Born Again vs. Grafted In: Understanding the Importance of Both
As Christians, we often hear the terms “born again” and “grafted in” used to describe our relationship with God. These terms come from the teachings of Jesus and the writings of the apostles in the New Testament. But what do they mean, and why are they important?
To be “born again” refers to the spiritual rebirth that takes place when a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This new birth is not a physical one, but a spiritual one, as the Holy Spirit enters and transforms the person’s heart and life. This transformation is the beginning of a lifelong journey of growth and discipleship.
Scriptures supporting the idea of being born again include John 3:3, where Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” And 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
To be “grafted in” refers to the idea that non-Jewish believers in Jesus Christ are grafted into the spiritual lineage of Israel, God’s chosen people in the Old Testament. This means that as followers of Jesus, we become part of God’s family and inherit the promises that were given to Israel, such as the hope of eternal life and the blessings of God.
Scriptures supporting the idea of being grafted in include Romans 11:17-18, where Paul writes, “If some of the branches [of the olive tree] have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches.” And Ephesians 2:19, which says, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.”
It’s important to note that the commandments given by God were not just for the Jewish people, but for all of Israel, which included the twelve tribes, including non-Jewish tribes such as the tribe of Ephraim. In fact, when the Israelites received the covenant at Mount Sinai, many non-Israelites, or “sojourners,” were also present and received the covenant alongside the Israelites (Exodus 12:48-49).
Living as Jesus did while he lived on earth is also a vital part of our journey as Christians. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, and he showed us what it means to love God and love others. As we seek to follow in his footsteps, we will grow in our love for God and all our neighbors.