What we Believe
Foundations for Christian Life
No.1 - New Birth
Study verses: John 3: 3,5,7.
"In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth,
no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'"
answered, 'I tell you the truth no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he
is born of water and the spirit.'"
"You should not be surprised at my
saying, 'You must be born again'".
Let us see first of all why we must be born again, as
Jesus said. Here is the picture, the situation spelt out; examine the scripture
verses in the brackets which explain the picture.
God rules over all (Psalm 24:1,2). He has set
standards we must reach if we are to have fellowship with him. As we are all
sinners (Rom.3:23) both by birth and by practice, none of us could ever reach
that standard, yet we were made for God (Rev.4:11). Jesus is the Son of God
(Luke 4:41), himself divine. He left the Father's side and became a man like us
(Phil.2:5-8), though he was without sin (1 Peter 2:22). During his earthly life
he did meet God's standards (Mark 1:11). He offered himself on the cross as a
sacrifice to God, taking the punishment that our sins deserved (1 Peter 2:24).
He was raised from the dead and ascended back to the Father (1 Cor.15:3-4). Now
God offers salvation (a relationship with God) to all who will accept it as a
free gift, purchased by the blood of Jesus, because the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom.6:23)
If this picture is correct you can see why Peter could
say, "Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to men by which we must be saved". (Acts 4:12)
How then do you become a Christian?
NOT - by being born in a Christian country.
Billy Graham once said "If you're born in a garage it doesn't make you a motor
car". The only spiritual kingdom we are naturally born into is that of Satan,
the dominion of darkness. (Col.1:13)
NOT - by having Christian
parents. Spiritual life is not of flesh and blood. (John 1:10-13)
- by doing your best and living a good life. Salvation is not because of works.
NOT - by being christened or baptised as a baby.
Scripture knows nothing of this, and scripture is our guide. Acts 2:38 shows a
level of understanding for repentance.
NOT - by going through any
ritual or partaking of any sacrament.
NOT - by joining a church -
even this one.
BUT - BY BEING BORN INTO THE FAMILY OF
GOD! - as our study verse says. This is an inward, spiritual experience, an
encounter with Jesus Christ which puts us into a right relationship with God as
his children. People sometimes refer to it as 'being saved', 'getting
converted', or being 'born again'. To have had such an experience is the most
vital thing in the world for you as an individual. There are two parts to it:
repentance to God..... and.....faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21).
You receive this free gift when:
- You realise that God loves you and created you to
know him personally
- You acknowledge that we are separated from God by
our sin, so we cannot know him or experience his love.
- You recognise that Jesus Christ is God's solution
for our sin and that through him alone we can know God and experience his love.
- You realise that we must receive Jesus Christ into
our lives as Saviour and Lord.
- You receive him personally when you invite him into
your life by faith expressed in prayer.
You are BORN AGAIN! You are in GOD'S FAMILY! You are
SAVED! You have ETERNAL LIFE!
Consider the following bible verses in the light of
what you have learnt so far... John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that
he gave his one and only (begotten) son, that whoever believes in him shall not
perish but have eternal life."
John 5:24 - "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my
word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned;
he has crossed over from death to life."
Romans 10:9 - "That if you confess with your mouth
Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you
will be saved."
What happens at the new birth? Here are a few of the
wonderful things that happen. There are more!
1. You are BORN OF GOD - John 1:12-13: "Yet to all who
received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become
children of God..."
2. You are A NEW CREATION - 2 Corinthians 5:17:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation..."
3. You are part of a A NEW KINGDOM - Colossians 1:13:
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the
kingdom of the Son he loves..."
4. You have PASSED FROM DEATH TO LIFE - John 5:24: "I
tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has
eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to
5. You have been REDEEMED (brought back) - 1 Peter
1:18-19: "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver
and gold that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ..."
6. You have been SAVED FROM SIN - Matthew 1:21, : "...
because he will save his people from their sins." and Colossians 1:14"... in
whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
7. You have FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND HIS CHILDREN - 1
John 1:3: "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may
have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his
Son, Jesus Christ."