Remember the Day

Thirty-eight years ago today I was born again in a mobile home park in Alamosa, CO, after struggling for nearly 5 years to understand and believe the gospel. I was 22 years old.

Prior to this I had earnestly prayed The Sinner’s Prayer on two different occasions, asking Christ to come into my heart and save me and committing my life to serve Him, and I had been baptized three times. I had attended Bible college, memorized many books of the Bible, led scores of people in professions of faith, and preached many sermons in church pulpits. But I never had assurance of salvation, and was still struggling earnestly to believe the gospel and be saved.

Several months prior to this God had spoken to me directly and revealed my lost condition: I loved the Bible and I loved religion, but I didn’t love Him: God is precious to believers (1Pe 2:7), so I wasn’t a believer, not just yet. The evangelical message had completely failed me; after years of earnestly searching and studying and going to church … I had no faith: I didn’t know what it was or how to get it.

It was on July 11, 1984, that I finally decided I could not go on any longer without understanding the gospel. I had locked myself in my study, determining not to leave until I believed on Christ and had assurance of eternal life. (1Jn 5:13) I knew it had nothing to do with asking Christ to save me, repenting of my sins, dedicating my life to serve Him, believing Christ had lived and died and rose again, being baptized, attending church, etc. What it was I had no idea, but I had to know. Not knowing was not an option.

Salvation was by faith: I knew I had to believe something I didn’t currently believe, to know something by faith that I didn’t currently know, and I could not for the life of me figure out what this was, and no one had been able to help me.

As I was meditating on and studying the word propitiation in 1 John 2:2, it suddenly became apparent to me that Christ had actually already paid my sin debt in full when He died on the cross for me (Is 53:11), and that the only way I could possibly be condemned was if He had somehow failed. His righteousness was suddenly now my righteousness, and I was as safe in Him as He was. This belief was certain, unshakable, steadfast. There was nothing to ask for, no ritual to perform, nothing to do: it was already done. All I could do was say, “Thank you!”, and so I did.

This was an entirely new experience for me, something I had never believed before. I could not explain why I believed it, or how this had happened to me. I also realized in that instant that God was now precious to me; I loved Him, I was attracted to Him, committed to Him and delighted in Him, more than anything or anyone else.

This is my testimony, my understanding of how one is born again and how I have experienced it: we believe on God for our salvation and trust Him as our Savior. (Ro 4:4) This produces assurance of eternal life in us (He 10:22) and creates in us a new nature: it isn’t something we can actually do on our own, any more than we can do something to be born physically (Ja 1:20): it is something God does in us. (Jn 1:13) He must give us both the hunger to seek Him, as well as the faith to believe on Him.

Within God’s feast of Passover, I see His command to remember this day every day of my life (De 16:3), the day I was born anew, personally delivered from this present evil world, according to the will of God. (Ga 1:4) I will never forget it.

Thank you Father for your unspeakable gift! (2Co 9:15)

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Born Again

When Christ explains how to obtain eternal life, He compares it with how we obtain physical life; as we’re conceived and born physically, so we must be conceived and born spiritually. (Jn 3:6-7) Apart from being born of the Spirit we can’t enter into God’s kingdom (5); we can’t even see the kingdom. (3)

To most of us, this sounds like a New Testament concept, something new Christ introduced as part of the current dispensation, unique to Christianity in this Age of Grace. The problem with this idea is that Christ expected Nicodemus, a Jew living in the Old Testament era (before Christ’s atoning sacrifice) to already understand this. (10) Christ was telling Nicodemus and all his colleagues they were missing the boat since they weren’t born again. (7) So, being born again isn’t a New Testament principle: it’s timeless. (Re 13:8)

The seed which brings this spiritual life into us is the Word of God (1Pe 1:23), the eternal Word of Truth. (Ja 1:18) We’re born of God Himself as we receive and believe on Christ the Word (Jn 1:12-13), and become new creations in God. (2Co 5:17)

This new creation concept isn’t new at all; it’s woven all through the Old Testament (2Ti 3:15), the idea of having a new heart, a new inner being created by God. (Eze 36:26)

Abraham believes in God and is justified by faith (Ro 4:3), a faith that rests in God’s future provision of a divine sacrifice to atone for his sin. (Jn 8:56) We’re saved the same way. (Ro 4:23-25)

David prays for this clean, new heart (Ps 51:10), the kind of heart that hears, perceives and obeys God (De 29:4), and ultimately receives this gift of God. (Ps 21:1-2) We’re no different, believing God is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. (He 11:6)

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