What does it means to be
One day a man named Nicodemus came to Jesus with admiration and praise of His teaching and power. Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews and well acquainted with the Old Testament scriptures. But Jesus said to this religious and moral man-
"Assuredly I say unto you, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
Nicodemus could not understand this and exclaimed, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be Born?" You see, Nicodemus was thinking about another physical birth, (many other people today think that the New Birth is something physical like joining a Church, taking the sacraments, turning over a new leaf, etc.) but Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth. Everyone of us has been born physically, but to get to heaven we must be "Born of God"-we must have a
spiritual change, a spiritual birth within our lives.
To clarify this to Nicodemus, Jesus continued,
"Assuredly, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:5,6
There are Two Births
Birth #1 Physical birth which we all have had: Jesus referred to this as being "born of water" or "that which is born of the flesh is flesh."
Birth #2 Spiritual birth which is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit: This is being "born of the Spirit," because "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"
In order to be born of the Spirit (Born Again) one must come to Jesus Christ in obedience and faith. The Apostle Peter in writing to born again believers said,
"Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto sincere love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever." I Peter 1:22,23
The new birth is accomplished by the power of the incorruptible seed, Jesus Christ who is the everlasting Word of God. The Bible further promises...
"But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Through receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the miracle of the second birth takes place in our lives. We are born of God!
"Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God..." (I John 5:la)
But being a born again child of God is not the natural condition of any person. Only those who have "received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God."
How may I "receive" Christ?
Receiving Jesus Christ involves two basic things: turning from sin in repentance and believing in Him as our Savior and God. Jesus preached and greatly emphasized in all His ministry-
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:15
Peter preached on the day of Pentecost,
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:35
Peter's Spirit-filled message was repentance and faith in the person of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. For the Jews to be baptized in the name of Jesus the Christ meant a new faith (Christianity) and a new way of life. Baptism is an outward testimony of one's repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
1. Repentance- God promises forgiveness to all who will truly confess and turn from their sins.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I John 1:9
To be sorry that we have sinned against a holy God and to repent is the door way to the new birth.
"Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may he blotted out..." Acts 3:19a
"He that covers his sins shall not prosper; but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy." Proverbs 28:13
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:7
Repentance involves confessing, forsaking and doing away with sin in all its forms. God will give us power to do such if we will look to Christ in faith.
2. Faith - True faith in Jesus Christ means absolute trust. Forsaking All I Trust Him. While repentance is the door way to receiving Christ, the key that opens the door to the New Birth is faith. (Many receive not because they believe not) Remember our scripture in
"But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME." Now, to believe in Jesus Christ means to totally commit our lives to Him, to fully believe that His sacrifice on the cross atones for our sins, to follow His teachings in the New Testament, to rely upon Him alone as our salvation, and to live a life of trusting Him as our all in all: This is victorious faith-
"For whosoever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God."
I John 5:4,5.
Reader, if you will open your heart right now and trust Christ to be your Savior, you will experience what it means to be born again. As you pray now, confess your sins to Christ. Tell Him that you are leaving the ways of sin, never to return to such a life again. Pour out your heart to Him. Tell Him every secret. He is ready to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. As you open your heart to Him in repentance, it will be easy to trust Him to forgive you. He has promised and He will as you now believe!
If you would like someone to pray with you and give further counsel, please contact me at any time. We are sending forth this. message with a sincere desire to lead people to know Christ as their personal Savior.
-Pastor Wayne Steury
Berne Church of the Nazarene
605 Sprunger ST