HOW TO HAVE A SPIRITUAL BIRTH
The process leading to your spiritual birth cannot be compared to a physical pregnancy. Your physical birth was expected and was probably not exceptional. Your parents had to follow God’s standard plan for human reproduction to bring you into the world. Your mother gave physical birth to you, and you had no choice or involvement. However, God uses vastly differing circumstances and experiences to bring people to spiritual birth in Christ. C. H. Spurgeon, the famous English preacher, remarked, “God’s Spirit calls men and women to Jesus in diverse ways. Some are drawn so gently that they scarcely know when the drawing began, and others are so suddenly affected that their conversion (spiritual birth) stands out with noonday clearness.”
But you must come to the point where you realize in your mind and heart that your soul is separated from God and that you are spiritually lost. You must recognize God’s love and plan for your spiritual birth. It is summarized in John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Today, the Holy Spirit is at work seeking and saving the lost. It is important that you respond to the Holy Spirit’s calling to change your mind and heart by turning wholeheartedly to God.
Also, repentance plays a critical role in coming to salvation. Repentance may not be a common word in your vocabulary. It is more than feeling bad and then continuing to sin—it is turning away from your sins to follow and honor God with your life. It is changing your mind about Jesus. It is turning from rejection to acceptance—and no past rejection is too big for God’s forgiveness. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s righteousness. Your repentance must be accompanied by putting your faith in Jesus as your Savior. Saving faith is a spiritual condition of our mind and heart which causes us to trust Jesus alone for eternal life. It must be a personal and sincere faith, and it will result in a continuing spiritual transformation by the Holy Spirit.
Your spiritual birthday is much more amazing and mysterious than your physical birthday. Your physical birth, when you left your mother’s womb, changed your external condition. Your spiritual birth, when you place your faith in Christ, changes your internal condition. Once it has happened, you are no longer spiritually lost and separated from God. You are assured that you will see and enter the eternal kingdom of God. You have become a child of God, who is the King of the kingdom. You are baptized in the Holy Spirit, which means at the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit places you in union with Christ and with other believers in the Body of Christ, the church. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life. You are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
In addition, your name is recorded in Jesus’ Book of Life that will be opened in heaven (Revelation 20:12). He is preparing a place there for you for the future, and right now you have thousands of brothers and sisters in Christ here on earth. They will someday be your neighbors in heaven.
The angels in heaven rejoice when you repent and trust in Jesus. As a child of God, you will enjoy the rights and benefits given to all citizens of his kingdom. These are extensive and eternal, and many of them begin on your spiritual birthday. Jesus did not ask the Father to take his disciples out of the world but to protect them from the evil one (John 17:15). Your physical life on earth will continue, and you will have trouble in this world (John 16:33). Your spiritual being, your soul, is safe and securely sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), which is your advocate to help you and be with you forever. The world cannot accept the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
SPIRITUAL BIRTH CHECKLIST
If you are still unsure whether you have been born again and have a spiritual birthday, you may use the “R’s” checklist.
- You must reach the age of accountability when you have knowledge of good and evil.
- You must realize that you have a sin nature that separates you from God and that, apart from his help, you are eternally lost.
- You must recognize God’s plan was to send his Son to die in your place.
- You must repent of your sin and turn to God for forgiveness and salvation.
- You must respond to God’s calling through the Holy Spirit to accept Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection as payment for your sin.
- You must receive him and believe in Jesus to become a child of God. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
- You may want to confirm your belief and commitment by reciting the following prayer.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner who needs your salvation, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite you to come into my life as my Lord and Savior. Please, forgive all my sins, fill me with your Holy Spirit, and begin to lead my life from this day forward. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
God does the rest. His Spirit reclaims, redeems, restores, and renews you because of your saving faith in Jesus. Christ’s righteousness becomes yours. God promises that you will receive the Holy Spirit at the very moment you give your life to Christ.
It is important to celebrate coming to a saving faith in Christ. Scripture says that the angels of God in heaven rejoice when one person repents (Luke 15:10). If you were genuine in your repentance and faith, God does a miraculous transformation in your spiritual life. You realize that you are born again, and your joy is real. You can rejoice! You have a spiritual birthday to celebrate!
This article was excerpted from Your Spiritual Birthday: Rejoice and Celebrate by James Siebken.