I have spoken on this subject several times through out my website, but have not devoted a page to it.
I have recorded a video based on the teachings of The 2 & a Half Tribes that didn't Cross Over and the page Believing vs. Being Born Again (found on this page). You can view/listen to the video at the bottom of this page.
There is an argument amongst different denominations about this subject. Whether a person is saved by simple belief in Christ or whether they need to be water baptized and/or walk in a renewed life. Some denominations claim that water baptism by sprinkling upon an infant produces the regenerated spirit.
Let's take a look at this subject through scripture and not let the traditions and ideas of men hinder the process.
I first wish to discuss the difference between the salvation of the spirit and the salvation of the soul. That subject touches this, but this subject is not focused on such. I discuss the salvation of the soul here:
Man and God are both triune beings and thus man must be saved on all three levels:
1 Thess 5: MKJV
23 ¶ And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blamelessly at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some will claim the spirit and the soul are the same but as seen above they are different. As well as here:
12: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
To learn more about this, see the Salvation of the Soul page, through the link above.
The question before us is at what point is the spirit saved? This is a valid question and must be looked at through scriptures and through the principles of God.
First let's look at how one "came to God" in the Old Testament and see how it "shadows" the work of God today. For we know that the Old Testament is full of examples of how the way of God was a shadow of the New Testament and God's ways.
2: A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
5: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Lets look at this "shadow" and see if we can parallel the truths into New Testament understanding.
The sanctuary or sometimes called the Tabernacle of Moses consisted of a tent inside an area blocked off by curtain walls. See the picture below.
The tent is made up of 2 rooms; The Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place or sometimes called The Holy of Holies. And outside is called the Outer Court. The 1st piece of furniture in the Outer Court is the Brazen Alter (in the picture it's called Alter of Burnt Offerings-different translations give it a different name), then comes the Laver. Inside the Holy Place is the Candle Stick (pictured as the Golden Lampstand) and the Table of Shewbread. In the Holy of Holies is the Ark of the Covenant, that which was seen in the Indiana Jones movie.
I have created a 3D interactive Tabernacle with insights of the Temple furniture, however due to a lack of interest and the need to own an older video game, I no longer will be supporting it. But it is FULLY operational, and more info is available here:
To come to God, one must go through Christ. He is the sacrifice. One comes to God by believing in the Work Jesus did on the Cross and who He is. This is the work of the Brazen Alter. Thus anything besides that would be a "dead" work, and thus we know salvation is by grace and not by works. As I describe here:
Anything beyond that in the Tabernacle, is a work toward the salvation of the soul and sanctification, not of righteousness, for Jesus is our Righteousness.
The 2nd piece of furniture in the Outer Court is the Laver. It was here that the priests would wash themselves from the sacrifice they made on the alter (the 1st piece of furniture). It is here that we wash ourselves. As we enter into the water, we realize that the penalty of sin is washed away by the work of Christ (a realization of the 1st piece of furniture), and as we come out of the water we are new creatures in Christ.
This realization of a previous work done is in scripture:
Rom:6:11: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How are we new? How does this take place? It is the born again experience. It is a work of faith, through reckoning or realizing what Christ had already done.
This Laver also is symbolically represented in our water baptism. If you have not been water baptized in full submersion, I suggest you do so as soon as possible. This water baptism is not a requirement, but the spiritual significance of it, is a requirement of a different matter, not salvation but the rapture, as seen here:
It also is a requirement to enter into the Kingdom of God, the government of God, or simply new Jerusalem.
3 ...Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
5 ...Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
So we can see that believing and being born again are 2 separate acts shadowed through the workings of the Tabernacle experience. Many people, but not all, do experience both in a very short amount of time, some almost instantaneously.
We can also see this reflected in the nature of natural child birth. First is the conception, secondly is the birth. Most christians today believe abortion is wrong, because it is the killing of a human, a baby.
The same is true spiritually, many christians have been conceived but have not been born spiritually. Denying them their salvation is spiritual abortion. But scripture says we cannot do this:
6: But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7: Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
When we believe in Jesus and His death for our sins, we become conceived spiritually. Jesus seals us with His Holy Spirit and His incorruptible seed, the Word of God is implanted in our heart. But, such people need to be born again. They are conceived, but not born again yet.
12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
As a person who has already believed and probably confessed your belief in Christ, you must take the next step. You must give your life to God. Be the sacrifice on that Brazen Alter symbolically.
Rom 12: MKJV
1 I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.
Then you must...
Rom 6: MKJV
11 Likewise count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rom 6:6: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Realizing this truth:
Gal 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
How do you do this? Start with a prayer. Something like this:
I come to you, to offer my life, not only do I believe in You; in your crucifixion, and your resurrection; but I believe I died with you on the cross. My sin has been paid for, and I also have the resurrected life in me. I offer myself to you, to let You live through me. I will submit to your Holy Spirit to lead me into truth and away from sin. Lord, You are my Shepherd, and I will trust you to lead me to life eternal. Today, I not only call you Savior, but I make You Lord of my life.
In your Holy name I pray,
When a believer is conceived, he has responsibility on what he will do with the Word of God in his heart:
Math 13: NKJV
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
When the Gospel is preached, demons or their work are often present, reasoning away the Gospel message. So many shortly after they believe, disbelieve once again. But can a fetus, deny anything? Thus salvation is not lost. Even young children who are born, can rebel and deny a parent, but that does not change their genetic heritage. They still remain an offspring.
Math 13: NKJV
20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
This represents many many saved believers. At some point in their life, they accepted the truth of Jesus as dying for their sins. It may have been as a child, in Sunday School, or older in church, or even at an evangelical crusade. But they never fed the truth or accepted any teachings to allow the seed to produce any fruit. These "believers" or "christians" are pretty much fruitless, the only thing separating them from the unbelievers is that they believed and a plant began to grow, but it died, before bearing any fruit.
I was such a believer once. Somewhere about the age of 8 years old, I believed in the work of Jesus. I went to a Lutheran church which taught me a lot of the Bible, but I was given no teachings that helped my faith grow. Or I failed to see them. Eventually, my faith became bankrupt as a teenager. You can read my story here:
Briefly, without delving to deep into this subject, the seed that produces no fruit is paralleled in this statement by Jesus:
John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
We are born sinners, our bodies cannot be saved, instead they will be changed at the Resurrection, until then sin remains in our flesh although the work of the cross has unemployed it. When we believe in Jesus our spirit is regenerated. It is new, but our soul remains carnal and our flesh remains unchanged. To produce fruit, it starts with confession, that confession begins the renewal of our mind. It is further illustrated even by Jesus with the breaking of the alabaster box to anoint Jesus with the precious perfume. See here:
It is the breaking or dying of the outer to let the beauty of the inner come out, in other words, to produce fruit. But in this case, it is simply accepting the work of the cross, that not only did Jesus die for your sins, but you died on that cross as well and that now you are a new creature.
So, I am not speaking of denying one self, for the salvation of the soul (which should occur later in your walk), which is this paralleled even further, but simply a belief and confession of what Jesus did with us on the cross.
When we believe in Christ He then seals us:
2 Cor 1: MKJV
22 And He has sealed us and having given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Eph 1: MKJV
13 in whom also you, hearing the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation, in whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Let's look at another scripture here:
1 Pet 1:
21: Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
That verse shows us the point we are saved, spiritually. Let's see where this goes:
22: Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
Now, this is a point where the soul is purified, in obedience. Thus obeying God in water baptism is important. Let's go on:
23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
We see here, that one gets born again by the incorruptible seed. We see that we gain this seed as shown in Math 13. But what will those who get the seed do with it? Sometimes the plant dies. But I do not believe this is a loss of salvation as Jesus said He will not lose any. The seed remains. The seed is eternal, it is incorruptable. It can spring up again!
Jn:6:39: And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Many will claim they were not saved in the 1st place. This violates Rom 10 as shown earlier, and scripture says the belief produces the seal, as well as the many scriptures saying belief will save.
16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
But please note that such persons are NOT Born Again nor are they to be found in the Kingdom:
It is not up to any person to say if another person believes or not. I cannot deny someone's salvation nor can I claim anyone other than myself as saved. But each person can have the security of their own salvation.
1Jn:4:13: Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn:5:13: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
I wish to briefly discuss being born again. Since we are working by faith and scripture says we do work out our salvation, we know there is a work process. The child has no part in his conception, but the mother and the child work in the birth. Thus the salvation of the spirit is by grace but the salvation of the soul is by work.
But let me clarify. It is really the Word of God working in us, and we obeying it in submission. Again I suggest reading my salvation of the soul page. Thus it is through faith in what God has done for us, recognizing it, confessing it, that will produce the born again experience and thus we then walk in it. The mother of coarse, is the church and God is our Father.
A believer cannot know the Father until he is born again. The same is true in the natural. Until the baby is out of the womb, it cannot know the father. Although it can hear Him. Though it will not understand Him.
Once we are born again, we know the Father by obedience to His will and walking out our faith.
21: Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
Heb:12:8: But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
A bastard is a person who has no father (does not know his father). Thus the above verse shows you also can be saved, but not born again.
1: Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2: But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
6: And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7: Wherefore you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
I am painfully aware, that the believer who has not crossed Jordan believes he has. Just as the 2 1/2 tribes did indeed cross Jordan into the promised land to fight the enemies of God and help the other tribes but did not live there had this problem. If you do not know what I am speaking on check out this page of mine:
You can read about some of this in the book of Joshua chapter 22.
Religious obedience may sometimes interfere with our relationship to God. Religious obedience has throughout history caused men to believe they are obeying God when they are not. This is due to traditions of men, law, and dead works.
Here are some tips to help you decide if you have indeed crossed Jordan and have been born again.
1. Is your faith full of merit badges?
Some people think they have something because they are good, have done some deed or deeds, belong to a church, or have done or been a part of something. To those who have crossed over, this seems haughty and prideful, because our salvation has NOTHING to do with us, and everything to do with God. If your defense on this subject deals with the lack of good works in others, or the lack of holiness in others, this is a problem in you. You are attempting to compare yourself with others.
2 Cor 10:12: For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Having crossed over and being born again, does not require an obstacle coarse or test. You don't have to be better; better than before, better than others. Christ, Himself, is our righteousness. Works and holiness are indeed important. But these 2 things do not have any inclusion about salvation and being born again.
2. Are you set in because of your obedience to rules or laws?
Make no mistake, even 1 failure of any law causes you to be a failure of all laws.
Jms:2:10: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
21: But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, ...
22: Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference...
Paul said that before he was saved and born again, he had kept all the laws and was perfect in the eyes of men. Yet he was a failure before God.
3: ... have no confidence in the flesh.
4: Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6: Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Making a religious decision to obey God or His laws or rules does not make you Born Again. Yes, there is a choice involved, the choice is to accept Christ and what He has done for you. Also involved, is choosing to walk in the truth of what He has done for you. Remember it is the actual choice, not any percentage of success in the matter. One may find he is unable to walk in newness of life because he is imprisoned or immobile in a hospital bed or other reasons. The process of salvation also is a continual work for the soul, and is a life long work of renewing the mind, which means we will fall and sin. Being Born Again is not a percentage of being able to walk without sin. Whether you think that percentage is 51%, 99%, or 100%. It is a choice to believe God's Word on these matters.
One is not more born again than another because he is more obedient to God. This is like saying that a baby who is 5 days old is more of a person than one who is 2 hours old. Or like saying one is more human because he can walk 2 miles on ice without falling than the others who can't walk 10 feet. Or saying one child is more related to the parent than another because they obey more.
Success in one's walk does not equate to being saved or born again, but it does equate to sanctification. But one cannot be sanctified until after he is saved and born again. Many in the church today, bypass the Foundations of Christ and seek to enter in the more meaty matters. This will produce a spiritual house that will not stand.
21: 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.
22: 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?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26: And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
This sending away, Christ speaks of in verse 23 is believed by many of those sent into hell or the Lake of Fire. This is NOT true. This is the separation of the sheep from the sheep:
Ezek 34 NKJV
17 "And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.
2 Tim 2: (MKJV)
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.
Many in the church today are putting the cart before the horse. You cannot build your sanctification or your works for God (ministry) without 1st crossing Jordan. Jesus will NOT recognize it and it will be burnt up, yet you will be saved.
1 Cor 3: MKJV
12 And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble,
13 each one's work shall be revealed. For the Day shall declare it , because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try each one's work as to what kind it is.
14 If anyone's work which he built remains, he shall receive a reward.
15 If anyone's work shall be burned up, he shall suffer loss. But he shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
Here is another way to see if you are Born Again:
NKJV John 3:
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
5 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.
Belief in Jesus by knowledge is of the flesh. Yet, if we believe because the Bible tells us so, this will produce faith. (Faith comes by hearing the Word of God - Rom 10:17) One must work the faith and walk in faith to be Born Again. Let's continue in John 3:
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
These 2 verses speak of the confusion others who are not born again have of those who are. If you do not understand their ways or the spiritual things in scripture, it is a sign you may not be born again.
20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
When you are born again, you may still have sins, for sin nature still abides in you, but you will no longer walk in sin and practice it continually. Those still in the womb, are in darkness, they must be born again to come into and live in the light. Crossing Jordan into the Promise Land, and being satisfied with God's lot for your life is part of the Born Again experience. The breaking of the Jordan waters, is like the breaking of the water from the womb. It leads you into the Promised Land.
When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he was concerned about them returning to the law to finish their faith. I spoke on this above. Working laws to accomplish your salvation is unacceptable and will not get you Born Again:
19: My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
20: I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
21: Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
You see Paul was travailing again, to birth them. We know they are saved, because this is written to the church in Galatia. He doubted their Born Again experience as seen in verse 20. So some declare that such folks were never saved in the 1st place, but these verses show they were not Born Again, separate from salvation.
To learn about Walking in the Spirit, click the link below:
I have recorded a video based on the teachings of The 2 & a Half Tribes that didn't Cross Over and the page Believing vs. Being Born Again (found on this page). You can view/listen to the video at the bottom of this page.