The War Against the Second Birth
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  John 3:7
This is a startling declaration made by Jesus to Nicodemus in their nighttime encounter.  The natural mind struggles, like Nicodemus, to make sense of this.  How can we be re-born and more importantly, why would we need to be?  In this teaching Jesus was inviting us to re-think what it means to be born, what our condition is at birth and presents to us a radical alternative: the second birth or the birth from above.

First let’s look at what birth is.  The birthing process is slow, painful and fraught with potential dangers for both mother and child.  When the child finally emerges from the tight and dark confines of the birth canal, it enters an entirely new reality.  The baby is fully engaged in receiving and interpreting information from this new world through his senses and later through the development of his rational mind.  Millions of people have been born, live out their lives and die locked into this realm of the senses and of human reason without any intimation that there is another reality.  Unfortunately, this includes many religious people or “masters of Israel” like Nicodemus.

Jesus was pointing him, and us, to the reality of another realm or dimension that we need to be born into to see or understand the kingdom of God.  Just as an infant through much travail must leave the familiarity and comfort of the womb to enter an entirely new world, we too must break through into the realm of heaven through rebirth.  Just as Jesus through his physical emergence from the womb of Mary took on the human condition and identity, through the second birth we take on the divine condition and identity.  In doing this, we must leave behind everything associated with the first birth that contradicts, opposes or limits God and His purpose for us.
Let’s look now at the first birth to see what the problem was that needed to be addressed by the second birth.

First Birth

“Why do I need to be born again? I was born perfect the first time!”  Facebook posting 2017
“I was born this way and God doesn’t make mistakes.” Radio interview with lesbian screenwriter
A theologian stated that the doctrine of original sin is the only Christian doctrine that is empirically verifiable.  In other words, just look around you to see the confirmation that man is born self-centered and indifferent to God, his creator.  What seems to me and many others an obvious conclusion has actually been a topic of heated religious controversy for 2000 years.  The problem is that, by and large, people cannot seem to grasp or understand two seemingly contradictory ideas at the same time.  So the people, historically, who believed that man was born in a sinful nature inherited from Adam very often had no understanding of or faith in the power of God to transform us through the second birth.  They presented a very grim, pessimistic and ultimately demonic view of the Gospel.  In fact, what exactly is the “good news” if we were born in sin and even after we are saved we continue to struggle with sin and can never be perfect in this life?  (And those who reject this “Gospel” will be tormented in hell for all eternity.  But that’s the subject for another article…).

What we see today is a backlash against all that gloominess.  Many teachers are declaring that we are born in a condition of slumber and need only be awakened by enlightened teaching.  It is only our minds that have been brainwashed to believe that we are sinners.  Jesus does repeatedly call for repentance or thinking anew but he also declares that the real change can only happen when we are born again, a much more radical prescription than “waking up” to treat a much more radical condition.  Although Paul does not use the term “born again”, he very insightfully points to the root of the problem of sin in chapter 7 of Romans.  Sin is a law that is not just in our minds or our will but in our very members, our cell structure, our DNA.  Sin is our Adamic inheritance.

Now let’s look at the second birth so that we do not have to present to the world a gloomy “Gospel” or a watered-down cure to treat a watered-down disease.

Second Birth

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.  Rev 12:1-4
You won’t see all the forces of hell arrayed against a teaching or a revelation or a spiritual truth (as you see above) unless it has the power to transform and conform lives into the very image of Christ.  This is what is at stake here.  Jesus was saying to Nicodemus that only by dying to everything associated with our carnal, sensual existence and being re-born into the dimension where He abided could we understand God or His kingdom.  The truth of God comes from beyond this world.
As I have pointed to above in the quotations from popular culture and the theological see-saw regarding original sin, the warfare is very real.  The need for a second birth is undermined by some modern Christian teachers but the general confusion and misunderstanding is compounded by institutional religion’s deceptive teaching on what it is to be born again and how and when it happens.  What Jesus was pointing to as a spiritual, individual and internal process, the religious system has institutionalized and externalized.
As an example, the Catholic Church decrees that the born again experience is conferred at baptism and reinforced at confirmation.  We have this covered, they seem to say to millions of believers, no need for a personal relationship.  I find it ironic that the church that so vehemently opposes abortion in the natural has so much blood on its hands in aborting the second birth by preaching this deceptive doctrine.  Religious hypocrisy has not changed in 2000 years.
On the other hand, Evangelicals, Charismatics and “Full Gospel” churches equate salvation or coming to the alter with being born again.  Anyone can respond to an alter call, sob profusely and go back to their pew unchanged.  Many are baptized into water as a dry devil and come out of the water as a wet devil.  When Peter declared that Jesus was the Son of God in response to the Master’s question as to who he was, Peter made a declaration of the faith that saves.  He was saved in his spirit man but was far from being born again.  When you are just saved, like Peter you can vacillate, back slide, fall away, get lukewarm, etc.  The Peter on the day of Pentecost was not just saved but born again.  When you are born again you cannot be unborn.
Am I equating being baptized with the Holy Spirit with being born again?  Unfortunately, many who can shondai up a storm or function in the other gifts of the Spirit are not born again.  How do I know that?  Jesus tells Nicodemus very clearly that he cannot see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.  Millions of Charismatics are waiting for a so-called second coming instead of fully entering into the second birth.  Many are waiting for God’s kingdom to be set up in the Middle East or are anticipating entering into the kingdom of God when they die or are raptured.  When you have been introduced into the heavenly kingdom by actually being birthed into it you know that the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven (which are one and the same) is within you by experience and not just because you read it in the Bible or heard someone preach it to you.  Your thoughts are transformed and your understanding is transformed.  Those who are born again encounter more spiritual warfare from spirit-filled Christians than they do from anyone else.  That says something profound and very revealing.
Now that hopefully we have some understanding of what it means to be born again and what it doesn’t mean and how it is opposed, the question arises: why aren’t we seeing more of a Christ-like manifestation in these born again Sons of God?  So many have dedicated their lives seeking to know God in His fullness, to understanding the mysteries of the kingdom and to conforming themselves to His image.  They have encountered much opposition (internally and externally) in the process but have pressed into the kingdom through that straight and narrow birth canal.  The problem is that many have one foot in the kingdom (second birth) and one foot in their fleshly identities, emotions, realities (first birth).
The primary symptom of this, as I see it, is the politicizing of the Sons of God.  Instead of drawing upon our identity as Christ in the earth from the realm and reality of the Spirit, we continue to cling to our human racial, national and political identities.  Beloved, God is neither white nor black, neither American nor Canadian and neither Republican nor Democrat.  We need to lose our tribal identities to take on the mind of Christ that transcends all those categories if we do not want to be guilty of idolatry.
When we allow the Spirit of God to root out of us all carnal identities and loyalties and when all our thoughts, emotions and actions are directed by the Spirit we can truly change this world.  When we have experienced first hand the power of the second birth to establish us in our divine identity and to nullify everything associated with the adamic first birth, we can effectively minister to that homosexual who declared that she was “born that way”.  We have the faith to declare that it doesn’t matter how you were born, only that you get truly born again.