The time has come to change the tone of the column and cease from the polemic nature of the subject matter and offer a more positive and constructive view of "what saith the scriptures". The next series of columns will therefore deal with, "How to become a True Christian".
The readers of the column should find the future presentations much more palatable and beneficial than before.
The requirements of a "True Christian"
The first instructions of Jesus Christ, concerning a would-be follower to his teachings were given to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. As a result of his inquiry, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God". John 3:3
Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus meant by being "born again". Jesus went on to explain that being born again did not pertain to a natural physical birth. He explained in his enigmatic way that a follower of his must be born of a spiritual birth, and become a spiritual being as well as a human being. This is verified by a careful analysis of his continued explanation as well as other scriptures in the Bible, which we will get to in further analysis.
Jesus continued in his answer to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit (spiritual birth), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
He went on to explain a spiritual birth by saying, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh (a human being); and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (a spiritual being). Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit". John 3:5-8
This was Jesus' way of explaining the only method to enter into the kingdom of God which is a spiritual realm made up exclusively of his followers which would meet those conditions of becoming a spiritual being in addition to being a human being.
Apostle Paul followed suit; and went on to explain what is meant by becoming a spiritual being, with these words, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized (of the water) into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead (Spiritual birth) by the glory of the Father, (at his baptism in the river Jordan) even so we also should walk in newness of life (a spiritual being).
"For if we have been planted (baptized) together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man (human being) is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal (human) body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Romans 6:1-13
Apostle Paul continued saying, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (in his likeness), who walk not after the flesh (human will), but after the Spirit (will of God). For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
"For to be carnally (human) minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (born again)" Romans 8:1-14
This is the explanation of what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus
when he said "ye must be born again to see the kingdom of God".
To be a "True Christian" and be a member of the kingdom of God requires one to be born of the water and of the Spirit, becoming a spiritual being, as well as a human being. Only those that have become spiritual beings will enter the kingdom of God and be true followers of Jesus Christ.
Next week: "The indwelling Spirit"