The Simple Facts
No one can be saved unless he is born again by the power of God’s Spirit. Christ says, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). The necessity is absolute—you must be born again.
Performing religious rites will not take the place of the new birth. Baptism will not take the place of the new birth. Confirmation will not take the place of the new birth. Nothing will take the place of the new birth.
Doing good things will not take the place of the new birth. Many are depending upon saying their prayers, reading their Bibles, going to church, partaking of the sacrament, or performing other duties—but none of these things will take the place of the new birth.
Holding right beliefs will not take the place of the new birth. Many are saying, “I believe the Apostle’s Creed; I say the catechism; I am orthodox; I hold right views about Christ, right views about the Bible, right views about the atonement. You can be orthodox on every doctrine, and be lost forever.
Culture, refinement, and outward correctness will not take the place of the new birth. The trouble is not merely outward. The trouble is in your heart, in the very depths of your inward life. Merely to reform your outward life will not save you.
Suppose I had a rotten apple. I could put a coating of wax on it, and then paint it till it was the most beautiful apple you ever saw. But it would be just as rotten inside as ever, and one bite into it would be a bite into decay.
Without Christ you are wrong in heart, and mere culture, mere refinement, mere social respectability, mere morality, is simply a painted coating of wax on the outside. You must be changed, down to the depths of your being. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
When you are born again, God will take away your sin and forgive you. Are you born again? Many will say, “No, I am not. Can you tell me what I must do right now to be born again?”
I can. The Lord Jesus preached, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). To repent is to turn from sin and self-rule to God. The good news of the Gospel is that, since Jesus died for you and rose from the dead, He will forgive you.
When you are born again, God will change you from the inside out. In John 1:12 we read, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” We are born again by God’s Holy Spirit the moment we receive Christ. When you invite Christ into your heart, He will make you His child and transform you through and through.
When you are born again, Jesus Christ becomes your Master and Lord. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). Regardless of how worldly you are, how sinful you are, how obstinate you are—if you will throw your heart open and let Jesus come in to rule your life, God will make you a new person in a moment. You are born again when you allow Jesus Christ to come into your heart and take over.
When you are born again, God’s Holy Spirit changes your heart desires. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Whoso-ever abideth in him sinneth not” (1 John 3:6). When you are born again, you will no longer find sin inviting. You will want to live for God’s glory.
—R. A. Torrey, adapted
Christian Light Publications, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 Phone (540) 434-0768.