New Birth, New Life through Jesus
Jesus said that we must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God. We have to be born of the Spirit (John 3:3–6) and become children of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:14).
No one is naturally His child; that is something that many people do not realize. Romans 8:9 says, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
We have all been separated from God because of sin, and there is a gap that we cannot bridge on our own. We need Jesus, who is the mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is the door (John 10:9) and there is a gate to enter (Matthew 7:13). When you walk through the gate, it is a one-time experience of becoming God’s child.
Sometimes when people hear “repent,” they think it means to gradually get better, when in reality it is an instant change of mind and a change in the direction of life, when you let Jesus change your heart. It is not by your own works or a gradual change, but His work that happens in an instant, when you become God’s child and receive His Spirit.
Let’s look at some verses that show the contrast between lost and saved.
1. Jesus came to purify us.
“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:15–17
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14
2. We were dead, and now have new life.
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Titus 3:3–6
Ephesians 2:1–10 is a perfect parallel:
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
3. God continues to work in our hearts, and there is evidence.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9–11
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:19–24
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
Romans chapters 6 through 8 show the difference between the old man and the new man; Romans 6:2 says we are dead to sin, verse 3 says we are baptized into Christ, verse 6 says old man is crucified, and verse 14 says “sin shall not have dominion over you.” Verse 18 declares us free: “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Note: John 8 verses 34–36 also speaks of freedom, and; Colossians 2:11 through 3:10 describes being buried with Christ, risen with Him, and having the new man.)
Romans 7:5 says, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” The thought is continued in Romans 8, again showing that our state is in the Spirit: “…ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Verse 14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
1 John 3:1–10 describes our state as children of God:
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
This is interpreted different ways, but we can all see generally that salvation does make a difference, for those of us that are “born again” with His Spirit in us.
Have you had your heart changed by Jesus, with new desires? Do you tell others how they can be changed by Him? And when you share the gospel, do you make it clear to people that they are lost and separated from God, and they need His transforming power and new life?