Chapter Seven - The New Birth (Continued)
HOW CAN WE BE BORN AGAIN?
Christ has showed us how we can have the new birth. Three things are necessary:
First, we are born again by believing in the Word of God (John 3:5). In the Bible "water" is a well-known symbol for the Word of God. It has no reference to baptism. See Ephesians 5:26; John 15:3; Psalm 119:9. From other scripture verses we clearly see that the new birth comes through the Word of God. See 1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:18. When we read God's Word, it washes from our minds the wrong ideas we might have about God and His salvation. God's Word helps us to understand that we are lost (Romans 3:10-19), but that God loves us and has provided salvation for us (John 3:16). It shows us the way that we can be saved (Romans 10:1-17).
Second, we are born again by the Spirit of God living in us (John 3:5). The Holy Spirit shows men their sin. He leads them to trust Christ. He gives each believer a new divine nature so that he can understand spiritual things. See John 16:7-15; 2 Peter 1:3,4; Galatians 5:22-26. When we read the Word of God, the Holy Spirit convicts us. He shows us that as sinners we are lost, guilty, helpless and hopeless. He then shows us from the Word of God that we can be saved through faith in Christ who comes to live in us. His presence in us seals us as those who belong to Christ who has bought us (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
Third, we are born again by faith in Christ who took our place when He died as a sacrifice for us. See John 3:14-16. Christ showed very clearly how this new life can come to sinners. Nicodemus asked, "How can these things be?" Christ used something that was written in the Old Testament to show how we can experience the new birth.
HOW CAN WE EXPERIENCE THE NEW BIRTH?
Now read Numbers 21:4-9. Let us consider seven things about this illustration:
Sin (Numbers 21:5). Just as the people of Israel sinned, we have all sinned against God in what we think, what we say and what we do (Romans 3:23).
Judgment (Numbers 21:6). Because of their sin they deserved God's judgment that came on them. See also Romans 1:18; 6:23.
Repentance (verse 7). The people of Israel realized that they had sinned. They confessed it and asked for forgiveness. They repented. God demands that sinners repent. See Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30,31; 20:21; Mark 1:15.
Revelation (verse 8). God showed Moses the way to save the lives of those who had been bitten by the snakes. God has shown us in the Bible His way of salvation for us (2 Timothy 3:15-17; Romans 10:8,9).
Provision (verses 8,9). Moses made a serpent of brass and lifted it up on a pole so that everyone could see. Compare John 3:14. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent of brass, so Christ was lifted up on the cross, so that men dying in sin could look to Him by faith and be saved. By dying for us Christ satisfied all of God's demands against us as sinners. God showed that He had accepted Christ's sacrifice for us because He raised Christ from the dead. See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Isaiah 53:5,6; Romans 5:7,8.
Condition (verse 8). The serpent of brass was lifted up, but that did not save them. Each one who had been bitten by the snake must look if he was going to live. Christ died for our sins and finished all the work that was needed for our salvation. But this will not save any sinner unless he personally believes on Christ (John 3:16). Moses did not ask the people who were bitten to pray, or to pay anything, or to do good works in order to be healed and to live. So all a sinner can do is to see his own need and trust entirely in Christ who died for him. He can receive Christ by faith as his own personal Savior. See John 1:12; Acts13:38,39; Ephesians 2:8,9.
Result (verse 9). The one that the snake had bitten would surely die. But the moment he looked at the brass snake he lived. He received new life and it was as if he was born again. So a guilty, lost sinner can believe the good news that Christ died for his sins, and the moment that he definitely accepts Christ as his own Savior, he receives spiritual life or eternal life. The Holy Spirit comes to live in him and gives him a new nature.
WHEN CAN WE BE BORN AGAIN?
We can be born again at any time. The moment a guilty sinner looks to Christ and trusts Him as Lord and Savior he is born again. Why not do this just where you are? Stop trying to save yourself. Trust in the Son of God who did it all for you when He died for you. See 2 Corinthians 6:1,2; Hebrews 4:7.
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