Why must we be born again? Because Jesus said this was necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

What changes when we are born again? Our sins are forgiven, and we are given a new nature that loves God and others.

What is the difference between believing in Jesus and being born again? Many people believe in Jesus the way they believe in UFO’s. This kind of belief does not save a person.

Mere belief is a simple acknowledgement that we hold something to be factual. Believing that results in being born again comes from surrendering to God’s will because we trust Him. Without surrender, belief is just academic.

What must one do to be born again? This was answered when Peter preached the first sermon after the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:37-38 New Living Translation (NLT)

37 “Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Faith comes first by believing in Jesus as the Son of God along with the acknowledgement that you have sinned through a life of disobedience and rebellion against God. This faith leads us to surrender ourselves to God and His will. Then, by faith the Holy Spirit makes you aware that your sin deserves eternal death, but the grace Jesus Christ offers to forgive you of your sins, and to cleanse you of them. In other words, Jesus doesn’t just take you out of the mud, he takes the mud from you.

Repentance is not just being contrite or remorseful about past sins; it is also agreeing with God and despising and avoiding future sin.

The first part of turning to God is to accept the gift of grace and allow Jesus to cleanse you of your sins. Until this moment in your life, you lived by following yourself, the crowd, the impulses, and desires of your flesh, but now you follow Jesus. You are declaring to yourself, to the world, and to God that you will serve, obey, and love Him above all other interests. The ritual of baptism is a testimony of being cleansed by Jesus. Going under is likened to dying with Christ and coming up is likened to rising with Jesus. The whole Godhead is named over you and indicates that no one, not even you, yourself has a greater claim on your life than does God.

What about people who can’t be baptized? Will they be saved? God is God and it is not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to eternal life. If merciful exceptions need to be made, God can and will lovingly do what is right and needed.

Receiving the Holy Spirit is what God does to give us the new birth. The Holy Spirit is God living in us, helping us live the new life as sons and daughter of God. Going forward, we are to live for God empowered as new creations who obey the Lord God.

All of this is what is needed to be saved from sin, death, and hell. All of this is what it means to be born again.

Are you living in the power of new life? Is God in charge of all you do? Have you believed in Jesus, agreed with God’s verdict of death on sin, and accepted that you need forgiven? Have you surrendered everything to God? We can’t be born again if we only partly commit to God. Have you accepted the free grace of Jesus, the full gift of the Holy Spirit to cause the new life to live in and through you? All of this is what it means to be a truly saved Christian. Are you truly saved?

Contact Pastor Lamb at icumc@yahoo.com.