Four Christian Concepts

Forrest C. Gilmore


There are a number of things about the Christian faith that I think are really “neat.” One of these is the concept of being “born again.” This comes from Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus in John 3:3 (NASB) - Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."


Nicodemus was not sure how it was possible for someone to be “born again.” Jesus then said "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and 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 (NASB) 


Some groups believe that “born of water” refers to baptism, but verse 6 makes it clear that Jesus is referring to physical birth – “born of flesh.” (If this were not the case, there would have to be three births – physical, baptism, and spiritual – not just two.)


Paul refers to the “born again” experience in 2 Cor. 5:17 (NASB) - Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (In Romans 6:4, Paul says that our baptism symbolizes the death of our former self – being immersed in water - and the birth of our new self – as we are raised from the water. Remember that the early Christians almost always baptized by immersion,  because of its rich symbolism.)


So this concept means that when we have a true faith in Christ, we not only receive the promise of eternal salvation, we have a completely new outlook on life, an outlook that is so marvelous that it is just like becoming a new person. Our old self is now dead.


A second concept is that when we profess a true faith in Christ, we become members of God’s family through adoption. This concept is presented in John 1:12 (NASB) - But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, ….


Paul speaks of this in Romans 8:15-17 (NASB)  - For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" [16] The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, [17] and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.


Also see Galatians 4:6-7 (NASB) - And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" [7] Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.


The amazing thing about this is that our adoption means that we share in all of God’s riches, and that our inheritance includes our salvation – living in God’s presence in this life and through eternity. We can call God “Daddy!”


The third concept is that as followers of Christ, we become servants. Our selfish pride and the desire to dominate others is replaced with a spirit of humility and the desire to serve others. This concept is presented in many places in Scripture. Consider the following passages:


Matthew 20:26 (NASB) - "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, “


1 Cor. 4:1 (NASB) - Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.


Matthew 11:29 (NASB)- "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.


Matthew 23:12 (NASB) - "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.


Philip. 2:3-16 (NASB) 

    Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; [4] do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. [5] Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, [6] who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [9] Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, [10] that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, [11] and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    [12] So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; [13] for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [14] Do all things without grumbling or disputing; [15] that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, [16] holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.


(Verse 12 means that we “work out of” our salvation; while rejoicing that we are saved by faith in Christ, we live in a way that pleases God, that we have an attitude of awe and respect for what He has done for us, and we are astonished that we are no longer condemned by Him for our evil ways. We tremble when we realize how close we came to ultimate destruction.)


Finally, there is the concept of personal freedom, presented in John 8:32 (NASB) - “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."


What this means is that we no longer are required to do something in order to secure our salvation, such as meet the requirements of the Jewish law, or meet any other human requirement, and we are also freed from the power of evil, which we find often controlled our life before we met Christ. Of course, this freedom is experienced primarily in the spiritual realm, but this may carry over into our physical world. We need to understand that evil is a real presence in our world, and we may have been instruments of evil before we met Christ, so we must expect to receive any consequences that our evil acts may have brought us. The amazing thing, however, is that our new freedom and our new status as children of God and as His servants means that we can be of service to others in all circumstances!


Galatians 5:13 (NASB) - For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.


1 Peter 2:16 (NASB) - Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.


Also see Romans 6: 16-22.


Romans 6:21-22 (NASB) - Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. [22] But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.


Psalm 116:16 (NASB) 

        O Lord, surely I am Thy servant,

        I am Thy servant, the son of Thy handmaid,

        Thou hast loosed my bonds.


Luke 12:37 (NASB) - "Blessed are those slaves whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.”


Can you believe it? When we reach heaven, Jesus will be serving us! Do you find that hard to believe? Well, he was willing to die for you! That’s about the ultimate form of service one can render to another! You are now His prize possession, and He WANTS to serve you! He wants to love you, and He wants you to love Him. When we truly love someone, we want to serve them, to give them the best we have.


Isn’t it neat being a true, born-again, free Christian and a full member of God’s family?

Isn’t it a joy to be able to serve others in this context?