A Question I Was Asked:

Could Not Being 'Born Again' Just Refer to our Future Resurrection?

Could not being 'Born Again' just refer to our future resurrection? Why is it assumed to refer to our Christian conversion? I think of this: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22). That sounds like being 'born again,' but it surely it refers to the resurrection of the dead.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Yes, I too once thought that way but I was wrong. No, being 'born again,' or, 'reborn from above,' refers to true Christian conversion. However, of course, this eventually leads to the believer's resurrection. So, being 'born again' now - in this life - starts a process which results - or culminates - in the believer's resurrection, but the process starts right now in our hearts and minds when we accept Christ.

Let's see what Paul the Apostle writes about this:

4. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5. made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. 6. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7. in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - 9. not by works, so that no one can boast. 10. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-10).

But notice there: "...made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.." - And God "raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, .." That leaves us in no doubt that we are - in a very real sense - 'made alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions' in short, - right now, and "...raised up with Christ..." even right now. Paul does not separate these things in Romans 8 either. Rather, being raised in the believer's resurrection to life when Christ returns, is the culmination or logical outcome of all these things, yet being 'born again' happens now - in this life.

3. Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." 4. "How can someone be born when they are old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born!" 5. Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:3-8).

Jesus' words to Nicodemus make it plain that the process must start in this life; sure, the full results are seen in the resurrection of believers (non-believers are also to be resurrected but without any particular promises, they will be wholly reliant on God's mercy), the whole message of the Gospel is that the entire Christian believer process starts in this life.

28. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30).

So the process of being 'born again, or, 'reborn from above,' starts in this life with our calling, and then a positive response to that calling.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:44, NIV throughout).

Robin A. Brace. April 26th, 2016.