“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”” John 3:3 NKJV
We preach “say this prayer and you’re in” more than “repent and be born again.” The environment of Christianity has been taken over by celebrities, and many of them seek after prosperity. Their congregations would rather receive all the rewards without the responsibility of walking in obedience. The Scriptures make it very clear that if we are not born again we will not make it into Heaven. It doesn’t matter how many good deeds we’ve done, how many Christian songs we memorized, whether we were in the church band or if we knew Bible verses. If we have not been born again, Heaven is not our home.
With this Truth from Christ Himself, what then makes someone born again? How do we know what He means? How can we tell if we ourselves have gone through this conversion? Let us review three aspects to determine whether or not we have been born again.
BELIEVED JESUS CHRIST IS LORD & SAVIOR
The Father dwells within Heaven, but He Himself is also outside Heaven. ““But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You”” (1 Kings 8:27 NKJV). If God therefore is both in and outside Heaven, then He is the One Who dictates who may come to live for an eternity with Him. How can someone have Heaven be their home then? “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”” (John 14:6 NKJV). We must believe that Jesus Christ was the God-incarnated man in the flesh. We must believe that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that His Word stands true; for He Himself is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NKJV). If we believe that Christ is Lord and Savior, we must also believe and respect His Word and teachings. For mere profession is not enough; we must possess Him. It is through a genuine profession of faith in Christ that we receive new Life. This Life comes to dwell within us and it is the Holy Spirit Himself.
THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS US OF SIN
““I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”” (John 16:7-8 NKJV). When we receive the Holy Spirit through genuine belief and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be convicted when we sin. We no longer will find the same satisfaction when we do that which used to rule us. Adultery, fornication idolatry, lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping and envy will convict us if we are guilty of partaking in such things. This happens because we have received the Holy Spirit. He is like a second conscience. He Himself comes to dwell within us, and when we defile our temple, He will let us know what we have done wrong.
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:21 NKJV). We cannot sin without conviction; for if we perpetually sin without conviction, then we do not have Him. It is through conviction that we know the Holy Spirit lives within us. The more we seek and develop a friendship with Him, the more He will silently speak to our soul and guide us. We must then allow Him to convict us when we are wrong. We must learn to enjoy conviction. For it is in conviction from the Holy Spirit that we ascend into the realm of becoming more holy; that is, if we listen to His conviction and repent.
WE DESIRE GOD MORE THAN WE DESIRE TO SIN
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13 NKJV). The fear of the Lord has several meanings: It means to revere God, be in awe of Him and to literally fear Him. When we are believers, our fear of His wrath breathing down our necks begins to transition into reverence for Him. When we are born again believers, we know that our salvation rests in the finished work at Calvary. As our confidence is in Christ alone, we no longer fear death and damnation. We begin to respect God for His grace, mercy and holiness. For God is the Omnipotent Father Who can do all things just as easily.
It is by the fear of the Lord, then, that we begin to hate evil. God Himself hates pride. After Satan’s envy, it was his pride that finalized his decision to try and surpass God. For us as believers, we choose to live our lives humbly. We understand that God is God and He cannot be triumphed. As our fear of the Lord turns into reverence, we begin to hate evil. Our souls now thirst after the higher, spiritual things of life. We no longer seek to sin and do evil, but we begin to desire goodness, holiness and righteousness. To be born again resembles a change of heart to live towards eternity. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV). It takes God to know God. It takes the Holy Spirit within us to change us.
Therefore, we can know that we are born again when we have: accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, allowed and responded with repentance to the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin, and desire to follow God more than we desire to sin. If these three aspects are found within someone, we can rest assured that that person is saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 ESV).
Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. I believe that He died upon the Cross for my sins. Lord, I am grateful for Your long-suffering patience with me. Lord, I do not deserve the gift of salvation, but I accept it with all my being. Help me, O God, to hate sin and to love You. Convict me when I am wrong and sanctify me, Holy Spirit. Move upon me in a mighty way. Though I once lived in darkness, I now believe that I am transformed into a child of the Light. Shine brightly within me, Holy Spirit. May my profession of faith be genuine, as I begin and continue my journey in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.