YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Jesus tells us that the gates of heaven are closed to us unless we are born again. Therefore we ask: Friend, are you born again? Church member, are you born again? If not, then you are lost. For Jesus says, “. . . Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
But you may ask, What is being born again? First we will say what it is not. It is not baptism, for some were baptized and yet not born again. (Acts 8:18-25). It is not joining the church, for some slipped in unawares. (Galatians 2:4). It is not eating of the Lord’s table, for some ate unworthily and it brought condemnation. (1 Corinthians 11:29). It is not reform or trying to live better, “. . . for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). It is not praying, for Jesus says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
Someone may say, “If I try and do all I can; giving to the poor, visiting the sick, and be as good as I can every day, then surely I am born again.” No, we cannot be what we are not: “for the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). WE MUST HAVE A CHANGE OF HEART. For God by the prophets says: “A new heart also will I give you” (Ezekiel 36:26).
Then, what is the new birth? How and when do we receive it? Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh . . .” (John 3:6). When a child is born a new life comes forth, a new person in the flesh. So likewise when we are born again, a new life in Christ Jesus after the Spirit comes forth. Therefore it is called a birth-a new life in Christ Jesus which is to live forever.
If we come to God as a lost, burdened sinner longing for peace, and in our distress cry, “what must I do to be saved?” then we must, as Paul said, “believe on the Lord Jesus.” We must completely surrender to God.
God who looks on the heart sees your sincerity. He comes to you through the power of the Holy Ghost and creates within you a right spirit. (Psalm 51:10). Thus you are born again-a new creature in Christ Jesus by faith in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17).
But when may I expect to be born again? God says by the Holy Ghost “. . . Today, if ye hear his voice,” (Hebrews 3:7). That means at any age, time or place if we hear the call and respond, we can be born again by the Spirit, thus becoming children of God.
But how long will it take, must I not grow in to the new birth? No, we are born into the kingdom of God; that makes us children and heirs, and may take place the moment we surrender all and come to Jesus for pardon.
Finally: How may I know that I am born again? Paul in Romans 8:1,6,9,10 teaches, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The Bible teaches the lost are dead in sin, condemned, having an evil conscience, carnally minded, without hope, disobedient, and without God in the world. Contrariwise, a born again Christian is a child of God, alive in Christ, saved, having no condemnation, having a good conscience, spiritually minded, filled with the Holy Ghost, and faith, with a hope of everlasting life. His sins are blotted out by the blood of Jesus. His heart is filled with love and the peace of God which passeth understanding. He loves, desires, and has the power to do the Lord’s will. He cherishes a hope beyond the grave, and the promise of a home in heaven. Could anyone go through such a change and not realize it? Hardly, for “the spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
Dear reader, if you have not had this experience with the peace and joy it brings to the soul, do not rest in ease, for you are trifling with God and your own soul. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.
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Published by the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite