on our heart, when our nature and character have been changed, we will have no desire to sin. That is the definition of grace.
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
Our “flesh” is powerless to keep the law. Only when God’s breath of holiness comes into our life and gives us eonian life the life of Christ in us are we then able to keep the law.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:5
We are “delivered” from the law, because now by our very character we have no inclination to disobey. We have a new spirit (breath) the breath of holiness (mistranslated Holy Spirit) which allows us to keep the law.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:6,7
The law is not sin. The law tells us what sin is. But the law cannot give us the power to keep the law. Only Christ living in us can give us the power to keep the law.
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. Romans 7:9
If all we have is the law to tell us what big sinners we are, but cannot give us the power to overcome sin we are dead in our sins.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin that is in my members.
Our flesh is weak and we cannot overcome sin until we have the life of Christ in us.
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:21-25
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:2-7
Our flesh cannot obey the law. Only the life of Christ in us gives us the power to keep the law. This is the definition of “grace.”
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone. Romans 9:31,32
Because the Israelites wanted a human intermediary (Moses and later - the Priesthood system) and refused to allow God to run their lives directly, God had to write the Law on Tables of Stone. Throughout hundreds of years, the Israelites repeatedly wandered away from God because they had no power to keep the law.
Only after Jesus Christ, the Messiah, came did the people realize the difference between having the law on stone versus having the law written on their hearts, with Jesus living in them.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Romans 10:4
Jesus Christ is the “end of the law” because when He gives us the power to keep the law perfectly, the law no longer has authority over us. Laws only have authority over those who do not keep the law. The “law” has no authority over the person who is obeying the law.
Jesus Christ IS the Law the Ten Commandments in human form. He is/was the walking, talking Ten Commandments. His life exhibited the character of perfection, the character of one who keeps the law perfectly.
When Jesus Christ is living in our heart, we are no longer “under the law” because the “law” has no jurisdiction over us, because we are keeping the entire law by our very nature.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ died in vain. Galatians 2:16-21
If we could become righteous by keeping the law under our own power, there would have been no reason for Christ to die.
When Christ died for the sin of the world, He paid the penalty for sin. He then had the authority to save mankind. His death on the cross allowed Him to come into every person’s life, to change their heart, to change their character so each one can have the power to keep the law.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: Gal 3:10-13
The “curse” of the law is that it can only tell us what sin is. The law cannot give us the power to obey it. Only Christ living in our heart can give us that power.
What purpose then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
The purpose of the law is to teach us what sin is. But when the “seed” (Christ) came, He could give us eonian life His life His nature the power to keep the law.
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life (eonian life zoe), verily righteousness should have been by the law.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:19-24
The Law is our schoolmaster, pointing out for us what is sin. When we realize we are sinners and unable to overcome sin on our own, that helplessness will bring us to Christ.
But if ye be led of the Spirit (God’s breath of holiness), ye are not under the law. Galatians 5:18
The fruits of the Spirit (God’s breath of holiness) are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faith, meekness, self control:
“. . . against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:23
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people: Hebrews 8:10
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them: Hebrews 10:16
The Ten Commandments define sin to us. They show us what we should do and be. But they cannot give us the power to keep them.
Only when Christ puts His laws into our hearts and minds will we have the power His power to keep them.
This is the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant was the Ten Commandments the Law written on stone. The people had NO power to keep them.
The New Covenant is the SAME Ten Commandments the Law now written in our hearts signifying that Christ is living in us. It is HIS power within us that allows us to keep the law.
Only when Christ comes into our heart and replaces our stony heart with a new heart, only when Christ writes the law on our hearts and in our minds, can we obey His Ten Commandments.
It is impossible to obey the Law of God the Ten Commandments unless we have eonian life, the life of Christ in us. When Christ is living in us, when we are “born from above,” when HIS character has replaced OUR character, we will have no desire or inclination to sin.
When Jesus is making every decision in our life, we will no longer sin.
And the only way to obtain that power is through diligent, daily Bible study and prayer.
“But we all with unveiled faces beholding, as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit (breath) of the Lord.” 2 Cor 3:18