Every born-again Christian is given a new nature at his spiritual rebirth. Since this new nature is born of God, it is completely sinless and in tune with the Holy Spirit. This new spirit nature is the person or “whosoever” addressed in the following Scripture:
(1 John 3:9 KJV) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
It is “the new man” in the Christian that does not commit sin. However, there is still in every Christian the old flesh nature that the Scriptures refer to as “the flesh” or “the old man”. Consequently, every Christian has two opposing natures in him that war against each other. The old nature is still present in every Christian in a fallen state—even though the Christian has been born again with a new nature. Also, this “old man” or flesh nature is still the dominant nature when a Christian is first saved. This is why the first command for every born-again Christian is “Repent and be baptized”.
Repentance and baptism are not requirements for the new birth experience, but they are requirements for the Christian to become a faithful Christian. Repentance is a work that every Christian should do after he has been born-again, but it does not precede spirit salvation. The Gospel of John was written about spiritual regeneration and the mission of Christ as the Son of God. The word “repent” or “repentance” is not found in the Gospel of John.
It must be understood that repentance pertains to the Covenant of Works and not the Covenant of Grace. Belief or faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the natural and certain response to spiritual regeneration, but repentance is an act of obedience to the command of God. After spiritual regeneration, the Holy Spirit convicts every Christian about his sinful state, and he is commanded to repent and be baptized. Repentance means to turn away from sin and follow Christ. It means that the Christian should become a follower or disciple of Christ.
Baptism is a ritual or ordinance of God that symbolizes that a Christian has chosen to follow Christ. Baptism symbolizes death and resurrection and means that the Christian has committed himself to dying to the old man and living according to the new man. It means the Christian has determined to put to death the old nature and live according to the new nature. It means the Christian has committed himself to studying the Bible and living according to its precepts or teachings. It means the Christian has chosen to seek the kingdom of God with all of his heart, mind and soul. It means the Christian has committed to seeking after practical righteousness, which comes from God. It means the Christian has decided to give up his old way of life for a new life. It means the Christian has counted the costs of giving up his old life, and living a new life in obedience to the Word of God. It means the Christian has given up his old life controlled by his old nature for a new life controlled by his new spirit nature. It means the Christian has committed to losing his soul now in this life, so that he can save his soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is confirmed in the following Scripture passage:
(Mat 16:24-27 KJV) (24) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (25) For whosoever will save his life (i.e., soul) shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life (i.e., soul) for my sake shall find it. (26) For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
The above passage of Scripture establishes conclusively that the Christian must do something other than believing in Christ to save his soul. It also establishes with certainty that soul salvation is something that believers must seek after by crucifying the old man. It also clearly establishes that soul salvation is in accordance with works and the REWARD for the Christian’s life. THE CHRISTIAN MUST LOSE HIS SOUL OR LIFE, IN ORDER TO SAVE IT AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST. THE OLD MAN MUST DIE!
There are many Christians that hear the gospel of grace, believe in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, but they are never obedient to the command to repent and be baptized. Many Christians go through the motions of repentance and baptism, but they do not follow through with this commitment. Many were probably sincere in their commitment, but they failed to count the costs of this commitment. These Christians are still saved spiritually and will still go to heaven, but they must answer for their disobedience at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They are still saved by grace, will still be conformed to the image of Christ and will still receive a new body at the Main Harvest Rapture.
The following Scripture verse is addressing God’s command for every Christian to repent, and is NOT ADDRESSING SPIRITUAL REBIRTH:
(2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
This passage states that God is longsuffering to all believers and God does not desire that any Christian “perish” at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Every Christian must put to death the old man or the old flesh nature before he stands before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ. If the Christian does not do this, then the old man or old nature will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and this Christian will lose his inheritance—which is his reward. The Lord does not desire that any Christian perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
THE OLD MAN MUST EITHER DIE NOW IN THIS LIFE, OR HE WILL PERISH AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.
The Christian must put off the old man and put on the new man. This means that he must crucify, mortify or put to death the old nature, or Jesus Christ will do it for him at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The following Scripture passage is addressed to Christians and is warning them about perishing:
(1 Cor 3:16-17 KJV) (16) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (17) If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
The old man perishing at the Judgment Seat of Christ is the same as losing one’s soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. IT IS THE LOSS OF REWARD ONLY! The following passage of Scripture addresses the death of the old man or the loss of the soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Christian still goes to heaven and he is still conformed to the image of Christ. The Scripture passage is
(Rom 8:12-13 KJV) (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (13) 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.