Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, “Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.(John 3:5-6)
FOR ALL HAVE SINNED
Originally, man was created by God in the likeness of His image (Gen 1:26-27), a "theophany-man". That man was a “spirit-man”, perfect in the sight of God. It was sinless before God, until God created him a body out of the dust of the earth for his soul to dwell in (Gen 2:7). Then, that natural body fell by transgression.
Our natural life here is nothing but a perversion. It really should be the right Life to begin with but it was perverted by the natural birth – a curse which resulted from Eve’s illicit affair with the serpent. Man is not supposed to die nor even get sick for he himself possesses eternal life to begin with, which is the very Life (zoe) of God.
But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Word, all men born of a woman, from then on, were considered “born in sin, shaped in inquity, came to this world speaking lies”, all sinners in the eyes of God.
Man was not supposed to be born through sex. That was never God's program. God originally created man just by calling him out of the dust of the earth. That's how God created the first man, Adam. And that's how God intends it to be. In the first resurrection, God just speaks their names and the dead in Christ shall rise first from the dust of the earth.
Original life, then, was perverted when the serpent unveiled sexual reproduction to mankind. It was the result of Eve partaking of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
In our first life or our first union, we were joined in at birth by nature. A natural act, man and woman together, associated in sexual affair which brought our first life here. That life is associated with sin and death. “Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) That's why, we need to be born again. We need to be reunited with our original nature - the nature of God.
According to the Scriptures, “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. And because we are ALL sinners by virtue of our natural birth - we are all under the curse of death. We needed a Saviour, one born by a Virgin birth and not by sexual conception, to bypass the curse. Jesus is that Kinsman Redeemer, a Perfect One, not born of sexual union but God's own pure blood (hemoglobin and egg) transplanted in the womb of a virgin. Jesus is the Just One who laid down His life as a Perfect Sacrifice (in our place) to satisfy God’s righteous Law, to justify us, and to redeem us back to God again. Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour did that for us. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled. In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Col. 1:21-22).
THREE STAGES OF THE NEW BIRTH
Just like the natural birth, the New Birth undergoes three stages – water, blood and spirit.
When a woman gives birth to a child, the first thing that comes forth is water, then blood, then life (spirit). Being born again is a similar process with three stages: (1) Justification by Water, (2) Sanctification by the Blood, and (3) Baptism of the Holy Spirit. These three consists the New Birth in a person.
The same process goes even for the earth's redemption. The earth was baptized in water in the days of Noah. It was then sanctified when the blood of Jesus Christ was shed on Calvary's hill. It will be baptized with the Holy Fire of God during the Battle of Armageddon, before God can finally dwell on it during the Millennium.
Just the same way, before God can ever dwell upon a person through the baptism of the Holy Ghost (man- being a temple of the Holy Ghost) that man needs to undergo these three stages. Justification, sanctification, and Holy Ghost Baptism. God will not dwell upon a filthy, unconverted sinner. Man needs to repent of his sins, be forgiven, be cleansed, be justified, be sanctified, before the Holy Ghost, can ever dwell upon him.
FIRST STAGE - JUSTIFICATION
The first work of God’s grace in the sinners life is Justification.
Romans 3:24 tells us that we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. Therefore, God sovereignly and freely justifies the sinner by calling him/her by the preaching of the Word to acknowledge that they’re sinners, and to repent and receive Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord. Through the blood of His own Son, God looks beyond our sin, not laying it to our charge, and offers us (free of charge) salvation and deliverance from the power and influence of Satan and the old sinful nature of our flesh - this is Justification. He declares us righteous in Jesus Christ, and through the Gospel He invites us to accept [take possession of] His free gift.
Justification by faith requires believing the Word, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth” (I Peter 1:22). Then, Repentance and Water Baptism must follow it. Acts 2:38 states: “Repent, everyone of you and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Repentance is “sorrow for sin”, “a complete turning away from sin”, and such a “regret over one’s sins so as to decide to change one’s ways’”... “laying aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21-22).
Scripturally, repentance has three main elements: (1)conviction, (2)contrition and the (3)desire to be changed.
Conviction is God’s red flag of warning us that we are going in the wrong direction. Being born in sin, we continue on in sin, doing that which is right in our own eyes without due regard for what God requires in His Word. Therefore, God, through the preaching of the Word, brings conviction that we need to change our ways to line up with His Word. 1 John 1:8-10 states, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. “
Contrition is a “sincere sorrow”, a godly sorrow and brokenness for our sins (2nd Cor. 7:10). The Bible says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalms 34:18). Contrition is a sincere regret over past sins and an earnest, humble desire to walk in a new path of righteousness, according to the instructions laid out in God’s Word. Contrition includes ‘humbling’ ourselves to God’s ways. When we stand at the Cross of Calvary and see what our sins cost God, our hearts should be broken and contrite - humbled; and we should cry out like the Publican cried, “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). The Bible tells us that when Peter considered how he had ignored and denied the Lord three times, he went out and wept bitterly because of his sin (Matthew 26:75).
The Desire To Be Changed: This is the third element of “Repentance”. It is the desire for God to change your thought pattern, change your attitude, change your ways, change your motives and objectives in life, to conform to His ways and His will for you. In 2nd. Corinthians 7:10 the Bible says, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.”
SECOND STAGE- SANCTIFICATION
The second work of God’s grace in the sinner’s life is Sanctification.
The Bible says, “For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification... that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” (1st. Thess. 4:3-4) “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”. (2nd Thess. 2:13).
Sanctification is that grace whereby, at the time after repentance, the vessel of the individual’s life is “cleansed” from all past sins and unbelief and he/she is “set aside for service”. In the experience of sanctification, the individual feels swept, clean, fresh and garnished. All the bad habits and vices are being taken away slowly and the individual’s mind is set towards a life of holiness by the Holy Spirit. The principle of sin [by which we previously lived] is cast out. It’s an absolutely wonderful experience, creating in us the desire to always live a holy and sanctified life for the Lord - always doing what the Word [Bible] says.
THIRD STAGE - BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The third work of God’s Grace in the sinners life is the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In Acts 1:8 it says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me”.
From these verses we conclude that Jesus Christ alone is the “Baptizer” with the Holy Ghost; and this Baptism is a Baptism of “Power”. It is a portion of the life of God coming into the believer to guide them into ALL Truth (John 16:13) and to give them power over all the power of the enemy and to be witnesses of Him and His Word. We can find that even though Apostle Peter was called of Jesus Christ and was given the keys to the kingdom, yet we read in the Bible that Peter still denied Jesus Christ three times before the cock crowed. That is because Peter did not have the Holy Ghost yet during that time and he still have to wait for the Day of Pentecost in order to receive the Promise of "fire" baptism in his soul. So we can conclude from here that a man can be baptized in water and be sanctified, yet without the Holy Ghost baptism, he can still deny our God and compromise with His Word. We need the Holy Ghost baptism in order for us to be "more than conquerors" in Christ Jesus. The Holy Ghost is also that "oil" that makes the wise virgins qualified to go into the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Those that are without the Holy Ghost will be left behind in the Tribulation Period, weeping, wailing and gnashing their teeth.
The Holy Spirit is our power over the world (worldliness), the flesh (self) and the Devil. He enables us to live daily for God - making the Word flesh in us. It is the “law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus which hath made me free from the law of sin and death”. (Romans 8:2). The Baptism of the Holy Ghost continues the work of Sanctification, separating us daily, from the world and the things of the world. The Holy Spirit (in us) creates in us a “hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God”.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost seals us into the mystical Body of Christ. The Bible says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13). In the Baptism of the Holy Ghost the believer thus becomes the “Temple of the Living God”. 1st Corinthians 6:19 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” The Holy Ghost goes right into the soul, moves the old nature aside and takes control, governing our lives, not according to the dictates of the old fleshly nature of our natural birth, but according to the dictates of our new nature. Now, our lives become living epistles of the Word of God - read and known of all men (II Corinthians 3:2-3).
The Holy Ghost will also make the promises of God in Mark 16;17-18 a reality which state this, “And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe; In my Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Every true Christian ought to undergo these three stages of the New Birth for Jesus Christ Himself said that “except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
If you have the Baptism of the Holy Ghost you will LOVE the Lord; believe ALL His Word and with His help, OBEY it, and you will manifest the “fruits of the Spirit”. Don’t try to have any sensation or anything to take the place of the Holy Spirit. When the new birth has come, you are changed. You don’t have to do anything to prove it, your life proves it. As you walk, you are filled with love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, patience, that’s what you are. And the whole world will see the reflection of Jesus Christ in you. (Galatians 5:22-23). Look at the kind of person you were and then look at what you are now - see if there’s a change - see if you have indeed received this “LIFE-CHANGING experience” of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost - an experience that makes you “spiritually minded”, not just “religiously inclined”. Check up on your relationship with God to see if you put more emphasis on the WORD of God than you do the church you attend; see if you really believe the WORD more than you do a man-made dogma or creed; see if you are really LIVING every day for the Glory of God, giving Him the pre-eminence in ALL that you do.
THE NEW BIRTH: SABBATH TO OUR SOUL
The Christian faith is based solidly upon REST.
A born-again Christian is not tossed about. He doesn’t run from place to place or fuss and fume and worry about things. A Christian rests. It’s all over. It’s all finished for the believer at Calvary. Sickness, trials and disappointments may come, but the Christian is at rest knowing this, that God’s able to keep that which He has promised, knowing that no matter what the thing is, or how it looks, there’s neither sickness, sorrow, death, starvation or anything that can separate us from the love of God that’s in Jesus Christ. We are at rest. That’s the New Birth. That’s our Sabbath. “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” that’s Jesus’ promise to us (Matt. 11:28). “Let us (therefore) lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith” (Heb 12:1-2).
One can only receive the New Birth if their life is expressing the PRESENT TRUTH which is the Word-Message of the Hour that’s allotted by God for the day in which we live in. Jesus said that the evidence of the New Birth is when the Holy Spirit guides you into ALL TRUTH revealed for your DAY and reveals what will come to pass in your age (John 16:13).
If you haven’t received the Holy Ghost yet, and you want to receive Him into your life, I encourage you to follow Peter’s instructions in Acts 2:37-38, and do as those in the House of Cornelius in Act 10 - Hear the Word, Believe the Word, Receive the Word into your heart and be baptized in the NAME of Jesus Christ by immersion. Rest assured that the Holy Spirit will come to your heart if you will believe all the Word and allow Him to LIVE His Life THROUGH YOU!
BEWARE: BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST IMPERSONATED
In relation to the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, the Bible forewarns us of the coming of false christs and false prophets which are to deceive the very elect of God if it were possible (Matt. 24:24).
They will try to impersonate the gifts of the Holy Spirit to sway people into believing that they are genuinely called. Just as Jannes and Jambres impersonated Moses by producing snakes in the sight of Pharaoh, these people will also be like Balaam who will have access to signs and visions yet their folly will be made manifest. These kind of people will seek after fame, popularity and money, thereby making the Word of God a commodity. Truly, they are called “false anointed ones” in the last days.
THE WHEAT AND THE TARES
In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares of Matthew 13:24-30, we are taught that both the wheat and the tares received the same RAIN and the same SUNLIGHT to make them grow. The RAIN and the SUN in the parable symbolize the Holy Spirit. The RAIN falls on the just and the unjust which means that the Holy Spirit can anoint and make a person do things, but that does not mean that the person is saved. Think of Caiaphas; he prophesied exactly regarding the death of Jesus Christ. Judas, who was one of the 12 apostles, went along casting out devils and healing the sick in Jesus’ Name, yet he was the “son of perdition”.
The Spirit can anoint these people yet that does not mean that they’re saved. The weeds can rejoice with the wheat. But it's what it is at the core (soul). Christians can act like they're Christians, and act and be ever so good at it, but that doesn't mean they're saved. The Spirit can be there, the real genuine Spirit, but that still don't mean they're saved. Only the souls of those individuals who are predestinated by God before the foundation of the world can truly receive the genuine Holy Spirit Baptism.
NOT EVERYONE THAT SAITH “LORD”
Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name? and in thy Name have cast out devils? and in thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:21-23).
These people are anointed yet are false. Remember, the weed receives the same power that falls on the wheat to make it grow, makes the weed shout, too. The little old weed stand right up and just as happy as the wheat is and lives by the same life. And a sinner can stay in the Presence of God, shout the victory, and live like a Christian. But if there isn't something different in the heart, He could have the same power to cast out evil spirit. Jesus said so. He can preach the Gospel just as good as any other preacher can do. The Bible teaches it. Yes, sir. "Though I speak with tongue of men and angels, though I give my body to be burned as a sacrifice, though I give an my goods to feed the poor, though I have faith to move mountains, I do all these things, I preach in His Name, I cast out devils in His Name," he said, and still "I am nothing." So a man could do it, and still be "nothing." (1 Cor. 13).
People can be anointed by the Holy Spirit in their outside body realm and spirit realm, but only the Bride of Jesus Christ can be truly baptized by the Holy Spirit in the soul realm where the predestinated seed of God in the individual person lies.
In the last days there's going to be only two classes of people. One of them's going to have the Seal of God, the other one the Mark of the Beast. If the Seal of God is the Baptism of Holy Ghost, then without the Holy Ghost is the Mark of the Beast. The Bible said that the two spirits would be so close together, it would deceive the very Elected if it was possible. But it'll never do it, because the true born-again Christians were elected to Eternal Life before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).