Deep within the being of every person is a God-shaped vacuum that cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator.
When God created the human race, it was His ultimate purpose that we would glorify Him1 by fulfilling two of His greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”2
As the Author of life3 and love4, God created us to be His representatives on earth—to bear His image5 without being Him. In His infinite wisdom and creative genius He made us with a body, soul and a spirit6, a three-part nature as illustrated below:
Everything inside the “red” circle represents the soul and spirit of man. The soul is divided into three parts: the mind (intellect) to understand divine precepts; emotion (feelings) to express ourselves; and will (freedom of choice) to comply with the will of God.
The inner circle represents God giving us a spirit to be spiritual beings and have a unique relationship with our Creator.
Thus, it was God’s ultimate purpose that mankind would be His image bearers on earth through whom His love, ways and purposes would be reproduced and reflected. But, what happened? How could we have drifted so far from God’s original design?
The Fall of the Human Race
The answer is found in the third chapter of Genesis where the crafty serpent—the incarnate Satan—used his subtle temptations of intellectual pride and sensual gratification7 to deceive our first parents, Adam and Eve. They willfully turned away from God and shifted their allegiance to Satan by (1) disobeying God’s command to not eat the forbidden fruit8, (2) believing Satan’s lie, “you will be like God,”9 and (3) placing their own wills above God’s will10 which is rebellion.
The consequences of Adam’s and Eve’s actions were horrendous: they were immediately separated from God11. The Creator’s love and likeness in them was lost, and their consciences became defiled and shamed. Their happiness turned to misery, and their comfort was replaced with pain, disease and death. The Creator’s light (righteousness) that had originally shined into their souls was replaced by darkness—depravity—that overcame their entire being (illustrated by darkened horizontal lines in Figure B):
These consequences didn’t just affect our first parents but rippled down through the ages, distorting, darkening, and corrupting every soul that has ever been born, without exception. This original sin has been transferred from parent to child in every generation, making us all fellow participants:
“Just as sin entered the world through one man
(i.e. Adam), and death through sin, and in this way
death came to all men, because all sinned….” Romans 5:12
Therefore, we humans could no longer experience the true love and abundant life God intended. Fortunately, this is not the end of the story.
Although we do not seek after God in our depraved condition12, God, in His infinite love, does seek after us. From the very beginning God had a plan to recreate us into His original pattern. As soon as Satan inflicted his mortal wound on Adam and Eve, our Creator God provided His remedy. He promised to send His Deliverer to “crush” Satan’s head13.
Jesus Christ, this Deliverer, would become the sacrificial Lamb of God, taking upon Himself the punishment for our sins. The prophet Isaiah described it this way:
“He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed” Isaiah 53:5
This is the glorious Gift of Christmas—God’s Redeemer for helpless humanity! Just as the Father created light out of darkness by commanding, “Let there be light,”14 He sent His Light, the one and only Son of God—Jesus—into this world. This was God’s divine plan for restoring us unto Himself, that “through [Jesus] all men might believe… [for] the true Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”15
He gave us this promise:
Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believe
in His name, He would give the right to become
the children of God—children born not of natural
descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s
will, but born of God. John 1:12,13
But how can we be “born of God” when we are so rebellious—“dead in [our] transgressions and sins?”16
You Must be “Born Again”
Just as the Great Creator of life created man from the dust of the earth by breathing into him the breath of life17, He is the only One who can recreate us from our totally depraved nature. This occurs when we repent and believe the Good News of Jesus18.
“ …no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3
When we are convicted by the Holy Spirit19 that we are guilty of sinning against God, and then guided by the Spirit into genuine repentance (a radical change of mind), and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are “born again.”20 Repentance is essential: for Christianity to be life-changing, it first must be mind-altering. This second birth is an immediate and supernatural act by the Spirit of Christ as He draws us from spiritual deadness into a new life in Christ. We are cleansed instantly from all our sins21. At the same moment, the Spirit supernaturally gives us a new nature and we become new creatures in Christ: “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone and the new has come.” (II Corinthians 5:17)
Notice in Figure C how the Cross acts as a bridge. When we place our faith in Jesus, the One who took our punishment, He transforms us from our old sinful nature into fullness of life with a new nature. For Christ Jesus declared, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Old Nature New Nature
Simultaneously, the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence22 within us and reconciles us to God for all eternity. He, the Spirit of Christ, becomes our internal Navigator—vectoring, enabling and empowering us to be God’s image bearers to fulfill His will, purposes and pleasures.
Life after the Second Birth
The circle on the left represents the darkness, depravity, self-absorption, ungodliness and rebellion that characterizes a life without Christ. The circle on the right represents who we are after the second birth, living in the fullness of the Spirit of Christ and fulfilling His will and purposes.
Which circle represents your life?
We can be forgiven of our sins and recreated into the image of our loving God so that we experience the ultimate purpose of life. The following prayer captures the attitudes of the heart and mind that accompany the second birth:
Almighty God, I acknowledge that I am a sinner.
I repent of my wretched deeds and self-serving life.
Even though I deserve eternal punishment, I ask for
Your mercy and grace. I ask that You cleanse me
with the precious blood of Jesus and take me as
Your adopted child for all eternity. I believe Jesus died
for me on the Cross and rose from the grave; that He paid
the penalty for all my sin.
I ask that You, Jesus, would become my Lord and Savior.
Cause me to love You with all my heart and to love my
neighbor as myself. Help me to live for you through the
enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
And as an act of faith, I thank you for hearing and
answering the plea of this repentant sinner. I pray
this in the name of Jesus, who is the living and risen
Savior of the world and is now my Savior and Lord! Amen.
If you have sincerely prayed this prayer, whether just now or at some moment in the past, you are a new creature in Christ! The Bible promises:
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.Romans 10:13
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the
Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you
who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you
may know that you have eternal life. I John 5:12,13
Receiving the second birth is just the first step. As followers of Christ, we need to grow in our new life. Here are some suggestions:
If you are interested in learning more about faith in Christ or have already experienced your second birth and would like additional resources to help you grow in your relationship with Christ, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us through this site and share your experience.
1 Isaiah 57:7 | 2 Matthew 22:37-39 | 3 Genesis 1 | 4 I John 4:16 | 5 Genesis 1:26 | 6 I Thessalonians 5:23 | 7 Genesis 3:5,6 | 8 Genesis 2:17 | 9 Genesis 3:4,5 | 10 Genesis 3:6 | 11 Genesis 3:23 | 12 Romans 3:11b; Psalm 14:2,3; Ephesians 2:1 | 13 Genesis 3:14,15 | 14 Genesis 1:3 | 15 John 1:7b, 9 | 16 Ephesians 2:1 | 17 Genesis 2:7 | 18 Mark 1:15 | 19 John 16:8a | 20 John 3:7 | 21 Romans 8:1; I John 1:7-9 | 22 Romans 8:9-11