Monday, December 27, 2010

Are You Born Again?

Changed from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly! This transformation that takes place in nature is a good illustration of what happens when a person experiences the new birth.

New Birth Is Needed

In God's eyes, our natural state is unattractive, too, since we are born in sin and formed in iniquity (Psalm 51:5). As we grow, we continue to live after the desires of the flesh and mind (Ephesians 2:3). This is opposed to God's purpose in creating us, and shows our need to be made new creatures in Christ Jesus. Only the new birth can give us new desires and a new life. The caterpillar does not become a butterfly by education, religion, or self-effort. Likewise, it is only by the miraculous metamorphosis of new birth that your life and mine can be made beautiful to God.

New Birth Is From God

John 1:12,13 state the facts of the new birth: "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the [children] of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Only those born of a certain man have the right to be recognized as the children of that man. So only those who are born of God have the right to be recognized as the children of God. Thus it is that those who receive Christ as Saviour and Lord become children of God. To receive Christ is to have true repentance to God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

How Are We Born Again?

John 3:5 tells how we receive the new birth--"water and the Spirit." What the water signifies is plainly told in Ephesians 5:26. The water is the Word of God--the gospel of Christ preached to sinners like you and me--which, by the sovereign power of the Holy Spirit, produces the new birth. (See also 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18.)

When Are We Born Again?

John 20:31 gives us the time of the new birth: "and that believing ye might have life through His Name." It is immediately upon believing that we receive life eternal. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36).

You Must Be Born Again

Nothing that we can do will enable us to "see" or "enter the kingdom of God." For this, the Lord Jesus says, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).

Without the new birth, we have no life toward God. By being "born again" through faith in the Lord Jesus, we receive everlasting life. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Without the new birth, we are "condemned already" (John 3:18). By being born again, we are freed from judgment (John 5:24). If you are to be eternally saved, it is absolutely necessary for you, dear reader, to be born again.

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

From MWTB

13 comments:

Gary said...

Isn't it odd that if the Baptists and evangelicals are correct that their "born again experience" is the true and ONLY means of salvation, the term "born again" is only mentioned three times in the King James Bible? If "making a decision for Christ" is the only means of salvation, why doesn't God mention it more often in his Word? Why only THREE times? Isn't that REALLY, REALLY odd?

Why is it that the Apostle Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, NEVER uses this term? Why is this term never used in the Book of Acts to describe the many mentioned Christian conversions? Why is this term only used by Jesus in a late night conversation with Nicodemus, and by Peter once in just one letter to Christians in Asia Minor?

If you attend a Baptist/evangelical worship service what will you hear? You will hear this: "You must be born again: you must make a decision for Christ. You must ask Jesus into your heart. You must pray to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and be your Lord and Savior (the Sinner's Prayer). You must be an older child or adult who has the mental capacity to make a decision to believe, to make a decision to repent, and to make a decision to ask Jesus into your heart."

It is very strange, however, that other than "you must be born again" none of this terminology is anywhere to be found in the Bible! Why do Baptists and evangelicals use this non-biblical terminology when discussing salvation?

Maybe...making a "decision" for Christ is NOT how God saves sinners!

Gary
Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

bot1 said...

Not all Baptists/Evangelicals believe "you must make a decision for Christ. You must ask Jesus into your heart. You must pray to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and be your Lord and Savior (the Sinner's Prayer)." However, as you point out, the Lord Jesus said you must be born again. What's the difference? Check out article: http://beltoftruth1.blogspot.com/2009/10/decisional-regeneration-and-sovereignty.html it may help answer your questions.

Gary said...

Five questions that Baptists and Evangelicals should ask themselves

1. Does the Bible state that a sinner is capable of choosing righteousness/choosing God?

The Bible states that the sinner must believe and repent, but are these actions initiated and performed by man of his own intellectual abilities, or are faith, belief, and repentance a part of the entire "package" of salvation? Are faith, belief, and repentance part of the "free gift"? Does God give you faith, belief and repentance at the moment he "quickens" you, or does he require you to make a decision that you want them first, and only then does he give them to you?

2. Is there any passage of Scripture that describes salvation in the Baptist/evangelical terms of: "Accept Christ into your heart", "Make a decision for Christ", "Pray to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and be your Lord and Savior (the Sinner's Prayer)". Is it possible that being "born again" is something that God does at a time of his choosing, and not something that man decides to do at a time of his choosing? Is man an active participant in his salvation in that he cooperates with God in a decision to believe, or is man a passive participant in his salvation; God does ALL the work?

3. Is the Bible a static collection of words or do the Words of God have real power, real supernatural power? How does the Bible describe the Word? Is it the meaning of the Word that has power or do the words themselves have supernatural power to "quicken" the souls of sinners, creating faith, belief and repentance?

4. Does preaching the Word save everyone who hears it or only the "predestined", the "elect", the "called", the "appointed" will believe when they hear the Word?

5. WHEN does the Bible, if read in its simple, plain, literal rendering, say that sins are forgiven and washed away?

Gary
Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

Gary said...

When do you believe that a sinner is born again?

bot1 said...

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. -Ezekiel 36:26

This is something God does in His own good time and has nothing to do with what man does.

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Gary said...

I agree with those passages 100%. But does salvation occur at one specific moment or is it a process?

If you believe salvation is a process, could you give any examples of such a salvation in the NT?

bot1 said...

Gary, I think we're on the same page. :) Salvation happens in a moment just like it did to Paul. May the Lord bless.

Gary said...

Yes, I believe we are very close in our beliefs on salvation, but I would like to leave you with this last comment:

We are in agreement that a sinner must believe to be saved. What I am asking you to consider is the PURPOSE of Christian baptism. Is the purpose of baptism really only as an act of obedience/public profession of faith? If so, why is there no statement to that effect anywhere in the Bible?

Why is the term "born again" used only three times in the KJV Bible but the word "baptism" or one of it's variants (to baptize) is used over 100 times in the NT? If baptism is simply the after-thought that most evangelicals make it out to be, why did Jesus, his disciples, the Apostles Paul and Peter make such a big deal about it?

Is baptism really a work of man as Baptists and evangelicals claim...or is baptism a work of God?

Lastly, there is no historical evidence found anywhere on planet earth, including areas never under the control of the Catholic Church or the Roman Empire, in which ANY Christian in the first approximately 800 years of Christianity believed that baptism is simply and only an act of OUR obedience/OUR public profession of faith. All evidence from this time period points to early Christians, from the very disciples of the Apostles such as Polycarp onward, believed that baptism means much, much more.

I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to the Truth of the Gospel and re-read the Bible without your denominational biases.

God bless!
Gary
http://www.LutherWasNotBornAgain.com

bot1 said...

There is a physical baptism and a spiritual baptism. Many confuse the two. However, there is a command to be baptized and a true Christian will obey the command. If however, you are suggesting that physical baptism is a requirement for salvation then the penitent thief is in hell. Regarding it's meaning, as with many things in the Bible, there will be much to learn on the other side.

Thanks Gary for taking the time to write your comments.

Gary said...

No orthodox Christian Church (RCC, EOC, Lutheran, Anglican) believes that baptism is an absolute requirement for salvation. Baptism is one of several "when"s of salvation, it is NOT the "how" of salvation.

bot1 said...

Well, I had to ask. Today, one can identify with an orthodox denomination and still have abhorrent beliefs. Thanks again.

Gary said...

Here is another interesting point regarding salvation to consider, brother:

How many steps did you complete to receive the "free gift" of Salvation?

Is this a "free" gift?

I tell my child that I have an incredible gift for him. However, in order for the gift to be his, he must:

1. apologize for his bad behavior and sincerely mean it.
2. he must commit to change his ways and follow MY ways for the rest of his life.
3. he must make a decision that he WANTS my gift.
4. he must then approach me, hold out his hands, ask me for the gift, and cooperate with me, as I place the gift into his hands.

If he does all this, he will receive his gift. But...if he chooses to reject my gift, I will damn him to HELL!

Now is this "gift" really a gift...or a REWARD for making the right decision?

No, that is NOT a gift.

This is a gift: "Dear Son, I have a gift for you. Here it is. I love you more than words can describe", and then I place the gift in my son's lap. No strings attached. The gift is his. He did nothing to receive it. I did everything.

THAT is a gift!

So what is God's free gift? It is the whole salvation package: faith, belief, repentance, forgiveness of sins, atonement, and eternal life. It is ALL free... to those whom God has predestined, before the world existed, for reasons we do not know, to be his children.

Gary

www.LutherWasNotBornAgain.com

bot1 said...

Amen!

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