The Big Question
"Have you been born again?" The question is not "Have you joined a church?" or "Are you trying to do your best?" or "Do you have religion?" but "Are you twice-born?"
- "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
We enter the physical world by birth. Spiritual life likewise is entered with a birth. We become members of a human family by birth; we become members of the family of God by birth, by being "born again." There is no other way to get into the human family except by birth, and there is no other way to get into God's family except by the new birth. Neither education, nor cultivation, nor reformation, nor "turning over a new leaf," will accomplish this. What is needed is not a new "leaf" but a new "life"!
- "You must be born again" (John 3:7).
A NEW NATURE NEEDED
By physical birth we become partakers of the human nature; by being born again we become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). A Christian is the product of a divine "begetting" (James 1:18 KJV). The second birth is not an improvement of the old nature; it is the imparting of an entirely new nature. The old nature is hopelessly corrupt and incapable of ever being made fit for His presence (Romans 3:9-20; 8:7). The new birth requires a creative act of the Holy Spirit.
- "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10).
NOT "TRYING" BUT "TRUSTING"
"Trying to follow Christ" is not Christianity. "Christianity is not imitation of Christ," it is the indwelling of Christ. Christianity is not trying to do anything. It is trusting Christ who has done it all! He has "finished the work" and there is nothing left to do but simply to receive and trust Him. He shed His precious blood on the cross and the work is all done once and forever! Cease trying and begin trusting!
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
- "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).
- "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" (1 John 5:1).
- "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)
You are born again, you become a Christian by trusting a Person--receiving a Person. The very moment you do this, the Lord Jesus Christ comes in and life begins!
WHAT IS MEANT BY "BELIEVE"?
To "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" means more than simply believing the historic facts concerning Him. Intellectual belief about Christ is not sufficient. The belief which brings salvation must be "with the heart," that is, with the whole being (Romans 10:10). This belief also includes repentance:
- "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).
- "God... now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).
The faith which saves, then, includes the necessity to repent, and to receive Christ as Savior and Lord, to rest upon Him alone for salvation. It means to trust Him so utterly and completely that, if He should fail, there would be no hope at all!
MAY I KNOW THAT I AM BORN AGAIN?
This is an important question. We know that we are born again by the testimony of God's Word. Jesus Himself says, "he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24). Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as explained by God's Word? If so, then you are saved, you are "born again," you have "passed from death unto life." God says so! Take God at His Word, and go on your way rejoicing!
ONE FINAL WORD
You may "belong to a church," you may be "trying to do the best you can," you may be "striving to live right." Your outward life may be the model of moral correctness, and you may be looked up to, honored, revered and respected. Yet, if you have not been "born again" you are just as lost as if you had never heard of Christ. Yes, you may teach in the Sunday School, read the Bible, sing, shout, "feel happy," and all the rest - but if you have never been "born again" you are still in your sins and a stranger to the Lord Jesus Christ! (Matthew 7:21-23).
[Bible quotes are from the New King James version.]