Except a Man Be Born Again

Have you ever wondered if someone was really a Christian?

You see regular signs that they’re not. Perhaps there’s a lack of interest in obeying Christ. Perhaps there’s situations where you wonder, “Can a Christian really be that mean on a regular basis?”

I suspect we’ve all encountered people like that.

The problem is that they’re regular church attenders. They pray. They give whenever a collection is taken. They do all the right religious things. How could they not be a Christian?


Have you ever considered just whom Jesus was talking to when he said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”?

This was a Pharisee; and not just any Pharisee. This Pharisee, Nicodemus, came to Jesus at night to learn from him.

He was doing all the right things. How could Nicodemus not be heading for the kingdom of God?

Examine Yourselves; Whether You Are in the Faith

Each of us are told to examine ourselves. Doing the right things is not enough to know that we are born again or that we are in the faith.

Remember the rich, young ruler. Here’s a guy who had kept the commandments from his youth. Now he was on his knee, asking Jesus for eternal life. The Scripture says that Jesus loved him.

He went away sad.

Doing the right things is not enough to know that you are in the faith. You must be born again.

There is a fellowship with God that delivers from sin. It changes and transforms those who enter into it. According to Scripture, it is “his divine power” that has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness.

Religious People

Religious people abound. The fact that someone is religious does not establish that they have the Spirit of God.

You may or may not know this, but it was normal for religious Jews under the Old Covenant to be without God’s Spirit. Only priests, prophets, kings, and a certain few special people received the Spirit of God under the Old Covenant.

The promise of the New Covenant is that everyone can receive his Spirit, from the least to the greatest.

That is our goal. Our goal is not being good and having the right thoughts. Our goal is to be born again and receive the Spirit of God.

Only as we walk in the Spirit can we overcome the flesh. It is true, we must be born again.

And being religious–or even outwardly righteous–does not make us born again.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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