Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

Q: “Can you please explain how to know if a person is truly born again? I have a couple of close friends who always go to church and say that they’ve “always believed,’ but they don’t have a testimony of ever being broken over sin, or repenting, or making Jesus Lord of their lives. Nor do they have any desire to share Christ with the lost. Thank you.”

A: Hebrews 6:9 tells us there will be things that will accompany salvation, mainly a changed life (Ephesians 4:17-23). Jesus was clear that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. This points to the presence of His Spirit in us and a new heart that is inclined towards Him, producing a new life within us. With the Holy Spirit in us, He will bring forth the life of Christ in us and we will bear both the fruits of the Spirit in our attitude and handling of life, but we will also begin to bear the image of the heavenly man, Jesus Christ (Ezekiel 36:26-27 refer to Hebrews 10:15-16; John 3:3,5; Romans 8:2-16, 29; 1 Corinthians 15:47-50; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

It is the Spirit in us that bears witness that we are saved. If there is no real witness in a person’s spirit that they are saved, they need to go back to square “A” and examine if they are truly born again. The problem is that we don’t compare the other Scriptures about salvation with Jesus’ words in John 3.

For example, we need to repent of our sins or perish. Our need for our sins to be forgiven is at the core of our need to be saved. We need to be saved from the claims and wages of sin upon our souls but that can’t happen until we repent of them. Repentance comes when one realizes that due to their sinful disposition and ways, they are on the broad path of destruction. In conviction, they turn in desperation seeking God’s great mercy to be forgiven and released from the judgment of death upon their tormented soul (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:3, 5; Romans 6:23; 2 Peter 3:9).

Those who have been saved have called upon the name of the Lord by faith, believing that He is the only one that can save them from the death sentence hanging over their head. It is by faith that they believe only Jesus saves, and begin to confess Him as Lord who is not only Savior but owner and overseer of His people, while receiving the victorious truth of His resurrection in their heart that points to His great victory over death. It is upon receiving these truths as being so, that the Holy Spirit is given as a glorious gift that seals us until the fullness of our redemption and identifies us to a new family and a glorious inheritance (Romans 8:15-16; 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 13-17, 54-58; Ephesians 1:13-14).

The Bible is clear that there must be two or three witnesses to confirm a matter. I know I am saved because of three witnesses. I have the witness of the Holy Spirit in me that I have been saved and am being sanctified. I have the witness of the Word of God that because I have repented and sought His forgiveness, I now stand justified before Him as if I never sinned. And finally, I have the life of Jesus in me that is being worked in me by faith, and worked through me through submission to the Holy Spirit, and is being extended from my life to others through obedience. I can see where I am being changed from glory to glory into His likeness. After all, it is not my life I am living, and we must not be deceived about ourselves about this matter. Everyone will reflect the life they are walking in, whether the selfishness of the old life, the perversion of the world, or the life of Christ (Matthew 18:19-20; Romans 5:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 5:4-13).

It is also His Spirit that sheds abroad in my heart the love of God for God and others that identifies me as being Jesus’ disciple (John 13:35; Romans 5:1-5). Jesus made it clear that the Spirit is the one who inspires, empowers, and enables me to walk out the life of Christ. It is this life in me that I live by, testify of, and stand sure in that enables me to keep standing in this dark time.

Once again, we must reiterate Jesus’ words, “You must be born again!”

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The Goal of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make disciples in compliance with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).

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