John 3:1-3, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
1st Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
I am saddened as a redeemed adopted child of God that it is rare nowadays to hear preachers use the Biblical phrase that Jesus used in John 3:3b, “Ye must be born again.”
I triple-dog dare you dear reader to examine the ministry websites of all big name preachers; namely, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Billy Sunday, Joyce Meyer, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, et cetera. If you compare what all of these heretics teach concerning what it means to “repent” to get to Heaven, you will sadly find that they are all in diabolical agreement with the pseudo-Christian cults (i.e., Mormons
, Jehovah's Witnesses
, Lutherans, Methodists, Churches of Christ, Roman Catholics
, et cetera). Birds of a feather flock together.
Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty! Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. Turning away from sinful ways would be a work. Faith puts all of the merit where it belongs, on the object of our faith, Jesus and His work. If to “repent” means to forsake our sinful ways TO BE SAVED, but Jesus already paid for our sins by dying on the cross, then what are we repenting from? The true Gospel always points you to CHRIST; a false gospel always points to YOU. We must stay true to the simplicity of the Gospel!! Repentance regarding salvation is a change of mind from unbelief to belief!!! We must earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:3).
Jesus warned that to enter into God's Kingdom, a man must be born again. John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Being born again is NOT optional to get to Heaven. What does it mean to be born again? It simply means that since you were born spiritually dead, you need to be reborn of the Holy Spirit of God. When our ancestor Adam sinned, he consequently opened the floodgate of sin and death upon the human race. Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
The inspired Word of God teaches that we were all born spiritually dead into this earthly world. Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” The word “quickened” in the preceding Bible verse means “made alive.” The moment that a lost hellbound sinner puts their childlike truth (faith, confidence) in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, their old spirit which was dead in trespasses and sins, is now and forever born anew from above by God's Holy Spirit.
A good way to explain it, I humbly think, is to compare the new birth to our earthly biological parents. We are not them, and our parents are not us; but genetically we have the DNA of both parents in us, so that they are a part of us, and we them. Likewise, I am not God, and God is not me; but I have some of God's DNA (the blessed Holy Spirit indwelling me), and I am in Christ, an integral part of the Body of Christ, of which Jesus is the head.
When you listen to a preacher and never hear him mention the words of Jesus, who said: “YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN,” something is very wrong! I cannot help but serious wonder if becoming “born again” has already become a thing of the past. Revelation 3:2, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” I cannot think of anything more important than Jesus' words, “Ye must be born again.” Yet when is the last time that you heard a preacher use those words?
Instead, what most people are hearing is a bunch of unbiblical tommyrot; such as:
- Repent “of your sins.”
- Turn away from your sins.
- Surrender control of your life over to Christ.
- Receive Jesus as “Lord.”
- Follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
- Confess the name of “Jesus” publicly.
- Call, pray or ask Jesus to save you.
- Invite Christ into your life.
- Get water baptized.
- Forsake a lifestyle of sinning.
- Give up the old ways.
- Live a changed life.
- Be willing to turn from sin.
- Pick up and carry your cross.
- Do good deeds.
All of the aforementioned things have their proper place in the Christian life, but they have NOTHING to do with being saved. You can do all of these things and yet never have been born again at all. Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born again. John 3:7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Dear friend, have you been born again? ...
- I didn't ask if you prayed a sinner's prayer in the past. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you have been baptized in water. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you attend church. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you are a good person. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you love God. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you love your neighbour as thyself. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you live the Christian life. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you keep the Seven Sacrament of Catholicism. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you live a changed life. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you are active in your religious denomination. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you give money to a church. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you have a relationship with Jesus. Have you been born again?
- I didn't ask if you had a religious experience in the past. Have you been born again?
There are an estimated 350,000 churches across the United States. Yet, how many of them preach the Bible truth: “YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN?” You won't hear Ray Comfort using this term much, and when he does he corrupts what it really means. There is a disturbing trend among evangelicals to explain being “born again” as an “EXPERIENCE,” instead of as a supernatural miracle of God in response to a man's faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have a copy of Ray Comfort's “THE EVIDENCE BIBLE” in front of me. I bought it a few years ago. On page 1529, under the commentary section, “How Can You Know That You Are Saved?,” The Evidence Bible states:
Christians believed in God's existence before their conversion, however, when they obeyed the Word of God, turned from their sins, and embraced Jesus Christ, they stopped merely believing. The moment they reached out and touched the heater bar of God's mercy, they moved out of belief into the realm of experience. This experience is so radical, Jesus referred to it as being born again. [emphasis added]May I say, being born again is NOT an “experience.” Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron wrongly understand being “born-again” as an EXPERIENCE that involves forsaking one's sinful lifestyle and “EMBRACING” Jesus Christ. Ray Comfort gets this idea from an errant understanding of James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Many foolish Bible teachers misinterpret James 2:19 to mean that simple BELIEF on Christ is insufficient to be saved. This is not what the Bible is saying here. It simply means that no one is going to Heaven just because they believe there is a God.
SOURCE: The Way of the Master Evidence Bible, by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, page 1529; ©2003 by Bridge-Logos Publishers.
This is why Jesus told His disciples in Luke 13:23-24, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” You can believe in God all you want—you can serve Him, go to church, tithe, sacrifice and do good all your life, and then go straight to the Lake of Fire forever to burn!!! Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
What did Jesus mean by “born again?” The question is answered in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” When you were born the first time into the world, that was of the flesh; but the new birth (or second birth) is when the Holy Spirit of God comes inside your body to indwell you (upon your faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ). Being “born again?” means that you have been born into God's family! Whereas all men are born spiritually DEAD from birth (Romans 5:15), in order to enter into the Kingdom of God a person must be born for the second time, spiritually (John 3:6-7). The first birth is PHYSICAL, earthly; The second birth is SPIRITUAL, by the Holy Spirit of God (John 1:12-14).
Biblically, mere childlike BELIEVING is all that God requires to be saved. This is what Jesus said in John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
In Mr. Comfort's broken thinking, being “born again” means moving from the realm of merely believing in God, to the realm of leaving one's sinful ways and clinging to Christ. Mr. Comfort recognizes this as an EXPERIENCE, which to him means being born-again.
The Word of God teaches something entirely different. A person is “born again” by the Holy Spirit of God, which is initiated by mere childlike belief in Christ's death on the cross for our sins, His burial and bodily resurrection three days later. The Bible defines this as the “Gospel” in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the new birth! Whereas 'The Evidence Bible' teaches that a transforming “radical experience” is what it means to be born-again; the Holy Bible teaches that it is the transforming power of God's Holy Spirit that produces the new birth...
John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”It is a false plan of salvation to explain the new birth as a mere transforming experience. Any radical transformation is wrought solely by the Holy Spirit of God. It is heresy to require an experience, a radical change, or some transformation from a person in order to be saved (or to prove that they are saved). This is because eternal life is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is a TAKE proposition, not a GIVE proposition. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved. It is the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit that changes a person, and not our own human effort. The ONLY thing that a believer automatically gets at the moment of salvation is the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; 1st John 3:21). Everything else from that moment forward in a saint's life is a matter of growth in grace and discipleship, not justification.
Ray Comfort understands salvation backwards. He requires a person to commit to leave their sinful lifestyle and embrace Christ, which is the radical experience he requires from people to be saved. Biblically, you don't have to embrace Christ as your “Lord” to be saved, you simply need to believe on Him (John 3:16). That's what the Bible teaches. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Although a person may or may not express emotions at the time of salvation, emotions are not required for salvation. Neither tears, nor any outward manifestation of inner changes, nor a desire to serve God, nor forsaking sins, nor any “radical experience” is necessary to receive the free gift of eternal life. IT IS A GIFT, and a “gift” is free in every sense. For a wonderful presentation of the simple plan of salvation by Pastor Hank Lindstrom (1940-2008), please see: Get God's Gift.
Furthermore, forsaking one's sinful lifestyle is NOT what it means Biblically to “repent.” Repentance is “changing one's mind,” that is, realizing and acknowledging one's guilt of sin for breaking a holy God's commandments (Romans 3:19-23). The only thing you need to repent of to be saved is whatever has been hindering you from coming to Christ to be saved (Hebrews 6:1 - repentance is from DEAD WORKS, which includes both bad and good works).
The man who BELIEVES the Gospel has repented, otherwise he never would have come to Jesus Christ to be saved (John 3:20). Our part in salvation is simply to BELIEVE on Jesus Christ. Whatever else is a part of our salvation is solely God's department, and you can be assured that He will attend to it. Our part is just to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (Acts 16:30-31).
Sadly and tragically, it seems that over 95% of today's pastors think they know better than God how a person gets to Heaven. This includes independent Baptist churches, pastors and Bible colleges too! Nearly all of today's Bible colleges errantly deny that we have an inspired Holy Bible today in the English language. It is shameful! Whereas the Bible simply teaches for a lost sinner to BELIEVE the Good News of Jesus crucified, buried and risen to be saved; nearly all of today's preachers (popular and unpopular alike) are preaching an embellished counterfeit plan of salvation, damning men's souls to Hell by giving them a false hope. Please read: 'What Is The Gospel?,' by Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951).