I praise the Lord for keeping His hand on me through-out my life. When I was 5 years old, a neighbor lady started giving me a ride to the Methodist church on Sundays. There I experienced the love of God drawing me through an older lady, who was my Sunday school teacher. As a child, I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart. I continued going to the Methodist church until we moved back to Pasco County, in the middle of my eighth grade year of school.
Soon after my family moved back to Pasco County (where we lived when I was born), a friend of the family, an older lady, starting picking me and my friend (whose family also moved from Citrus to Pasco County, at the same time) up and taking us to the local Baptist Church. There the Pastor talked with us about making a profession of faith in front of the church and then being baptized, which we did.
As the Pastor led us through the “sinner’s prayer,” I began to sense the presence of the Lord and tears began to flow. I remember feeling a love for the people in the congregation like I had not felt before. After that, I had such a hunger to be in church every time the doors were open because I sensed the presence of the Lord there.
As I said, even though I had asked Jesus to come into my heart as a child, I did not experience being “born again” at that time. I think I was under the age of accountability and was not old enough to truly understand the commitment I was making. But, at the age of 14, after praying the “sinner’s prayer,” I truly sensed the presence of the Lord enter my heart and life.
As I reflected on this recently, I wondered how many people have prayed the “sinner’s prayer,” but did not truly experience being born again, either because they were too young to understand the commitment they were making, they didn’t truly mean what they prayed, or they did not continue in their commitment to Christ.
1 John 3:9-10 says: No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God. By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness [who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow believer in Christ). (AMP)
How Do We Know That We Have Been Born Again?
- A New Nature – The previous scripture is telling us that when we have been born again or begotten of God, we receive a new nature and we will not continue to practice a sinful lifestyle. This is not talking about a perfect performance, but when you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, He convicts you of sin and He changes your desires so that you no longer want to “practice” sinning. We still have a flesh or sinful nature that will cause us to be tempted and sometimes to fail, but as we feed our “spirit man” with the word of God and grow as Christians, we will become more Christ-like.
In John 6:28-29, some people were asking Jesus basically how to be saved: They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?] Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger). AMP
2. Believe – The word believe in the original language and as used in the New Testament means: faith in, trust in, reliance upon, adherence to, and to obey. It is more than mental assent to the fact that He is God. James 2:19 says: You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as make a man’s hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]! (AMP). We know that demons do not have saving faith or true biblical belief that leads one to salvation.
3. Good Works – James goes on to say that faith without works is dead and if a person is truly born again, it will be evident by his works. James 2:17 says: So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead). (AMP). We are not working to earn our salvation, which is a free gift, but good works that are prompted by the Holy Spirit living in us is part of the evidence that we have been truly born again.
4. Good Fruit – In Matthew 7:18-20, Jesus said: A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits. (AMP). We cannot bear good fruit on our own. It is a by-product of being connected to the vine, Jesus (see John 15, Galatians 5:22-23).
5. Continuing in Christ – Becoming a Christian is a life-long commitment and requires abiding in Christ (remaining in vital union with Him). In John 15:6, Jesus said: If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.
There are many who start the walk with Christ, but do not continue. I would like to encourage anyone who has never truly been born again to invite Jesus to come into your heart and ask Him to forgive you of your sins and make you a “new creation.” If you started with Christ, but fell away, I invite you to recommit your life to Him and then begin studying the word of God and meeting with other believers who will help you grow in your faith. I believe there are some hard times coming and we all need to be anchored in God’s word and strengthened by fellowship with other believers. God bless you all.
In Christ ~ Kelly Rowe