3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
How can you know you have been born again? The Bible tells me so is a great answer. But experientially, is there evidence of your new birth since confessing and repenting of your sins, and putting your trust in Christ for your eternal salvation? Or are you pretty much the same old fellow or gal you were BEFORE you labeled yourself as a Christian?
Christianity has been a part of my life since my first birth. I was raised by a family of believers. My conscience was formed with Biblical values. I can’t recall a day when I didn’t believe in Christ. But yet, Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7) A second birth is required for eternal life. (John 3:3)
You can be a moral person and still not be saved. A life of doing good without the second birth misses the mark.
It’s common to hear church-going Christians say they hope to live a good enough life to get into heaven. They picture Saint Peter standing at the gates to heaven with a clipboard. That’s right up there with the erroneous belief that Christians become angels when they die. To be clear, heaven is not earned, it is a gift from God that we access solely by faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
So, let’s look at some ways we can know we are born again and anchored in the faith.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. 2 Corinthians 5:17
(1) You have a second birthday.
Although the new birth is a free gift from God, it is not automatic. You must willingly accept the gift. There had to have been a specific place and time when it occurred. And you must have been old enough to make an informed decision.
How old is old enough? There is no set age. Jesus welcomes children without specifying age. (Luke 18:16) But the child must be old enough to comprehend his sin condition, the consequences of it, and his need for God’s remedy.
I was baptized as an infant, but rebirth and baptism are not the same. The seed of the gospel must first be planted and once it takes root then faith follows. “… faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17) The Holy Spirit gives personal meaning to the message, convicts our hearts of sin, and opens our eyes to the word of God.
Can you identify a time in your life when you consciously made a decision to confess your sins, repent, and trust in Christ for your eternal salvation? And can you look back on that event as a turning point in your walk with God?
(2) You have a living hope.
Our focus text from 1 Peter tells us that we were born into a living hope. Biblical hope differs from worldly hope; definite, sure, and guaranteed. It’s not the same as saying, “I hope I can afford a new car,” or “I hope Johnny passed his math exam.” That kind of hope is expectation with uncertainty. If you are born again, your hope is unwavering in your belief that God will remain completely faithful to His eternal promises.
Is there a confidence in your spirit that you belong to Christ and His hope is in you? Do you expect God to fulfill His promises in your life?
(3) You desire spiritual things.
Your first birth was into sin and by the flesh. But the new birth is spiritual. You have been newly created and have entered into eternal fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Although we prefer to think of ourselves as independent thinkers, we are influenced by our inner circle of relationships, our educators, and what we allow into our minds. Fellowship with the Godhead changes our perspective, causes us to be selective about what enters our minds, and leads us toward spiritual pursuits. Walking with God puts a new song in your heart, causes you to prefer godly relationships, and to process information from a Biblical perspective.
Last year I visited the eye doctor for a long overdue exam. A few days later, I returned to pick up my new glasses which caused me to see things more clearly. What had been blurred became crystal clear. Rebirth causes us to see things differently and more clearly from a heavenly perspective.
Have your desires and pursuits changed since your rebirth? Do your spiritual desires take precedence over your earthly desires? Has coming to Christ altered your entertainment choices, the things you think about, and what comes out of your mouth?
The bottom line: consider how you have changed since you gave your life to Christ. Tomorrow, we’ll continue to look at 10 Signs You have been Born Again.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Heaven is a Choice and Not Mandatory
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.