What is the Trinity, Who am I and Why Do I have To Be Born Again?

What is the Trinity Book CoverWhat is the Trinity,
Who am I, and Why Do
I Have to be Born Again?

By
Tom Kendall

These are some of the most common questions, next to “what is the meaning of life?” that people often ask.  They are questions that often drive people either deeper toward faith in God, or completely away from Him particularly when they can’t seem to find a good answer.  So, in this document, we will begin to explore these questions and seek Biblical answers in order to try and understand them in the context of the “big picture”, which is God’s Plan for His creation.

In this document, I will try to help paint a word picture made up of smaller pictures of these key elements.  Often, when we visualize something, it seems to be easier to remember and perhaps seems to make more sense when it all  “fits”.

THE TRINITY

The word Trinity, simply stated, means “tri-unity”.  This is why we often refer to God as a “triune” God.  There is only one God, but it is perhaps somewhat misleading to propagate the old description of “three Persons”.  The reason I believe this can be misleading is because when we think of the word “person”, we think of an entire and complete human being.  This is where it seems much confusion comes from in that people often say how can three Persons be one God?

Islam, for example, distinguishes their God “Allah”, from the Judeo-Christian God because they say we have three Gods, and they only believe in one.  For centuries, Christians have insisted we only believe in one God as well, but when we bring in the “three Persons” analogy, they will say “see, you have three Gods.”

Personally, I prefer to think of our one God as having three distinct “properties” that can be observed in scripture and in the real world.  To begin this part of the investigation, we should start by examining what God Himself said when He was busy creating us.  Look at Genesis 1:26-27Genesis 1:26-27
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26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.

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(NKJV):

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Considering at the time of verse 26, no human had been created yet, as God was in the process of making man.  So, who was He talking to in the quotes?  I believe the answer is He was speaking everything into existence (not evolving it into existence).  Then the next question we must ask is why does He say “Our”?  That is plural, so was there more than one God?  No.  We confirm that in verse 27 where it says “So God created man in His own image”.  Now, it’s singular in the next verse.  I believe Verse 26 is our first glimpse of God referring to His triune nature; that is three properties of the “Father”, the “Son” and the “Holy Spirit”.

The natural question then is “who are these three people or ‘properties’ of God?”  Here is where some think this is a paradox, but in reality it may appear to go beyond our ability to reason, but not against reason itself.  So, let us use a bit of logic using God’s own Words to try and understand it better.

God spoke: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”   In the world, when we think of our own image in our likeness, we often think of our reflection in a mirror.  When I look in a mirror, the reflection looks like me, but it is not me.  In other words, it appears to have the same properties I have, but it cannot function as an independent being, as in this example, it is merely a reflection.

However, if I were to take this page and put it in a scanner or copier, I could make many images of the original that not only looked like the original, but performed the functions of the original as well.  Comparing these two examples, it becomes clear we must look at who or what is being imaged in order to understand the functions of the image.

In the case of humanity, we know God gave us a mind in which to think and reason and make choices.  He gave us a physical body, and He gave us a spirit.  That’s the odd one because we can’t see the spirit, but we all know we have one.  Deep down, we know that we know there is a spiritual component to each and every one of us.  Almost every religious belief system since the beginning of time has known and taught about the human body, mind and spirit.  So it seems rather universal to accept the fact we have these 3 component properties that indeed makes us unique from any other animal or anything created by God.

We can find the tri-unity of God in the Bible, which is where we draw our doctrine of the Trinity.  Examine 1 John 5:71 John 5:7
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7 For there are three who testify Only a few recent manuscripts add “in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth”:

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(NKJV)

7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.(Emphasis added)

We know the “Word” is Jesus by looking at the Gospel of John 1:1John 1:1
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The Gospel According to John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

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–2 (NKJV)

The Deity of Christ

1In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

Within this passage, we see all three “persons” or “properties” of a single God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  If we use the “image” logic from Genesis 1:26-27Genesis 1:26-27
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26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.

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, we can also begin to see how it reveals the “Father” is the “mind” of God, the one who makes the choices and decisions and the other parts obey the Father.  We know Jesus is the Body, or physical manifestation, of God, and of course, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God.  Therefore, just as we know we have a body, mind and spirit, so does God through the Father, Son (Word) and the Holy Spirit.

Another very interesting quote from the New Testament is when Jesus was answering one of the scribes as to which is the first commandment of all?  Jesus replied in Mark 12:29Mark 12:29
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29 Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one:

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–30 (NKJV)

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

First off, in verse 29, Jesus confirms the God of Israel is “one”.  Jesus also confirms the properties in us by telling us we must love the Lord with all your “heart”, with all our “soul”, all our “mind” and all our “strength”; in other words, with our whole “being”.  Other than the component property of our “soul”, the rest is in reference to our body, mind and spirit.  The “soul”, I believe, is the life force God breathed into us that is from the moment we receive it, eternal life.  However, where most of that eternity is spent will depend completely on the choice we make to either accept Jesus while we are alive on this earth, or not.  If we do, our eternal life will be in the presence of God; if we do not, it will be outside of the presence of God.  God makes it very simple for us to choose.  No options to consider, no alternatives.  You either choose Him or you don’t.  We will look at this aspect more closely later when we examine being “born again”.

Paul makes another important reference in 1 Corinthians 8:51 Corinthians 8:5
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5 For though there are things that are called “gods,” whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many “gods” and many “lords;”

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–6 (NKJV):

5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

Paul give some additional insight into the Father and Son referring to the Father “of” whom are all things, and of Jesus, the Son, “through” whom are all things.  He could have probably taken this one step further and included the third person of the Trinity by saying something like “and the Holy Spirit, ‘with’ whom are all things.”  We could make that presumption for Paul by examining what Jesus said He would do when we accept Him, in John 14:16John 14:16
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16 I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, Greek Parakleton: Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, and Comfortor. that he may be with you forever,—

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–17 (NKJV)

16 And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Here Jesus says He will pray to the Father who will give us the Helper (the Holy Spirit) to be with us forever.  This passage is also one of the few instances in scripture where all THREE component “persons” or “properties” of God are mentioned together.  You have Jesus (the Son) saying He will pray to the Father, who will send us the Holy Spirit.

We must remember a few verses earlier in John 14 where Phillip asked Jesus to “show us the Father” (John 14:8John 14:8
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8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

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) and Jesus replied in John 14:10John 14:10
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10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works.

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–11 (NKJV)

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

Remember Jesus also said in John 10:30John 10:30
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30 I and the Father are one.”

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(NKJV)

30 I and My Father are one.”

So, in Jesus’ own Words, there are not two entities, as we think of “persons”, in the Father and of the Son.  They are One.  So are also One with the Spirit because there is but ONE God!

Therefore, we can conclude there is one God who is composed of three discreet properties or components referred to as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God says He made us in His Own image, thus we share similar components, just not perfect or righteous components like God Himself.  We, too, have a mind that is “us” and makes the decisions and controls our body and spirit.  God gave each of us the greatest power of the universe, the power to CHOOSE.  We must use our mind to make the choice to choose Jesus as our Savior, and it is only through Him that we will know the Father or ever receive God’s Holy Spirit as our counselor.  Jesus told us this in John 14:6John 14:6
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6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

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(NKJV)

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

WHO AM I?

Now that we have examined who the Triune God is, and how He created us in His image, we can begin to get a better understanding of who we are as humans.  First of all, we are unique among God’s creation.  We also know God created the angels and the animals, and all living things.  First, let us look at the creation of the angels, often referred to in the Old Testament as “sons of God” or the children of “lohiym”, which, interestingly, in the original Hebrew is a plural name for God, again inferring the triune nature of the One God.  There is not a lot of information in the Bible as to exactly how or when the angels were created, but we can find some interesting references in the book of Job 38:4Job 38:4
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4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.

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–7 (NKJV)

4           “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5           Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6           To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7           When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

These verses are the Lord answering Job out of the whirlwind telling Job He was going to question him and he (Job) would answer.  God asks Job where he was when He was laying the foundations of the earth, in other words, when He was creating the universe and everything in it.  Obviously, since God had not created man yet, Job was not there, but notice in verse 7, God says “all the sons of God shouted for joy.”  This is a reference to all of the angels in heaven shouting for joy when God was laying the foundations of the earth and of all His creation.  Therefore, that means the angels were created before time and before the earth and before everything in it was created.  Again, the “sons of God” was a reference to angels shouting for joy.

So when we think of angels, there were spirit beings in heaven that were also created with a mind that could think, rationalize and even make choices, as we will see shortly .  Had they not had a developed mind, they would not have understood the purpose for shouting for joy when God was fashioning His creation.

We must confirm that angels, although spiritual beings indeed had a mind to think, rationalize and make choices.  The first to make a choice to raise himself above God was the Archangel Lucifer as we read of his fall in Isaiah 14:12Isaiah 14:12
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12 How you have fallen from Heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low!

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–15 (NKJV)

The Fall of Lucifer

12        “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13          For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14          I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
15          Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.

We see in Verse 13 that Lucifer “said in his heart ‘I will ascend into heaven… etc;’”.  Each statement of “I will…” is a decision, a choice to act independently of God’s will and a choice to place himself above God, which is to make himself his own idol.  We make such choices all the time when we place ourselves, money, jobs, cars, drugs, alcohol and a whole host of things, way above God and thus they become idols in our life.   We also see in this passage from Isaiah, idols are sin and no sin is allowed in God’s presence, and thus Lucifer was cast out of heaven to earth.

Since the scripture states he was “cut down to the ground”, we know the fall came after the creation, and we also know the creation of these angels was before the creation of God’s universe.  This same event was seen by the Apostle John in his vision when he wrote the book of Revelation.  We can see another picture of this even in Revelation 12:7Revelation 12:7
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7 There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war.

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–9 (NKJV)

Satan Thrown Out of Heaven

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

We also often teach that one third of all the angels in heaven also chose Lucifer as their idol and were cast out of heaven to earth along with him.  We only see that number from an earlier reference in verse 4 by John where he wrote:

4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Revelation 12:4Revelation 12:4
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4 His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

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a (NKJV)

From these verses of scripture, we can conclude that 1. Angels are created beings, 2. They have the power to think and make choices, and 3. They have no physical bodies.  On the other side of God’s creation are the animals, birds and every living thing.  We know for certain that animals have bodies.  They have a brain, but not a developed mind for reasoning and decision making.  The minds of animals are much more basic and instinctive than rational or logical.

To paint the word picture of all of this so far, when looking at God and all of His creation, we see angels are spirits and minds without bodies; animals are bodies with limited minds and no spirits; and man is the only created being made in God’s image having a body, a mind and a spirit.  So the answer to the question “who am I?” is “I am a unique creation of God made in His Image and unlike any other created being in the universe.”  It is no wonder then that each and every one of us is very special in God’s eyes.

Why Do I Have to be Born Again?

Some churches with various doctrines believe in a variety of ways to get to heaven.  These include everything from just being a “good person” and doing “good things”, to earning your way by knocking on doors and making a certain number of converts, and a whole host of other methods.   However, the only way to truly know how to get to heaven is to see how GOD Himself tells us we can get to heaven, and we have to look to the Bible for the answer.  Jesus gave the answer to Nicodemus in John 3:3John 3:3
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3 Jesus answered him, “Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, The word translated “anew” here and in also means “again” and “from above”. he can’t see the Kingdom of God.”

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(NKJV)

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.”

In this dialogue with Nicodemus, Jesus was speaking of spiritual things, and Nicodemus was thinking of natural things, and thus could not understand what Jesus was talking about because he couldn’t imagine how a grown man could re-enter his mother’s womb to be born again.  Like Nicodemus, if we only think in terms of worldly things, we then try to seek a worldly answer, and there is not one.  The answer is spiritual, not worldly or physical.

Let’s take a moment to look at the problem, then the solution may become clearer.  Some churches today don’t like to talk about this, but no one can escape the reality of “SIN”.  Sin is the problem; Jesus is the answer.  That’s the “elevator” speech for the problem and the solution, but as we examine it, there is much more we generally want to know and understand so we see exactly what Jesus spoke about to Nicodemus about being “born again”.

First of all, let’s keep one key point in mind, and that is “God is binary.”  No, He’s not 0’s and 1’s, like the binary methodology employed in computers.  Binary simply means one of two possibilities.  “This or that”; “on” or “off”; no gray areas, no middle ground, no compromises.  There are many scriptures that show us God’s binary nature, but none more relevant to our salvation than what Jesus spoke in John 14:6John 14:6
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6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

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(NKJV)

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The key to the binary teaching here is the word “the” vs. “a” in Jesus’ statement.  “The” is “exclusive”, “a” would be “inclusive”.  In other words, if Jesus said “I am A way”, then He would have meant He is but one choice or option among many other possibilities.  However, because He used the word “the”, He was saying He is the ONLY way and there are no other ways or options available to us.  Thus the binary outcome: choose Jesus to get to heaven, choose anything else and you won’t get to heaven.  End or story.

James 2:10James 2:10
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10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has become guilty of all.

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(NKJV) tells us:

10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

Thus, no one sin is better or worse than another; rather, all sin is “sin” and must be dealt with by death (spiritually, of course), and thus anyone who has any sin cannot enter heaven.

Paul tells us in Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
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23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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(NKJV):

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Again, a binary outcome.  The payment for sin is spiritual death which means we cannot enter heaven.  But, there is an alternative, and that is Jesus.  It is through Christ that we can be forgiven for our sins and receive the free GIFT of eternal life.  Note, it is a gift, not the payment of wages.  We can’t buy or earn eternal life.  It is only a gift, and gifts are free, no payment required.   Before we explore that further, some might say “stop”, that isn’t binary because there is a third alternative: live a sinless, righteous life by keeping God’s Law your whole life.  Yes, that is true, but the problem with that option is it is impossible.  Again, Paul confirms this in Romans 3:10Romans 3:10
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10 As it is written, “There is no one righteous. No, not one.

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(NKJV):

10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;

So, other than Jesus Christ Himself, there has never been a single person who has, or ever will, live a righteous life.  None… no, not one.   Thus, the reality is it’s binary.  Either unrighteous by our own strength, or sinless (righteous) by the Gift of God: Jesus.   We all know John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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–17 (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The problem is sin, the solution is Jesus.  Sin or righteousness; heaven or not heaven (call it what you like); your way or God’s way; all binary.  One might say: “Ok, give me the gift, I’ll take it.”  It’s not like Santa Claus handing out free gifts on the street corner and all you have to do is walk by and take it and do nothing else in return.  Even though we often say it is a “free gift”, it really is not “free”.  Sure, you can’t buy it for a price; that’s because it is priceless.  Besides, God doesn’t need money.  He wants US!  We have to be willing to pay for the gift by giving God our lives!  That is why we must be “born again”, because we must be willing to die to our old worldly “self” and be born again “new”.  Read 2 Corinthians 5:172 Corinthians 5:17
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17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.

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(NKJV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (Emphasis added)

Ezekiel 18:31Ezekiel 18:31
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31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, in which you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, house of Israel?

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(NKJV) also said:

31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

God says what He wants to do for His people, Israel.  In the New Testament, we, too, Jew or gentile, are “His people” as we, as gentiles, were grafted in and now all have the same opportunity to be made “new” by God by simply accepting Christ as our Savior.  God laid his desire out in Ezekiel 11:19Ezekiel 11:19
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19 I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;

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(NKJV)

19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,

He then promises the same thing a little later in Ezekiel 36:26Ezekiel 36:26
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26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

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(NKJV)

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

These passages should help us answer the question: “Can our old spirit die and receive a new spirit?”  They are offered here as a precedent that God promised to, and will give those who seek him a new spirit (lower case “s”).

How this happens, we do not know and could probably never conceive.  God’s ways are so far beyond our understanding we don’t even have to try to question “how” He does it.  He tells us in Isaiah 55:8Isaiah 55:8
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8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says Yahweh.

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–9 (NKJV)

8           “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9           “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

How He does what He does is the miracle, but WHY He does it is clear: He LOVES us so much, He gave His only begotten Son… John 3:16John 3:16
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16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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-17.

Therefore, if we are a “new creation”, the old has died, passed away, perished!  Gone!  The original Greek word used for “passed away” is (παρέρχομαι) parerchomai which means to “perish”.  Certainly our physical bodies have not died or “passed away” when we accept Christ as our Savior.  Our old “mind” has not died or passed away.  We know that because we still have sinful thoughts.  So what passed away that is a “new creation” in Christ?  The only element left is, of course, our “spirit”.  Although the Bible doesn’t come right out and say “your spirit is dead and you get a new spirit”, these verses weigh heavily toward this scenario.

Psalm 5:4Psalm 5:4
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4 For you are not a God who has pleasure in wickedness. Evil can’t live with you.

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(NKJV) also provides considerable insight into this issue:

4           For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You. (Emphasis added)

God is a tolerant God and He tolerates the evil in the world, but only up to a point.  Some day, He will judge the world and everyone in it, and then He will no longer tolerate evil or its presence.  Psalm 5:4Psalm 5:4
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4 For you are not a God who has pleasure in wickedness. Evil can’t live with you.

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tells us evil will not dwell with Him.  Let’s look at John 14:15John 14:15
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15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

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–17 (NKJV)

15If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (emphasis added).

            John tells us the Holy Spirit will dwell WITH us and IN us.   Timothy also tells us the Holy Spirit dwells in us in 2 Timothy 1:142 Timothy 1:14
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14 That good thing which was committed to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

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(NKJV)

14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.(Emphasis added)

Now we use a bit of logic and deductive reasoning that if in Psalm 5:4Psalm 5:4
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4 For you are not a God who has pleasure in wickedness. Evil can’t live with you.

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, if it is true (and we should consider all scripture absolute truth), then evil will not dwell with God.  Further, John and Timothy are also true that the Holy Spirit (who IS God) dwells in us, then the only logical conclusion can be, no evil can dwell in us at the same time the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us.  And how long does the Spirit abide with us: “forever”.  Thus, once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, He goes to the Father who sends us the Holy Spirit to dwell with us and in us forever.  That means we have been “born again” and the evil we were born with is gone, or perished, or “died” as I like to put it, and we are a “new creation” in Christ Jesus!  The result: we receive the gift of eternal life with God in heaven.

Looking at the alternative approach, which would NOT to be “born again”, then no Jesus going to the Father, no Holy Spirit dwelling with us and in us, and evil is still here to have its way with our spirits.  The result: we can NOT have eternal life with God in heaven.  It’s one way or the other; binary.

Tying up the ends (The Summary)

Hopefully, we’ve been able to look at Scripture and learn who we are in the image of God, why we are here, and while here, why we must make a decision to be “born again”.  Having that perspective, let us look at a final issue that is not often discussed or explained, but many hypotheses are available.  That is what happens to our old spirit when we are born again, and where does it go after we die?

As we read in Genesis 1:26-27Genesis 1:26-27
English: World English Bible - WEB

26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.

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, God made us in His “image”; that is, with a body, a mind and a spirit (small “s”).   God made all of the spirits, both heavenly and earthly, for one purpose and that is to worship Him and spend eternal life with Him in heaven.  But when Adam and Eve sinned, their sin was only “covered” by the skins of innocent animals.  God didn’t remove their sin and restore them to their previous state where they no longer knew good and evil.  Instead, He forgave them by covering their sin with the shed blood of innocent animals when He clothed them (Genesis 3:21Genesis 3:21
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21 Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.

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), then He cast them out of the garden forever.  See Genesis 3:21Genesis 3:21
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21 Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.

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–24 (NKJV):
21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Notice, in Verse 22, God also again made reference to Himself in the PLURAL when He said “…the man has become like one of Us”.  The one thing God did not give man when He originally created him was this knowledge of good and evil.  There were actually two trees in the garden God reserved for Himself, the one of the knowledge of good and evil of which Adam and Eve ate, and also the “tree of life” which would give one eternal life.  We read that in Genesis 2:9Genesis 2:9
English: World English Bible - WEB

9 Out of the ground Yahweh God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

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(NKJV)

9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Emphasis Added)

God states in verses Genesis 3:22Genesis 3:22
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22 Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...”

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and 23 that He had to send them out of the garden or they might eat from the other tree that would give them everlasting life with God.  This is indicated when God said “lest he (Adam and Eve) put out his hand and take ALSO of the tree of life, and eat and live forever…”   Then there is the “therefore”, which we must ask what is it there for?  It is the consequence of sin in this world.  Even though God made them a sacrificial covering for their sin and forgave them, there is still a consequence..  Verse 24 confirms he had to protect the way to the “tree of life” and placed cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life.

Sometimes we wonder what happened to the garden and the tree of life?  Jesus tells us in the letter He wrote to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:7Revelation 2:7
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7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.

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(NKJV)

7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

The tree is still in the midst of the Paradise, which in its original meaning of the Greek word “paradeisos” means “an Eden, a place of future happiness, “paradise”.

John tells us in Revelation 22:14Revelation 22:14
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14 Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.

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that we will have the opportunity to have access to the tree of life.  Revelation 22:14Revelation 22:14
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14 Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.

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(NKJV):

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

If we are followers of Jesus Christ and do His commandments, as he instructed us, we will be able to walk, someday, through that same gate where God placed the cherubim and have the right to the tree of life which God said allows us to live forever.  Living forever in “paradeisos” with God, at least in my opinion, IS “heaven”.

It is also important for us to understand, in this “big picture” view we’re looking at here, that we do not make the mistake of presuming that once our old “spirit” dies, that it is replaced only by the Holy Spirit.  There is no reference to God’s Holy Spirit being the only Spirit in us, lest we then have a personal property that is God.  We never become God, and we always remain in His “image”.  Thus, we must understand from the evidence we saw here, that God gives us a “new spirit”, like He spoke of in Ezekiel, and our new spirit is “born of God”, not of the world, and thus is covered with the Blood of Christ, and thus no sin we should commit in the future, while here on earth, sticks to the new spirit like the sin of the old spirit born of this world. 1 John 3:91 John 3:9
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9 Whoever is born of God doesn’t commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can’t sin, because he is born of God.

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(NKJV) says:

9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

So as we bring this full circle, God made us in His image when we were born of the world.  We were born with a body, a mind capable of making rational choices and a spirit attuned to the things of this world.  It is a spirit where the sin of our choices will prevent it from ever being able to be present with God forever.  That is who we are, at least until we make that conscious decision to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.  At that time, we are “born again”; our old spirit is dead and we receive a new spirit “born of God” instead of being born of man, as our old spirit was.  Because our new spirit cannot sin, because it was born of God and redeemed by the Blood of Christ,  Jesus asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit to be with us and tabernacle in us with our new spirit born from above.

It is then, that in the end, we have the ability to enter the “paradeisos” through the same gate that Adam and Eve were ejected and prohibited from entering.  There we, like Adam and Eve when originally created in the garden, have access to the “tree of life” that give us eternal life with God.  That’s “full circle” from creation to recreation, from the garden of Eden and back again.  That is the promise of God if we choose to give up our old life in exchange for the new “life” God gives us through accepting His Son Jesus.

This is how the Bible says it works, and thus as a believer in Jesus Christ, who is the “Word”, I believe it, as we must all believe it, by faith.  Some say “there you go with the ‘faith’ thing again”, but consider Hebrews 11:3Hebrews 11:3
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3 By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.

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(NKJV)

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

How do we know we CAN have faith in God’s Word?   Because these very things were written that could not have been know our understood as we know them today at the time they were first written thousands of years ago.  Look around.  Everything you see, that is visible, is made of molecules and atoms which you cannot see.  If these were the words of man, there would have been no way this could have been known or understood by man at that time.  Today, as knowledge has increased in these last days, we now have the understanding of atomic structure and molecular biology.

We can place our full faith in God’s Word because there are so many examples like this in scripture that it could only have been written by God Himself.  Even as far back as David’s time when many Psalms were written, we see, for example, Psalm 103:12Psalm 103:12
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12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has he removed our transgressions from us.

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12          As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

And throughout scripture, this reference “as far as the east is from the west” is used.  If written by man, why not say as far as the north is from the south?  Because if you travel due north, you will eventually hit the North Pole and have nowhere else to go but south.  North ends.  The same thing when you hit the South Pole.   The only option again is north.  But go east or west and it never ends.  You can continue in that direction indefinitely.  Thus, the author of that statement had to know not only the shape of the earth, but the rotation on the magnetic poles.  Man, even into the 15th century, thought the world was flat.  Christopher Columbus was thought crazy by many because he would fall off the edge of the earth.  Therefore, in order to make these statements in scripture, the source could not have been man, but only God could have know this much detail at the time.

So, in reality, it takes more faith to NOT believe scripture than to accept and believe every word it says.  And if you believe every word and live your life the way God tells you to, eternal life is not only possible, but guaranteed by the one and only God of the universe.  It just can’t get any better than that!

Epilogue

If you have now read this and understand who God is, who you are and why you must be born again, I urge you to examine your own heart and relationship with Jesus Christ.  Some who read this may not be believers and this may have cleared some things up for you so you can see why you must ask Jesus into your life.  Others may say “I already believe in God”, but if that is the extent, consider nothing in scripture says you must “believe in God” to get to heaven, but instead, Jesus said “you must be born again” (John 3:3John 3:3
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3 Jesus answered him, “Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, The word translated “anew” here and in also means “again” and “from above”. he can’t see the Kingdom of God.”

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).  Satan “believes in God” and has seen God and knows God, so what makes you any different?

The difference is Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan) made a choice to place himself above God and thus made himself an idol.  He rejected God’s authority in exchange for his own authority.  So knowing or believing in God is not the answer.

Some may even say “I believe in Jesus”.  So does Islam, so does Satan, so does many people who will never go to heaven.  The questions you must ask yourself are these: “Is Jesus Christ the Lord of my life and my Savior?”  “Have I made the choice to turn everything I have and everything in my life over to Him and place it in His hands instead of mine?”  The answer to either of these cannot be “Yes, but…”  Don’t let a big “but” get in your way of having eternal life.

What do you do when trials come your way?  Do you do everything possible to mitigate the problems in your life doing it yourself, your way?  Or, do you turn it over to Christ in faith, and pray His Will be done no matter what the cost?  Is your lifestyle too much to give up if that is necessary to follow Christ?  Remember the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16Matthew 19:16
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16 Behold, one came to him and said, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”

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–26 (NKJV)

Rich Young Ruler

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

            We are often like the rich young ruler.  We want to believe and to follow Christ but not “at any cost”.  This is why many “Christians” who may think they are going to heaven because they go to church most Sundays, and are generally good people.  But this is not making Christ the “Lord” of your life.  So often, we as Christians pray each morning with our daily laundry list of things we want God to do for us today.  Pay my bills, fix my house, get me a new car, take our family on vacation, relieve my pain and suffering, etc.  Christ is not a genie in a lamp that we rub every morning and receive 3 wishes.  If He is Lord of our Life, we will be praying for the wisdom to recognize how to live our lives the way He wants, not the way we want.

Not to worry, though, because God already states in scripture that His plans are to “prosper” us.  In Jeremiah 29:11Jeremiah 29:11
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11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.

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(NKJV)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

However, the version most often quoted is the New International Version (NIV) that states the same verse like this:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

            This should be very good news for us all but we generally get in God’s way of prospering us His way by taking over the control of our life and trying to prosper ourselves OUR way.  We would probably be more prosperous and have more rewards if we would just let Him have control all the time.  It’s sort of like one of my favorite bumper stickers that says “If God is your Co-pilot, you’re sitting in the wrong seat.”

Romans 10:8Romans 10:8
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8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith, which we preach:

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–10 (NKJV) tells us how we know that we are saved and will have eternal life with God:

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Shout it out right now… “Jesus is Lord!”  Confess your sins to Him and ask Him for forgiveness and He will forgive you on the spot.  Ask Jesus to come into your life and be the Lord of your life from this moment on!  Believe it in your heart, not just in your head!  Go ahead… do it now!!  There’s no magic prayer that has to be worded a certain way.  You know your heart, and if it is ready now because you understand now who He is and why you need Him.

9So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luke 11:9Luke 11:9
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9 “I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you.

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He never says “no”.  Imagine the rejoicing that is going on in heaven.  Luke 15:10Luke 15:10
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10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting.”

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(NKJV)

10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Trinity vs Man Comparison

 

 

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