The reason each person since the Day of Pentecost must be born again in order to have life in the age to come is because the first time we were born (physically), we each inherited the sin nature of our “father” Adam, and thus were born dead in sin (Eph. 2:1, etc.). Because of this “death” nature in us, our physical lives are doomed to end in death. The following verses show us both the problem and its solution.
1 Corinthians 15:21 and 22
(21) For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
(22) For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
How did death come to us from Adam? The Bible tells us (Gen. 2:7) that God made Adam’s body from the dust of the ground, and then breathed into that body the breath of life, making him a living soul, or being. He put Adam on a perfect earth and gave him some basic instructions.
Genesis 2:16 and 17
(16) And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
(17) but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. When Adam sinned, he sentenced himself to the punishment of death God had warned him about. He sentenced not only himself to death, but the whole human race, which, as his offspring, were born dead in sin. In Adam’s case, due to his originally perfect genetic make-up and the perfection of his environment, which then slowly began to disintegrate, he lived 930 years. Adam passed on to all his offspring the heritage of sin and death, as the history of man so grievously attests, and as the following verse shows:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.
Because each human being has inherited the sin nature of Adam, each will inevitably sin, and each is required to pay the penalty for sin, which is death. In His grace and mercy, God has provided mankind with a substitute, His Son Jesus Christ, who died in our place to pay the required penalty. By being obedient unto death, Jesus Christ made it possible for God to raise him from the dead. Thus Jesus, “the Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), conquered death and can now give everlasting life to those who by faith in him appropriate unto themselves what he made available.
The gift of holy spirit that Christ gives to each person who believes on him as Lord is not in itself everlasting life, but rather the guarantee of life in the age to come (Eph. 1:13 and 14). Thus, each Christian is from the moment of his new birth a three-fold person of body, soul and holy spirit. If a Christian is taught that he does not have holy spirit, it is tantamount, in practice, to consigning him to live in spiritual incompleteness, like the first Adam after the Fall.
Biblically speaking, to be “born again” (1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3:9; 4:7; 5:1 et al) is synonymous with being “saved.” The word “saved” comes from the Greek word sozo, which means “to make whole; to rescue; to deliver.” A Christian’s ultimate salvation is his being saved from everlasting death, but “salvation” also includes spiritual wholeness now so that we can walk with God in this life.
Each and every Christian receives the gift of holy spirit at the moment of his new birth. It is not something he gets later. It is not something he somehow “earns,” “prays for,” or that is given when he is “spiritually qualified.” Remember, holy spirit is a gift, not a reward, given to help transform us into the image of Christ. It comes when one is born of God. Thus we each have the potential to communicate intimately with our heavenly Father and to manifest to the world the very heart of Jesus Christ. The key is knowing what we have and how to use it.