In the early seventies I used to wear a dog tag that said born again; they could be bought at any Christian bookstore, and people would actually ask you, “what does that mean?” Most evangelical churches at that time thought of conversion as something radical, instant, life changing, essential, and so it is.
1 “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Ephesians 2:1-5.
Nothing could be said more clearly than Christianity is a complete renewal of life, v.5. New life is explained in the previous verses: dead in sin, walking in the same direction as the world, under the control of the devil, with an attitude of disobedience toward God, led about by the desires of the body, and under the pending judgment and anger of God.
To become a Christian is to go from this deadly and dangerous state to being raised from the dead as a gift of God’s love and grace. The term grace is explained as God’s work on the Christian’s behalf, stated in v.10, ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” In salvation, the Christian is as much a creation as he is the first time, only this time saved from all the ravages of sin. As Christians we are created for the good works that God prepared; nothing is left to chance in God’s universe. We are not left to live our lives by guessing, or desiring according to the flesh, but by learning God’s word (God’s will) and then living according to His design and purpose.