Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures used are taken from The Holy Bible,
New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by
International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God... - 1 John 5:1
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.... - 1 Peter 1:3
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the
control of the evil one. We know also that the son of God has come and has
given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him
who is true -- even in His son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal
life. - 1 John 5:19+20
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that
you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you by your
forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or
defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in
these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him
from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now
that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have a
sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart. For you
have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the
living and enduring word of God. - 1 Peter 1:18-23
The experiance of being "Born Again", and the reality of the "New Birth" is
well founded in the scriptures. But despite this fact it has been overlooked in
the past, and is even denied by some today. If a group or denomination denies
the reality of the New Birth they can only do so by rejecting God's Word. The
explicit depiction of the New Birth, as the result of God's salvation plan
accomplished by Jesus Christ, is the primary revelation of the New Testament.
As you are about to read in Ephesians Chapter Two, the Word declares that all
people in the world are dead because of sin, and subject to obedience to the
ways of the world and its ruler -- Satan. That only by faith in Jesus Christ
can we escape the Judgement and Wrath of God that such prior dissobedience truly
deserves. And that the process relys on God's mercy and Grace, not our own acts
of righteousness. That the process that produces the New Birth, which is
available to all who come to God through Jesus Christ in faith, is one of being
raised to life WITH Jesus when God raised him from among the dead and seated him
(and those who are Born Again in him) at His right hand above every authority.
Indeed it was God's purpose to put Jesus, who is the Head of the Body of Christ
(which is the Church - and those who are Born Again in Christ), in a position of
total authority over all things for our sake. God desires to take us and use us
to accomplish "works" which He has prepared ahead of time for us to walk in.
To "walk in" means to "do continually". It means to live in these "works". God's
purpose was that those who are "in Christ", having been Born Again in Christ,
will live lives that please Him and that bring Him glory. We don't get Born
Again as a result of these "Works" or as a result of righteous acts, but simply
by faith. The "Works" and righteous acts come afterward as the fruit of this
New Birth. They are accomplished because God has done the ground work and
prepared things ahead of time for us. So that we need only choose to be obedient
and eagerly strive to obey Him and they will all come as a result of His
having made provision for us.
EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins. In which you used
to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the
kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are dissobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our
sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by
nature objects of wrath. [that is objects deserving of judgement and wrath] But
because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with
Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been
saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly
realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the
incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ
Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not
from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can
boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do. Therefore, remember that formerly
you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call
themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men) --
remember that at that time you were seperate from Christ, excluded from
citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without
hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were
far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is
our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing
wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the Law with its commandments and
regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two,
thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through
the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace
to you who were far away and preach to those who were near.
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you who are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens
with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of
the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple
in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling
in which God lives by His Spirit.
We, who were excluded from God's family and from citizenship in God's
covenants based on the promise He made to Abraham, when we were in the world
and sold out to its ways (and its ruler and his ways), have been brought into
the fullness of God's covenants, we are now members of His family (if we are
indeed Born Again in Christ), and citizens of Heaven itself. We who were once
at emnity toward God, because of our sinful behavior and union with the world
and its ruler, now (after having been Born Again in Christ) have peace with God.
This was what the Angels declared to the shepherds at the time of the birth of
Jesus (Luke 2:14):
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will TOWARD man."
They were proclaiming two of the terms of the New Covenant: that mankind would
bring and give glory to God on high, and that God would have peace and good will
toward men. When we are Born again we no longer need fear, for we have a
covenant of peace with Almighty God. We are also called to become His spiritual
temple, collectively and singlarly, to be a dwelling for His Spirit. Under the
Old Covenant He dwelt with them inside a temple, seperated from the people by
walls and a couple of curtains. Even the high priest went into His presence only
once a year. But God chose to indwell the Born Again believer, to be a part of
our lives continuously.
How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be
called the children of God! And that is what we are. The reason the world
does not know us is that it did not know him. - 1 John 3:1
The world, being at emnity with God, doesn't know Him, nor do they understand
His nature. They will often blame God for things that He doesn't do, and fail to
credit Him with being truly good and just. Additionally they will fail to take
personal repsonsibility for their own lives and circumstances, choosing instead
to make God responsible for all that happens. In a similar manor, they do not
understand the nature of Christians, they will often slander the sincere faith
of Christians and gladly point out, as hypocracy, when well intentioned folks
stumble or fall back into old patterns of behavior. Or they will, often with a
single observation, reject Christians and the gospel as being "too good to be
true" or say "no one can live that way". They don't realize that it is precisely
because no one could live in a way that would fully please God, that He sent His
son Jesus Christ to live, die, and live again for us. So that being Born Again
in Christ we could partake of a new Spiritual Nature and gradually mature and
grow up in that salvation to walk in ways that He prepared for us. So that we
could eventually reach a place where we can please Him with our lives. They want
to exchange places with God, making Him in their image, forcing Him to conform
to their desires. Instead of honoring Him as God, and seeking to learn what He
desires of them. The truth is that He is merciful beyond comprehension, to those
who earnestly seek to obey and please Him, while at the same time being totally
unyielding in His justice toward those who knowingly rebel against Him. Those
who fall into the middle ground of ignorance He deals with on that basis: to
some extent overlooking their behavior that is born out of ignorance, while they
reap some of the natural consequences of their actions done in ignorance. The
world often will desire that God take responsibility for continually protecting
them from the natural consequences of their actions. To do so is to indulge a
fantasy, because He cannot, by His nature, mearly overlook rebellion and step
in to fix their broken lives while they continue to rebel and sin. To some
extent, the blame for their ignorance lies squarely upon the sholders of many
Christians, and Christain Denominations. We have been far too lax in
representing God's true nature, and the Gospel's truths. We have majored in
minor differences, pointing out flaws in one another without dealing with our
own short comings and allowing God to lead us into maturity. If you have been
mistreated by Christians, how can you get a sense from your experiance that
God is merciful, loving, and eager to help you live for Him. As Christians, we
should be Christ-Like, for that is exactly what "christian" means. Jesus went
to the prostitutes, the beggars, and the "sinners" seeking those who wanted to
grow out of their misery. While "church folks" too often are like the religious
leaders of Jesus' day. We don't want to get our "clean" hands dirty by helping
someone out of the cesspool that they have stumbled into. Please don't judge
"Born Again" or "Christianity" by "our" actions, many of the things you see are
the result of a lack of growth AFTER the process begins, and sometimes are
mearly the fruit of someone who is masquerading as a "Christian", having an
appearance of "Godliness" but denying God the opportunity to truly have a place
in their lives because they won't acknowedge their desperate need of Him.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not
because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us
through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured
out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been
justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
The process that begins with the New Birth is one of renewal of our lives,
(our souls) to come into conformity with our New spirits. It is the work of God
through His Holy Spirit, who resides in our spirit. We have been justified, we
have rightstanding with God, we have the right to stand in His presence. And
we are called to become His heirs, by growing up into maturity and possesing
the inheritance He holds in Heaven for us. Waiting for us to come of age
spiritually so that He knows that He can truly trust us with all the things He
desires to give us.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who
were baptized into Christ have clothed youselves with Christ. There is neither
Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ
Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise.
What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different
than a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and
trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we
were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had
fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those
under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba,
Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God
made you also an heir.
When a person is Born Again in Christ their race, gender, heritage, and
lineage have no bearing, they are all the same in Christ, having equal rights
and privileges. All have an equal right to the inheritance, and are called to
mature in order to receive the full rights He has promised and stored up in
Heaven for us.
The way for YOU to start on the walk of faith that God has prepared for all
men to participate in is to become Born Again. To become Born Again is really
easy on your part, God did the hard part already in Jesus. All that is required
of you is what is layed out in Romans 10:9,10+11:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,
and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For it is with the heart that a man believes and is justified,
and with his mouth that he confesses unto salvation.
All the scriptures declare that the one who trusts in him will not be
put to shame.
With that in mind here is a prayer of belief and confession suitable for YOU
to become Born Again into God's Family of trusting believers:
God, I believe in my heart that Jesus died for me, and that You raised him
from the dead for my justification. I proclaim that Jesus is Lord over all of
Your creation, and I declare him to be my Lord. I make him the lord of my life.
I trust in You, and will not be put to shame. You promised that I am now Your
son through faith in Jesus Christ, so I now call You "Father". Like a little
child I call You "Daddy", and look to You in trust to teach me to live for You.
I accept Your Holy Spirit to be my guide in the renewal process that has now
begun in my life. I trust you that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light,
so I am confident that the process will be a joy and not a harsh struggle.
I will always look to You as a loving Father, and expect good things from Your
If you've chosen this New Life from God, to be Born Again in Christ, and
prayed that prayer aloud, go tell someone. Call the Phone Opperator if you have
to. It is the beginning of your testimony of faith. Remember to feed your New
Born spirit with the Word of God, particularly the Books after ACTS as they are
the ones written specifically to Born Again Believers and deal with how to
participate in the New Life you have been Born into.
Go back to Dan Sharpe's Bible Studies Page.