New Birth|Do Know for Sure
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John 3:7
NEW BIRTH EXPERIENCE
Today we call people to the altar and ask them to say a prayer. When they repeat it, we do not hesitate in pronouncing them saved; but have they experienced a new birth?
Billy Sunday introduced to Christianity the idea that you must come forward and say a prayer if you want Christ. I’ve read about or heard Christian evangelists claim they believe less than 10% of the people who called themselves Christians, had a true, born again faith. When I hear this I wonder if we’re doing the right thing? People will claim Christ, yet live like the devil. When you ask them if they know Jesus, they’ll remind you they said the prayer. But the Bible reminds us that Christ changes us. If there is no change, there can be no true conversion.
Or have you listened to those who live in a homosexual relationship or have sex outside marriage defend these practices by telling you they know they have a relationship where they talk about how much closer they feel to God? Problem is, it’s not the true God. They claim God understands their needs. They remind us that we have no right to judge them because they said the prayer.
Better yet, how about the church that introduces yoga into the body of Christ. Truth is, we cannot mix yoga, which is Hinduism, and Christianity. Yoga celebrates the body and tells people to look within, while Christians are to seek Christ and pray to the Father who is in heaven. The two are incompatible.
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:37
How can we know if we have had a true conversion, a true born again experience? Jonathan Edwards gives us the following steps the Holy Spirit takes us through. As I read these, I became comforted in my soul, because unknowingly to me, they are how I describe my salvation.
Unless the Father draws us to Jesus, we have no part of Christ. We can say a prayer, but the prayer cannot save us (John 6:65). How does He draw us? He shows sinners the horror that they are lost for all eternity. These come to realize they we are sinners headed to hell. Their sins begin to bother them greatly. They realize they are not good people.
In this state, those who realize their sins will try and stop sinning on their own to free themselves from the overwhelming guilt they feel. As time passes, they realize this is a useless exercise.
Soon, they realize they cannot save themselves. Only God can do this for them. Only He can give them a true new birth experience and the forgiveness of their sins.
The lost begin to see that God is just and he must judge their sins. These know they need God’s mercy because they cannot do anything to make themselves right before God.
THEN THE FINAL STAGE
Within these people’s hearts, they begin to have affection for God.
According to Jonathan Edwards, every stage is the work of the Holy Spirit. Those who say a prayer with no understanding that they are sinners in need of a Savior will not experience a true conversion. I have heard believers confess this, saying, “I said the prayer years ago, but nothing in me changed. One day, I realized I was lost, so I humbled myself and gave my life to Him. This time, I know I have Christ.”
Do you have real saving faith? I pray you do. I pray you experienced a true born again transformation. However, if you justify your sins before the Lord and do not see them as sinful, chances are you are in the 90% headed to hell, who once said the prayer, but the Father, through the Holy Spirit, never drew them.
Picture of Jonathan Edwards under Public Domain license