February 8, 2019

A Spiritual Birth

“Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But — When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:3-5 (NLT)

Your new life in Christ is the consequence of a new birth.  When Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, came to Jesus after dark one evening, inquiring about His message of eternal life, Jesus said to him,

“I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NLT) 

When it came to religion, you couldn’t attain much higher a standard than Nicodemus held as a Pharisee.  Yet, even his religious background and Jewish heritage were not enough to produce life.  It only demanded more from him than he could possible fulfill!  The purpose of the Law he followed was not to produce life but to lead us to the only One who could, Jesus Christ!  The Law in itself condemns.  It was never intended to make us right with God.  The Law establishes the righteous demand of a holy God and leads us to the Savior for mercy and forgiveness for the violations of that law that separated us from God.  That’s why the Gospel is such Good News!  God provided a way that we could be forgiven!  He did it through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the demands of the Law perfectly and sacrificed Himself in our place on the cross for our sins.  Through Christ, we can be declared right with God!  But, how?  This was the desire of Nicodemus.  Having tried the Law, Nicodemus desperately wanted to know how he could be made right with God. Jesus told him what he needed to hear.  The only way to be made right with God is to have the life of God restored in the heart of man. 

When Adam disobeyed God, the Bible says he died spiritually. What do dead men need the most?  Life!  Apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead and incapable of being made right with God no matter how sincere we are or how hard we try.  Only Christ can bring life because He is the life!  We receive Christ’s life through a spiritual birth.  In Titus 3:1-7, Paul describes the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit that produces that life when we come to Christ.  In fact, all three Persons of the Trinity are mentioned in these verses, because all three participate in our spiritual birth.  Have you experienced this new birth?  The change produced by a spiritual birth demonstrates the life of Christ indwelling you.  Notice that Paul says,

“Once WE (including himself), too, were foolish and disobedient.  WE were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures.  OUR lives were full of evil and envy, and WE hated each other.” Titus 3:3 (NLT)

(Paul was a Jew writing to Titus, a Greek. The hatred was racial prejudice.)

“BUT – When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy He washed away our sins, giving us a NEW BIRTH and NEW LIFE through the Holy Spirit….” Titus 3:4-5 (NLT)

New life is a result of a new birth!  When you are born again, the very life of Christ comes to dwell within you, changing you from the inside out so that His thoughts become your thoughts, His desires become your desires, and His behavior is reflected in all that you do and say and are.  People around you begin to see an obvious change that creates curiosity and provides you opportunity to share His life with them.  It all begins with a new birth.

Every newborn needs a family.  In the New Testament, every person who experienced a spiritual birth was identified with other Christ followers in a church family through baptism. These connections were deep and personal, providing a healthy environment for spiritual growth.  If you’ve experienced a new birth in Christ but have not taken this step of baptism, I want to encourage you to register now for our Winter Baptism Celebration this weekend at a Woodlands Church campus near you following any of our services. You’ll experience the joy of identifying with Christ and other Christ followers who are taking that same step of obedience.