You must be born again
“You must be born again” (John 3:7 – NKJV).
Therefore, the new birth is absolutely necessary according to Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came down from heaven to speak to us what His Father had commanded Him to say. But why is it necessary? Because, as Jesus had said to Nicodemus just a few moments before:
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
The kingdom of God is the Paradise of God, a wonderful and glorious place which is in heaven, where those who have entered into it at their death are resting from their labors and are waiting for the resurrection of their body, which will take place at the second coming of Jesus (Revelation 6:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). So – according to the words of Jesus – in order to enter the Paradise of God a man must be born again. But where will he go after death if he is not born again? He will go to a place called Hades (a Greek word which means ‘the unseen world’) better known as HELL, which is located in the heart of the earth, which is a place of torment without any order, a place of thick darkness where there is an unfanned fire, and where – as Jesus said several times – there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Job 10:21-22; 20:26; Luke 16:22-31). There he will be waiting for the day of judgement, on which he will be raised up in order to be judged according to his works and to be cast into Geenna, that is, into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8), where he will remain for ever and ever suffering terrible and severe torments. As you can see, the new birth is very important: it is the way by which a man can be saved from the fire of hell (Hades) first, and then from the fire of the lake of fire and brimstone (Geenna). It is not a way, but THE WAY; there is no other way by which a man can be saved from eternal perdition.
Now let me tell you how a man can experience the new birth in his own life. But in order to explain it to you adequately, I first of all need to tell you something about Adam, the first man, for it was through him that sin entered into the world and when we speak about the new birth we need to speak about sin.
Now, after God created man He put him in the Garden of Eden and commanded him not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lest he would die, as God told him:
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
However, Adam disobeyed God, and in that same day he died, not physically but spiritually. And through him sin entered into the world and passed upon all men, as it is written:
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Therefore, all have sinned and are spiritually dead as was Adam after he sinned (Romans 3:23). Here is the point, spiritual death reigns over those who have sinned. Therefore you, too, have sinned before God, no matter how many sins you have committed, no matter what kind of sins you are guilty of, maybe you have robbed just a little sum of money, or a great sum of money in a bank, maybe you have said a lie just to joke or in order to hide a wicked deed done by you or by someone else, maybe you have said a bad word to someone or you have blasphemed the name of God, and I could go on, sin is sin and its wages is death anyhow (Romans 6:23; James 1:15). Therefore YOU ARE A SINNER, you are spiritually dead. There is no life in you – spiritually speaking – but only death. You are thus a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), the fierce anger of God is upon you for God hates all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). That’s why you have no fellowship with God, that’s why you have no hope, that’s why you are afraid of death and when you hear someone speaking about death you touch wood but in vain for death is approaching very quickly, and that’s why it gives you the shivers to hear someone speaking to you about hell, and you try to change the subject or you try not to hear, because you are dead in your sins and trespasses. Maybe you went to confess your sins to a priest, but you confessed them in vain, for after he ‘absolved’ you and you did the things he told you to do in order to expiate your sins you have continued to feel inwardly that you are a sinner, a lost and hopeless sinner. Those sins you confessed to the priest are still attached to your conscience and they are a great burden to you. The conscience that God put within you bears witness of this to you. All this because the priest cannot remit sins unto men.
Therefore, since you are in this spiritual condition, you need to be quickened, that is, to experience a spiritual resurrection which will bring to you spiritual life and thus will bring you into fellowship with God. In other words, you need to be born again.
Here is what you must do to be born again. You must repent of your sins, that is, you must repent of your iniquities and forsake them, and believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day for our justification, and He appeared to the witnesses whom God had already chosen, that is, the apostles (Acts 10:38-43; 20:21). In other words, you must believe the Gospel of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-5), that is, the Good News that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to be the propitiation for our sins that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9-10). In the very moment you do these things, you will experience a new birth and thus you will become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).
You will be born again by the power of the Word of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23), which is symbolized in the Scripture by the water (Isaiah 55:10-11; Ephesians 5:25-27), and of the Holy Spirit. Immediately you will experience the washing of your sins, and thus the forgiveness of God which will bring to you the peace and the joy of salvation. You will be no longer a child a wrath, for you will be a child of God; you will be no longer an enemy of God, for you will be reconciled to God; you will be no longer a slave of sin, for you will be set free from sin; you will be no longer on the way which leads to the fire of hell, but on the way that leads to the Paradise of God, thus you will be no longer afraid of death as well as of hell, for you will know where you will go after death. All this by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore you will have nothing to boast about before God because you will receive all these things freely and not by works of righteousness which you have done (Titus 3:4-7).
How you must conduct yourself after the new birth
After you have experienced the new birth, since the Holy Spirit will bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God washed in the precious blood of Jesus, you must be baptized in water because Jesus, before He was received up into heaven, commanded to baptize those who believe in Him, as He said: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). You must undergo water baptism in order to have a good conscience toward God, for the apostle Peter says that baptism is “an appeal to God for a good conscience” (1 Peter 3:21 – NASB). Through your baptism you will testify before the devil and his invisible ministers (as well as before the unbelievers who will be present or who will hear about your baptism) that you have become a disciple of Christ Jesus, that you have decided to live for Him who died and was raised again for us, that you have denied yourself and the pleasures of sin that the devil offers you through this wicked world. For you must understand these things: first, that when one is born again he is delivered from this world, which lies under the sway of the wicked one, and is conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of God; second, that before the new birth he served sin, but after the new birth he is a servant of righteousness.
Water baptism is therefore an act through which a believer declares that he died to sin and to the world. Therefore look for a community of believers in Jesus Christ immediately, and ask the pastor or the elders of that community to baptize you (Acts 8:36-38). And then stay with the members of that community for they are born again too. They are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, whom you must love in deed and in truth (1 John 3:16-18), because that’s what Jesus Christ commanded us (John 15:17), and with whom you must walk together as you wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus from heaven. Attend the Church meetings, look for the brothers also when there are no official meetings and stay with them to talk about the things pertaining to Jesus and to His kingdom, to pray, to sing, and to do all kinds of good works to the glory of God (Acts 2:41-47). In this way you will increase all the more in strength and you will grow spiritually.
Of course, your new birth will be noticed by your parents, by your wife or husband, by your sons, and by all those who know you. What should be your attitude toward them? Tell them what happened to you, that is, how the Lord had mercy on you forgiving your sins and how He begot you again unto new life (Luke 8:39), do that in order to win them to Christ. Do not be ashamed to declare the work that God has wrought in you, as Jesus was not ashamed to die for you on the cross (Mark 8:38). Furthermore, you ought to set an example for them in speech, in love, in purity, in life, so that they might see in you the light of the Lord (Matthew 5:14-16) and of course in order to win them to Christ.
That means you must abstain from every fleshly and worldly lusts of which you were slave before your new birth. Stop killing, sinning against nature, fornicating, committing adultery, being effeminate, robbing, blaspheming, saying lies and bad words, loving money, being arrogant, haughty, impolite, violent, quick-tempered, stop wearing expensive clothes as well as tight and provocative clothes – If you are a man stop wearing shorts and putting yourself bare-chested in the presence of others – stop watching television, listening to worldly music, going to dance, going to bar to play cards or wasting time in some other ways, stop going to football, soccer, basketball, baseball and boxing matches, going to the beach or to the swimming pool to get tanned and to amuse yourself. – If you are a woman stop wearing trousers, miniskirts, low-necked dresses, transparent dresses, tight dresses, expensive clothing, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings (1 Timothy 2:9-10), and stop wearing make-up. In other words, whoever you are, you must abstain from every form of evil (Titus 2:11-14).
You may ask why you must abstain even from many things which are not considered any longer evil things: well, the reason is because through the new birth one becomes the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:18-20), that is, his body becomes the spiritual house where God dwells, and since God is holy he must offer the parts of his body in slavery to righteousness and holiness, and not in slavery to impurity and vanity (Romans 6:12-23), and he must control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). And those things the world says you can do, are perverse things in the sight of God. He doesn’t like them and because of these things cometh the wrath of God from heaven.
Be zealous for good works, help those who are in need especially those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10), orphans, widows and the poor among the saints; support materially the pastor and the elders who teach you the Word of God, they are worthy of your support (Galatians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 9:7-11,14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18); read the Holy Scripture and meditate on it (2 Timothy 3:14-17), pray continually to God in the name of Jesus Christ giving thanks to Him in everything (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18) but pray in faith and wait patiently for His answer. Pray for your brothers and sisters, that their love may abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that they may walk worthy of the Lord (Philippians 1:8-11; Colossians 1:9-12); and pray also for sinners, that they may be saved (Romans 10:1 and 1 Timothy 2:1-7). Pray to God for the governing authorities, that He may keep, help and bless them (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Ask God to give you wisdom ( James 1:5-8), in order to walk in wisdom; the baptism with the Holy Spirit, through which the believer is endued with power from on high (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:13; Acts 1:8; 2:4), and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are given for the edifying of the Church (1 Corinthians 14:12).
Proclaim the Gospel to all men: Roman Catholics, Jews, Hindu people, Buddhists, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons etc.; tell them about the grace of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Finally, remember that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, who did not commit any sin and who sought only the good of the people, was hated by the world; therefore do not marvel if those belonging to this world will hate you and persecute you once you have passed from death unto life (John 15:18-25; 1 John 3:13-14).
Suffer your afflictions as Jesus Christ suffered His own afflictions; and rejoice that you are counted worthy to suffer shame for His Holy Name, which is blessed for ever (Matthew 5:11-12; Acts 5:40:41). Stand fast in the faith unto death and you will receive the crown of life.