Born Again: You Were Born Into Adam – Get Over It!
I was reading one of the responses to my last post, and it was a very passionate rebuke that I feel the need to respond to, if only because it comes from a very popular teaching that downplays the work of the cross and the act of being born again.
For the record, I highly encourage you to question what I say. It keeps me on my toes and either helps me find new and better ways to explain things, and sometimes I find out I’m wrong when I’m trying to defend why I’m right.
“This statement is totally off! ‘No longer the offspring of degraded man’. Humanity has ONLY ALWAYS had one Father and He is not degraded! My original design has always been intact. The only thing that needed tweaking was my belief.”
First let me say that there are no hard feelings in this post towards the person I’m responding to.
I only want to elaborate on the point of being born again, because some Christians get really angry if you talk about being born into Adam. Since they feel it’s “insulting” to insinuate that people are born into sin, they look for any hoop to jump through to make it seem like sin doesn’t exist, or that the only issue was the way we thought. It’s another example of how we water things down to make them more acceptable at the cost of truth.
Don’t misunderstand. Jesus dealt with sin. It’s not an issue between man and God, and if you look throughout history, it was always man running from God because of sin, not God running from man (God actually ran towards man from the very first sin!).
Yet, you would be naive to look at the world today and say “sin doesn’t exist.” You would be naive to look at the Nazis or ISIS and conclude, “They’re only acting that way because they don’t know any better!” I finally had to admit that there are actually evil people in this world. Neither Jesus, Paul or any of the Apostles tried to skip around the fact that wicked people exist. It doesn’t mean they are destined to remain wicked, or that they are caricatures of cartoon villains, but wickedness is a real thing nonetheless. It’s not just a set of beliefs, it’s a condition of people’s hearts. However, that’s a topic for another day!
A Difference Between Being Born of Adam and Born Again
The only thing that needed tweaking was my belief.”
If born again meant changing your beliefs, that would be true. Born again means becoming a new creature. The implication of “new” is that there was an old creature that was done away with. We didn’t only need to change our mind, we needed a new mind (2 Cor. 2:16). The implication of an old creature is that it was an inferior creature. Not inferior in that it was worth less, but that it didn’t work to carry out the purposes of God.
Think in terms of how Paul spoke of the old covenant.
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.” – Heb. 8:7
“In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” – Heb. 8:13
If the old creation had been faultless in it’s design and the only thing that needed changing was “beliefs,” then there would have been no reason to send Jesus, through whom we are born again. But in speaking of a “new creation” He makes the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete passes away.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Cor. 5:17
A bit of a disclaimer before somebody hops on what I said above, “If it had been faultless in it’s design,” God created everything faultless—there was no fault in the original design. But everything He designed also became corrupted through sin, which brought fault into the design that wasn’t there (or intended) when He made it. But the original faultlessness of creation doesn’t negate the Fall, where everything became faulty.
Born Again, Because Adam Sinned
The whole idea behind being born again is that we were born of flesh, and Jesus said, “You must be born of the Spirit” (John 3). If we were already born of the spirit and “just didn’t know it,” then there was no point in saying that. But in order to be born of spirit you must be born again.
I’m all for the idea that separation from God was in our mind (Col. 1:21), but we (that is, the old creation) actually inherited something broken from Adam that caused separation from God in our heart. It corrupted more than our thinking, it corrupted our nature so that our minds and our actions were hostile towards him (Rom. 8:7-8).
The Pipeline of Adam vs. The Pipeline of Christ
Imagine all of humanity is water in a pipeline. If in the very first pipe there is a lot of rust, then any water that flows through that pipe is going to get polluted. You could trace that water back to its origin in the reservoir before it ever gets to the first pipe, and you can find that it’s absolutely pure. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that as soon as the water goes through that first pipe, it gets polluted.
Now God created humanity perfect, and Adam was to be the first pipe laid through which the rest of humanity would flow and nourish the rest of creation. But that first pipe became corrupt, ensuring that everything that flowed from it also inherited the pollution, and the rest of creation was poisoned as a result.
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…”
Then what did God do? Ignore the pollution and say, “Well when I created them they were just fine, therefore they are just fine, they just don’t know it!” No. He completely removed the old pipeline full of rust (Adam) and put in a brand new pipeline that is rust-proof (Christ), so that now any water that flows through this new pipeline retains the purity of its origin.
“…so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
What it Means to be Born Again
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 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
Born again is a transfer of genealogies. No longer can I be traced back to God through the long and tedious history of human ancestry, eventually going all the way back to Adam, but now I’m traced directly back to God through His Spirit. I’m no longer born of flesh, I’m born of spirit. The same way Jesus doesn’t have a physical genealogy, but was conceived directly through the Holy Spirit. That’s what happened when you got born again. It wasn’t merely a new set of beliefs, but a new birth altogether. It’s wasn’t just scrubbing the rust out of the pipes, but scrapping the old pipeline altogether and transferring us to a brand new pipeline.
“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,” – Col. 1:13
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
Why Is This Important?
It’s important to understand that Jesus didn’t only come to give us a new set of beliefs, but to give us a whole new identity—to recreate us as a whole new creature. Yes! We can technically say that it was the original identity we had been given in the beginning, but it was still one that was lost through sin.
It wasn’t only that our beliefs got messed up, our entire nature did. The good news is that the corrupted nature wasn’t merely changed, it was destroyed, so that in the new nature we could receive the new mind with its new beliefs and behaviors that flow effortlessly from the unpolluted pipeline of Christ. And now we can live happily ever after with him without being hostile in our minds and hearts towards him.
“When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised,’ but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.” – Col. 2:11
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” – Gal. 5:24
If you know of any other Bible verses that speak clearly of our transference from darkness into light, post them below!