Our Lord Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, in John 3:3
"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
What does it mean to be born again?
How does one receive the Spirit?
"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:5)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into this world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him."
"Whoever believes on the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains in him." (John 3:36)
We are "born again" the moment we receive our Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts and He lives in us, and we accept the truth that we cannot save ourselves (from sin, from guilt, from hell).
"For the wages of Sin is Death, but the Gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord".(Romans 6:23).
We know we are "born again" because God's Word (not our emotions or intellectual assent) says so. We do not become born again by joining a Christian church and get baptized into that church.
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:17)
This gift of eternal life is given by grace from God. We do not earn it or deserve it, and we cannot add anything to it by our good works, it is free and is given out of God's love and mercy. Even our own repentance comes from God's drawing us near to Him. "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith- and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
What is eternal life?
Eternal life is a permanent gift, it is not removed when we sin, nor revoked when we fail in our obedience. Our assurance that we have it is God's Word, "that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish...but have eternal life."
Jesus said that "This is eternal life: that they may know You, the One True God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent." (John 17:3)
Our relationship with Christ gives us access to the Father and His Spirit works in us for His purpose. "If you love Me, you will obey My command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth."(John 14-17).
"For it is God Who works in you to will and to do according to His good purpose."(Philippians 2:13)
Our assurance is this: "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (Romans 8:16)
"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave them the right to become children of God -children born not of natural descent...but born of God." (John 1:12)
How do we know that we are children of God?
I. We sin less and less.
"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; and he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."
(1 John 3:9)
2. We are moved to obey God and His commands, an obedience borne out of love for Him, not out of fear.
"Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gives in us."
(1 John 3:24)
Eternal life is a gift that we have forever,and Romans 8:38 says:
"I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
How do we "receive" this gift from God?
We have to verbally declare in an audible voice that we accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior of our lives. Those who are ill and can no longer speak can say their affirmation by squeezing the hand in agreement.
Romans 10:8-13 says:
"The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
Finally, obedience is the result of salvation. We obey because we love God and acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives. We give (tithe) because it is our form of worship and a declaration of our love for God (not for the intention of getting rich).
"Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did."(1 John 2:6)
Salvation means being saved from a life of sin. It is being set free from the chains of a sinful life and living in victory over sin. Where Christ is LORD, sin is no longer the master. Only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was grace released to all men - grace that would move in their hearts and mind to finally be reconciled with God and to know Him personally by daily experience and His Word. Only through the Holy Spirit can we be enabled and strengthened to live according to the will of God. Without Him working in our life and without Jesus, we can never reach the Father and attain holiness and glory. God in His Divine wisdom knew the failings of men and their inability to live according to His will, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to show the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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