Please note that throughout this document, “Gk.” indicates a Greek word and/or a definition for a Greek word. Greek is the original language of the Bible’s New Testament. Also, all Scripture quoted in this study is from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.
John 1:6-13: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born [Gk. parts of speech = “aorist indicative passive” = non-continuous action], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
—Those born of God are the sons (and daughters) of God.
John 3:1-8: “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus [Gk. “Nikodemos” = victor among his people, distinguished], a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born [Gk. parts of speech = “aorist subjunctive passive” = simple, non-continuous action] again [Gk. “anothen” = anew, from above], he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born [Gk. parts of speech = “aorist subjunctive passive” = simple, non-continuous action] of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born (Gk. parts of speech = “aorist infinitive passive” = punctiliar, non-continuous action) again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect participle passive” = stresses the state brought about by the finished results of the action] of the Spirit.”
—We must be born a second time of the Holy Spirit in order to take our place in the eternal kingdom of God.
Galatians 4:22-31: “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born [Gk. parts of speech = “aorist participle passive” = simple, non-continuous action] after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
—The children of promise are born of the Spirit and are not in bondage.
1 Peter 1:18-23: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible [Gk. “phthartos” = perishable, corruptible, (material)] things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation [Gk. “anastrophe” = move about, effectively means manner of life, behavior, conduct] received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned [Gk. “anupokritos” = genuine, sincere, unhypocritical] love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect participle passive” = stresses the state brought about by the finished results of the action] again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
—We are born again by the Holy Spirit and the word of God that brings salvation and purification of soul, and that equips us to obey the truth and fervently love one another.
1 John 2:25-29: “And this is the promise that he [Jesus] hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce [Gk. “planao” = cause to wander, lead astray] you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect indicative passive” = completeness of action or finished results] of him.”
—To be born of God includes abiding in Him and living righteously.
1 John 3:7-15: “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect indicative passive” = completeness of action or finished results] of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect indicative passive” = completeness of action or finished results] of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
—Those born of God do not sin, and they love their fellow mankind.
1 John 4:7-13: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect indicative passive” = completeness of action or finished results] of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [Gk. “hilasmos” = expiate, appease, reconcile, (means by which sins are forgiven)] for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
—To be born of God is to love both God and man, and to be directed by the Holy Spirit.
1 John 5:1-7: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect indicative passive” = completeness of action or finished results] of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten [Gk. parts of speech = “aorist participle passive” = simple, non-continuous action] of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [Gk. “barus” = heavy, burdensome, severe].
4 For whatsoever is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect participle passive” = stresses the state brought about by the finished results of the action] of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
—Being born of God is tied to loving God, keeping God’s commandments, and overcoming the world by faith.
1 John 5:16-20: “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. 18 We know that whosoever is born [Gk. parts of speech = “perfect participle passive” = stresses the state brought about by the finished results of the action] of God sinneth (Gk. parts of speech = “present indicative active” = something which is occurring while the speaker is making the statement) not; but he that is begotten [a Gk. parts of speech = “aorist participle passive” = simple, non-continuous action] of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
—Being born of God leads to discontinuation of sin.
1 Peter 1:1-5: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten [Gk. parts of speech = “aorist participle active” = simple, non-continuous action] us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
—Being begotten of God and sanctified by the Spirit leads to obedience for those who have an inheritance reserved for them in heaven.
Based on all the verses presented so far, some key themes linked to being born again include: being sons (children) of God, entering God’s kingdom, being led by the Holy Spirit, knowing God, keeping God’s commandments, and overcoming the world. The following passages and verses address some of these elements.
Sons (Children) of God
Romans 8:13-16: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
—The sons (children) of God are led by the Holy Spirit and are adopted into God.
Philippians 2:12-16: “Wherefore, my [Paul’s] beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
The sons of God are directed by God, blameless and harmless, and shine as lights in this evil world. (Note that Paul said he would know, in the day of Christ (the Second Coming), that his evangelistic labor was not a waste. This sentiment confirms that we are not conscious in death, or Paul would have known his work was effective many, many centuries ago.)
1 John 3:1-3: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
—God manifests His love for us to identify us as his sons. The sons of God purify themselves.
Characteristics of Those Who Enter God’s Kingdom
Matthew 18:1-4: “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted [Gk. “strepho” = to turn , change], and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
—Humility precedes entrance into the kingdom of heaven and remains in effect for those who are saved.
Matthew 7:21-24: “Not every one that saith unto me [Jesus], Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”
—Knowing (connecting to) the Lord and doing the will of our Heavenly Father is vital for entering and remaining in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:2-20: “And he [Jesus] opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot [Gk. “iota” = the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet, and related to the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet] or one tittle [Gk. “keraia” = horn, point (small hook or stroke, as in the tip of a letter)] shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
—Attributes connected to entering the kingdom of heaven include being poor in spirit, living righteously – though it may result in enduring persecution – and teaching and doing God’s commandments.
Led by the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 3:14-19: “For this cause I [Paul] bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth [Gk. “platos” = breadth or width], and length [Gk. “mekos” = length], and depth [Gk. “bathos” = depth, (metaphorically: greatness or immensity, overarching dimension, vastness)], and height [Gk. “’upsos” = height, elevation]; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Let’s cooperate with the Holy Spirit who will progressively provide us with strength to live according to God’s bidding, and will fill us with Divine love. (Note: It may seem strange that in verse 18 above, there are FOUR dimensions instead of the usual three measurements used to describe the volume of an “item.” It turns out that the Greek word translated “depth” has a metaphorical meaning that relates to vastness or greatness that here denotes the overarching immensity (seemingly beyond human comprehension) of the love of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 6:15-20: “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I [Paul] then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
—To be Spirit led is to glorify God in both body and spirit, including avoiding fornication.
John 16:7-14: “Nevertheless I [Jesus] tell you [Jesus’ disciples] the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
—The Holy Spirit is called the comforter who also convicts of sin, leads us to righteousness, shows us God’s truth, and glorifies Jesus.
Romans 8:3-10: “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: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity [Gk. “echthra” = hatred, hostility] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
When the Holy Spirit directs our lives, we will tend to keep God’s law, live spiritually minded, and experience fullness of life and peace. Those who say that the Ten Commandments are not a New Testament standard for holy living, are effectively stating that they are living as carnal flesh, and thus are in hostility against God, that is, they are lost.
Knowing Jesus and God
John 17:1-9: “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
—Knowing God and Jesus is equated with believing in them, receiving and living according to Jesus’ words, and someday experiencing eternal life.
1 John 2:1-6: “My [John’s] little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [Gk. “parakletos” = intercessor, comforter, encourager] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation [Gk. “hilasmos” = expiate, appease, reconcile, (means by which sins are forgiven)] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
—Knowing Jesus is tied to keeping His commandments, experiencing the fullness of God’s love, and living as Jesus lived.
John 15:7-14: “If ye abide in me [Jesus], and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
—Abiding (knowing/connecting) with Jesus is tied to keeping His commandments and loving other people.
2 Thessalonians 1:2-10: “Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We are bound [Gk. “opheilo” = owe, be under obligation] to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet [Gk. “axios” = fitting, appropriate, worthy], because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction [not destructing] from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”
—Those who will be lost, that is those who will not enter God’s eternal kingdom, are the ones who know/knew not God.
We close with an admonition to overcome the sin and folly of this world:
Revelation 3:19-21: “As many as I [Jesus] love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup [Gk. “deipneo” = to dine, eat the chief meal] with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh [Gk. “nikao” = conquer, prevail, subdue] will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
—This is a precious promise stating that those who overcome the sinfulness and temptations of this world, will sit with Jesus on a heavenly throne. (In other passages included in this study, the Holy Spirit is presented as a supernatural being who will strengthen us to support our victory over sin.)
Only those who become “born again” – of the Spirit – will exist in God’s eternal kingdom, and thus experience eternal life. The act of being born again appears to occur within a short time span, just like the physical birth all mankind experiences.
Being born again represents a new positive life direction in stark contrast to our natural (carnal) mode of living. Born again individuals are characterized by loving God and their brethren, knowing and obeying God’s truth, living righteously, overcoming sin which includes the evil practices of this world, staying humble, remaining free from fornication, engaging in the ongoing process of purification, and serving as lights in a spiritually dark world.
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