Q: If someone is born again and dies in their sins will they still be saved?
Thanks so much for writing to us with this question. It’s an important one. I sense in your question an uneasiness about the meaning of the born again experience in regards to sin and salvation – that somehow, dying in sin is inevitable, or a common situation. I suspect that you may have a different understanding of what it means to be born again than I do.
Since you have written your question to our TruthBook site, which is dedicated to the teachings of The Urantia Book, my reply will be taken from that source. You don’t mention whether you know The Urantia Book, or have read it, but those teachings have a great deal to teach us about these three elements of your question: being born again, sin, and salvation.
Being born again – born of the spirit – is a life-changer. At least it was for me. The way I see it, if we are truly and sincerely born again, living the righteous life is a very happy way of living, and highly desirable. Learning about God and truly loving him and walking in his ways leads to real happiness. After the experience of being reborn in the Spirit, returning to sin begins to feel uncomfortable, remote, and more and more unlikely to happen. Hence, dying in sin seems also quite unlikely. I guess this experience may not be the same for everyone, though.
Christianity goes to a certain point in its teachings about what it means to be born again, but in The Urantia Book – and most especially in Part IV, the teachings of Jesus, we receive an astounding amount of information and instruction on this vital feature of the spiritual life. And its teachings also enlighten us in regards to sin and salvation, too – all of these elements are related.
First of all, let’s examine together what the Urantia Book teaches about being born again:
103:2.1 Religion is functional in the human mind and has been realized in experience prior to its appearance in human consciousness. A child has been in existence about nine months before it experiences birth. But the “birth” of religion is not sudden; it is rather a gradual emergence. Nevertheless, sooner or later there is a “birth day.” You do not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you have been “born again”— born of the spirit. Many spiritual births are accompanied by much anguish of spirit and marked psychological perturbations, as many physical births are characterized by a “stormy labor” and other abnormalities of “delivery.” Other spiritual births are a natural and normal growth of the recognition of supreme values with an enhancement of spiritual experience, albeit no religious development occurs without conscious effort and positive and individual determinations.
And Jesus taught the following to Nicodemus during their evening meeting:
142:6.7 And Nicodemus said: “But how can I begin to lay hold upon this spirit which is to remake me in preparation for entering into the kingdom?” Jesus answered: “Already does the spirit of the Father in heaven indwell you. If you would be led by this spirit from above, very soon would you begin to see with the eyes of the spirit, and then by the wholehearted choice of spirit guidance would you be born of the spirit since your only purpose in living would be to do the will of your Father who is in heaven. And so finding yourself born of the spirit and happily in the kingdom of God, you would begin to bear in your daily life the abundant fruits of the spirit.”
So first of all, it is vital that we recognize the indwelling Spirit of God in each of us. Once we accept this connection to God, and accept ourselves as children of a loving God, we can then be led to begin living what might be called a righteous life in cooperation with God. And as Jesus points out in the passage above, “by the wholehearted choice of spirit guidance would you be born of the spirit since your only purpose in living would be to do the will of your Father who is in heaven.” And this constitutes the rebirth of the spirit that transforms many a life. Further:
34:6.7 Those who have received and recognized the indwelling of God have been born of the Spirit. “You are the temple of God, and the spirit of God dwells in you.” It is not enough that this spirit be poured out upon you; the divine Spirit must dominate and control every phase of human experience.
Read more about The Spirit in Man HERE
This domination of a life by the Spirit is a natural development, and it means that eventually, we repudiate sin altogether; living the righteous life becomes our joy and our purpose; exhibiting the fruits of the spirit becomes another natural outcome of the faith choice of the individual. And showing forth these fruits of spirit is one of the hallmarks of the individual’s advancement and spiritual growth. These fruits of the spirit are also happy-making, as most of them involve loving and serving others.
If a person continues to choose sin, chooses to deliberately violate God’s will, then one might really wonder whether that person is sincere in desiring to be born of the spirit – sincere about allowing the Spirit to lead them – and certainly it might make one wonder if that person truly IS born-again. I cannot speak to whether such a person would still be “saved.” Deliberate choosing against God is a matter best left to God for judgment.
Read what Jesus taught about sin HERE. It may be quite different than what you have been raised to believe. But, I think you’ll agree it has the ring of truth.
But, as regards salvation, The Urantia Book teaches us that
103:9.5 Although religious experience is a purely spiritual subjective phenomenon, such an experience embraces a positive and living faith attitude toward the highest realms of universe objective reality. The ideal of religious philosophy is such a faith-trust as would lead man unqualifiedly to depend upon the absolute love of the infinite Father of the universe of universes. Such a genuine religious experience far transcends the philosophic objectification of idealistic desire; it actually takes salvation for granted and concerns itself only with learning and doing the will of the Father in Paradise. The earmarks of such a religion are: faith in a supreme Deity, hope of eternal survival, and love, especially of one’s fellows.
188:4.9 Jesus taught that service to one’s fellows is the highest concept of the brotherhood of spirit believers. Salvation should be taken for granted by those who believe in the fatherhood of God. The believer’s chief concern should not be the selfish desire for personal salvation but rather the unselfish urge to love and, therefore, serve one’s fellows even as Jesus loved and served mortal men.
188:4.13 Human salvation is real; it is based on two realities which may be grasped by the creature’s faith and thereby become incorporated into individual human experience: the fact of the fatherhood of God and its correlated truth, the brotherhood of man. It is true, after all, that you are to be “forgiven your debts, even as you forgive your debtors.”
This is one of the sweetest of all Urantia Book teachings, that when we are sincere in our faith and do our best to love God and love our fellows, that we can rest assured that we are saved by God.
God understands our limitations and our struggles. He understands that sometimes we fail. But he also knows our inmost heart and what motivates us in life. If our direction is Godward; if that is the sincere desire of our heart, God will never condemn us or deny us salvation – even if we should somehow die in a sin. That is my understanding of the teachings of The Urantia Book in this matter.
And, I do hope that if you are not yet exploring this amazing revelation, that you begin right away. A good way to start is by clicking the introduction link at the top of this letter, and then clicking on the links I have provided that will take you into the text. And BTW, here are two more: Our topical study of Urantia Book teachings about being Born of the Spirit, and this one, on Salvation.
At these uncertain times in the world, gaining new spiritual perspective can mean a great deal for one’s peace of mind; becoming assured of God’s everlasting love can help all souls rise above earth’s shifting sands and ignite our living faith to live our best life – now and into eternity!