Here are the six other KJV Bible words and their definitions that are commonly used to describe the #1) born again (beget again, offspring) experience: #2) (John 3:17) save/saved (to deliver and make whole); #3) (Matt. 18:3) converted (reverse direction); #4) (Luke 19:9) salvation (rescue); #5) (Matt. 26:28) remission (forgiveness); #6) (Luke 4:18) deliverance (pardon); #7) (Matt. 19:28) regeneration has two meanings: (Titus 3:5) (the state or the act of spiritual rebirth in the individual life when a person is saved) and (Matt. 19:28) (the eternal renovation at the end of time).
(John 3:17) A person gets saved, (1Pet. 3:21) is baptized and is gloriously happy for a while. The person has met God during his born again experience. He knows God and His amazing love. The person knows Jesus’ blood cleansed him of his sins. (2Cor. 5:17) He knows he is a new creature in Christ. It is glorious and wonderful and good and most of all it is real. It is really real!
Then something happens and, to whatever degree, the person feels like his salvation just drizzles away and he feels like he is the same old person, in the same old life, with the same old problems and temptations! Where did it all go? Did he somehow backslide? He knows it was a real event, he did get saved, but what happened?
The answer is that God spiritually sets a new Christian down and starts teaching him how to grow as a Christian. Spiritually it is exactly like that trembling, excited, proud time when a parent carefully pulls his/her fingers away and lets that dear toddler attempt his first step alone. Please think about a Christian’s spiritual growth as you read this part.
(Prov. 25:4 & Mal.3:2-3) Picture a refiner of gold. He mines a tunnel of rock out of the mountain in following the small vein of gold. Then he separates the ore from the other rock (think: salvation). He puts the rough gold, his gold, into the melting pot and melts it under intense heat (think: your trial of faith). The refiner adds a chemical (think: God’s Holy Word and the Holy Spirit) that makes the impurities float to the top.
The dross (waste) (think: selfishness, rudeness, lust, stubbornness, malice, hot temper, anger and etc.) floats to the top. The refiner scoops it up and discards it. He keeps heating, adding chemical and cleansing his gold until he has removed the waste. He pours the pure molten gold into a mold he has fashioned.
Even in this computer generated industrial age no two molds are ever exactly alike (think: you are the only you that will ever be). After enough time has passed he breaks the mold and out comes the vessel of his making. The mold is broken, the pieces are discarded and there will never be another exactly like it.
It is a rough vessel and he files off the bumps and knots (think: laziness, lack of dedication, not praying or studying your Bible enough, not witnessing, not learning and etc.) Then he sands the surface over and over and over with ever finer abrasives (think: spiritual growth, continuing grace, being down in the valley, coming through the fire, the trial of your faith, temptation and etc.)
The abrasives God uses are #1 (1John 2:15-17 & John 15:18-23) the world with its temptations and persecutions, #2 (1Pet. 5:8) the devil, Satan, with his deceptions, suggestions and accusations and #3 (Rom. 8:3-8 & 1Cor. 3:3) your own human nature (self, the flesh, carnality). God’s vessel becomes ever more shiny as He works.
The Refiner polishes the vessel many, many, many times until the vessel gleams and the Refiner can finally start to see himself reflected in His vessel. God is love and that love is what God expects to see reflected from His Christians.
(2Cor. 4:5-18 esp. V.7) God gave you the gift of His Holy Spirit at the time of your salvation and you have the gift of His Holy Word. He put His Holy Spirit within you to work with you, refine you and make you a vessel in which He can see His reflection and through that reflection the lost world will see God within you because God’s people (Titus 2:14 & 1Pet 2:9) are a peculiar people.
(Titus 2:14) During this purification process you will sin along the way just like all the rest of us have because (1John 1:8 to 2:2) even though we are on the way to heaven, we are not perfect.
(2Cor. 7:1 & Eph. 4:12) This refining process goes on all of a Christian’s life but we will never be “perfected” in this life! (Phil.3:20-21 & 1Thess. 4:13-18) The final process of perfection is when we leave our vile physical body behind and go to be with the Lord Jesus and are resurrected in (Rom. 8:16-18) a glorified body.
(Matt. 13:3-9) Each Christian is required to do the best he or she can with what he or she has at the time and when he or she fails and sins God has a mechanism in place to take care of all of that and that process will be discussed later.
REALITY: A successful Christian is one who keeps on trying!
The above spiritual allegory is an illustration that shows how a new Christian comes down from the spiritual “high” brought about by the born again salvation experience and it is time for the new Christian to start learning how to be a Christian and start working in God’s church.
A new Christian doesn’t know how to be a Christian yet; you’ve got to learn how and mistakes (sin) will happen as you learn. The salvation was real, you didn’t backslide, and it is simply time to start growing up into a mature Christian. The “born again” event is the end of the salvation process and the beginning of the Christian experience process.
(Matt. 13:3-23 note: V. 18-23 explains V. 3-8) That is why some Christians quit church when they come down from the born again salvation experience, simply put; it is not worth their trouble; each Christian has the freedom of choice and some choose not to refine. (Matt. 10:22 keyword: endureth: defined: stand your ground, show endurance, persevere & Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12 & 21 keyword in all: overcometh: defined: conquer, prevail, subdue) It is an enduring and overcoming way and “he that endureth to the end shall be saved”.
Scripturally illustrating and describing this refining process is the purpose of this commentary, and I offer you much of my life as a Christian, the good, the weird, the bad, the stupid, the sad and the funny, for an example, especially the seven article series GROWTH AS A CHRISTIAN: THE SURVIVAL PRINCIPAL on this commentary.