definition: par•a•digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm')

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this blog is four-fold:
to recognize that every person functions within a basic paradigm, which affects how all information is processed;
(2) to understand the paradigms of others;
(3) to discuss, in particular, paradigms which are related to science, religion, and philosophy.

(4) to reveal the paradigm shifts in my own life, a process that has completely changed the direction and purpose of my existence.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to convince anyone that their paradigms or beliefs are correct or incorrect. I am hoping for an honest dialog, but the discussions must remain respectful of others, even if there is profound disagreement. If any comments are not respectful, they will be removed.
(Revised 1/13/09)

Friday, January 25, 2008

What about being "Born Again" ?

The phrase "born again Christian" is frequently either misunderstood or downright despised by people outside evangelical Christian culture. I would like to present both points of view. This post will present one side; the next post will present another.

First of all, it is important to realize what this term "born again" means, in a biblical sense. The Bible teaches that new birth in Christ involves 4 specific things:

  1. A person acknowledges and confesses to God that he is a sinner;
  2. That person prays for Jesus to come into his life;
  3. He accepts the pardon for sin that Jesus paid by giving His life;
  4. After this, the person is considered to be "born again," because, at that moment, the Holy Spirit is said to come to live in and along side him.

Theologically and doctrinally, it is a little more complex than that, but one main point is, that once someeon has been "born again," all sins--past, present, and future--have been atoned for. That does not mean that the consequences have been eliminated--only the penalty. A second important point is, that the Holy Spirit begins to exert considerable influence on the day-to-day life of the new believer: certain compulsions may be eliminated; new talents and interests may be discovered; a keen awareness of God's presence begins; and a new desire to please God is usually awakened.

Here are some key Bible passages about being born again:

  • "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12,13 [NKJV]

  • "Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?' Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. ' " John 3:4-6 [NKJV]

  • "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' "Acts 2:38 [NKJV]


Brother Mark said...

Most Christians are not aware of how serious it is to add to what Jesus Christ has finished! It is the difference between whether or not a person is saved. It is the difference between heaven and hell- (the second death).

The salvation that God has provided through Jesus Christ is by grace. "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9)." Acts 15:11 says, "But we believe that through the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved." Eternal life is not received by, attained by, or kept by a person's works, conduct or behavior. We are saved by grace through faith.

Grace by definition excludes all works. "And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work (Romans 11:6)." One work added to grace would render it no more grace. If you were to add one drop of poison to a glass of pure water, it would render it no more a glass of pure water: but a glass of poisoned water. The gospel of the grace becomes poisoned when just one human work is added to the plan of salvation.

THE GRACE TEST. What is the grace test?

soulandsubstance said...

Brother Mark--I assume that you are not implying that it is possible to lose one's salvation, once you have been born again. Virtually all Christians have a tendency to "try to be good" by doing "works" for God, and have to be reminded frequently (by God) that it is God's works, not our own, that are important. There are numerous biblical references about salvation being "once for all" through accepting Christ's atoning sacrifice, and that it is not possible to be removed from the "Lamb's Book of Life," once a believer's name is recorded there. Here are the passages I found that seemed the most relevant :
John 10:28-29
Ephesians 1:4
Hebrews 9:28
Hebrews 10:9a,18
Hebrews 10:22,23
Revelation 1:5b
Revelation 3:5

Brothermark said...

You are 100% correct about that.
You cannot loose your Salvation.

It's just so many have been fed Religion and don't know the true free gift of pardon and being born again.

The purpose of my blog is to get even one to understand that which you discussed.


Brother Mark said...

That's the helmet of Salvation.
An important part of the armor of
God. Put it on and you can't loose Salvation.

BrotherMark said...

Brother Mark--I assume that you are not implying that it is possible to lose one's salvation, once you have been born again.

No, I agrre 100% with you about Salvation. That's what the Armor of God is talking about with important
piece...the Helmet of Salvation.

Once born again, you cannot loose the free gift of Salvation.

soulandsubstance said...

I am including the scripture passage from which Brother Mark's quote is taken. This passage says that the believer's only real strength is "in the Lord and in the power of His might." Paul, the writer of Ephesians, tells us that the purpose of putting on "the whole armor of God" is "that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil," NOT so the Christian doesn't lose his salvation.
Ephesians 6:10-17 (NKJV)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;"
The believer, then is told to "take up the whole armor of God, that [he] may be able to withstand [i.e., the "wiles of the
devil"] in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Using the analogy of the armor used by a soldier/warrior of Paul's day, spiritual truths that help someone resist the powers of darkness and wickedness are identified with specific parts of the warrior's armor.

(1) "Truth" is analogous to the girth, or weapon-belt, upon which all the other components of armor rest. Truth is the foundation upon which all of God's principles rest. Like a girth, it also holds the armor, or God's principles, together.

(2) "Breastplate of righteousness"-- Like the breast plate in armor, which protects the heart of the warrior, which pumps the life-blood, righteousness protects the figurative heart of the believer. Without righteousness, the believer has very little to protect him from the influences and temptations of the world.

(3) Feet--"shod... with the preparation of the gospel of peace"-- Notice that Paul does not say just "peace" or just "gospel of peace," but "the preparation of the gospel of peace." In other words there is preparation in advance for the upcoming battle. The warrior puts on protective boots, because the feet, which are easily injured, must remain functional in order to keep the warrior upright (standing) and to allow him to walk toward or away from the enemy. The "gospel of peace" is the teaching of Jesus. In order to be prepared for the war with evil, the believer must know the teaching of Jesus so well that it will support him and keep him upright in the fiercest battle.

(4) "Shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one"-- A shield is a movable protector, a weapon used only for defense. Satan throws small, unexpected attacks that start as a small fire, but so easily end as a conflagration, if we don't have enough faith to deflect them and nullify their effects.

(5) "Helmet of salvation"-- Salvation itself, for the believer who has accepted that gift, is the helmet that protects the head. The head directs every process in the body. The head is also the seat of the soul, through which the believer is in communion with God. Salvation is another defensive piece of "armor" that affords protection against attacks from the devil. Salvation IS the protection. It is not the thing that keeps itself from being lost.

(6) "Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"-- Note that this is the only offensive weapon in the entire suit of armor. In God's armor, the "sword of the Spirit" is Jesus Christ, called "The Word" in many locations in the New Testament (see John 1:1). Jesus Christ is the only one that does the fighting for the believer. Everything else simply allows the believer to defend himself. It is Christ (the Sword/ the Word) who does the fighting.

BrotherMark said...

I do not believe a born again can loose their salvation and didn't mean to imply the helmet of Salvation had anything to do with it.

Am confused on your point?
Do you believe a born again can loose their salvation? I don't.

BrotherMark said...

I believe what the article is saying is that If someone adds anything to
what Christ did on the Cross, they may not really be born again, even though they might think they are.

I believe that if a person is born again, they cannot loose their

What do you believe?

soulandsubstance said...

My apologies for the criss-crossing of some comments. Just to clarify--I do NOT believe that it is possibly to lose salvation once truly born again. Although I initially misunderstood what Brother Mark was saying, he has clarified what he meant, which is that he, too, does not believe it is possible to lose salvation. There...It's straightened out. Thank you for persevering.

Dr. T said...

Few have a true understanding of the experience of being born again, even among those who claim to have done so. My own rebirth was not a joyful experience -- it was in fact quite painful. But the result was joyful, and continues to be.

soulandsubstance said...

Dr. T--I know many who would agree with you.