True Life begins with the New Birth

Jesus made this very clear when He said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God..." (Joh 3:3-5). This new birth comes through believing the Word of God (1Pet 1:23). The Word of God tells us that no religious tradition, no good works and no amount of money can make anyone acceptable in God's sight. Yet, God paid a great price to redeem (purchase for Himself) those to whom that price has been applied, because they believe what He has done for them (1Peter 1:18-23). This is the essence of the Gospel (the Good News) of Christ.

That I should need a new birth, and that it should be at the price of Christ's sacrificial death, seems harsh, drastic and even offensive. Yet, God's Word is true. It also presents the bad news that our sinful condition is far worse than we think. As far as the holy God is concerned, we are already dead in our trespasses and sins. As death irreversibly breaks our relationship to a family member who has died, so, sin has permanently separated us from God.

No physician can cure a dead patient. Even so, people worldwide attempt to restore their lost relationship with God through religious ceremonies, and through self improvement and good works. Sincere as they may be, there is no escaping from spiritual death, apart from the remedy which God has provided. The Gospel of Christ is the only way to spiritual life, as Jesus Himself told us: "I am the way, the truth and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6). Those who come, by placing their trust in Him, are made alive toward God (Ephesians 2:1-6, to 'quicken' is to 'make alive'). When a person receives this new kind of life from God, he/she is 'born again' or 'born of God's Spirit,' and, therefore, belongs in God's 'household.'

From the beginning to the end, the Bible traces man's need for salvation, God's provision of the Savior, and His purposes for His redeemed people. It takes the whole Bible to tell the whole story of salvation through Christ (Psalm 40:7; John 5:39). Other resources on this site are intended to show the larger picture. The following brief outlines may help you understand and believe the Gospel of Christ. (If you are already a believer, they may be useful in sharing the Gospel with someone else.)

What is the Gospel of Christ?
  1. The bare facts - 1Cor 15:1-4
    Christ died...
    • for our sins (to pay the penalty due, and to deliver us from bondage to sin)
    • according to the scriptures (His death for our sin was in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, eg. Isa 53)
    He was buried...
    • His death was real. (He did not merely swoon or faint.)
    He rose again...
    • the third day (as reported by the New Testament witnesses)
    • according to the scriptures (His resurrection was also in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, eg. Psa 16:10,11)
  2. The Gospel, stated concisely - John 3:16
    God so loved the world...
    The greatness of God's love is demonstrated by the greatness of His gift to a world of men in rebellion against Him. Rom 5:8
    that He gave His only begotten Son...
    Jesus was unique. There has never been another man like Jesus, who being fully God and fully man, was completely without sin, and sought always to do His Father's will. Yet, God delivered up this Son for us.
    so that whosoever...
    ie., anyone, anywhere, including you, if you meet the simple qualification:
    that believes in Him...
    The only qualification is to put your trust fully in God's Son.
    should not perish...
    To perish {GK=appolumi, to be destroyed} is to die an endless death of irreparable ruin and loss, with no hope of recovery. This is the natural end of all men because of sin. It is not that we might perish, but that each and every one of us is already perishing. The terrible depth of our ruin could only be met by the unimaginably great love of God, who placed our sin and our eternal death upon His unique and perfect Son, who died in our place, that we might live.
    but have everlasting life.
    Instead of endless death, the believer enters into endless life. This endless life does not begin after we die, but at the moment that we believe. In this same chapter, Jesus told a religious man that he could not even see heaven, let alone enter it, unless he became "born again" (John 3:3-7). You and I are fallen sinful creatures by nature. No matter how good we think we are, we are not acceptable in the presence of the holy God. To be born again is to be recreated with a new nature that comes from God and which, therefore, is created in His likeness. This new birth occurs when a person places his/her trust in Jesus Christ, and what He accomplished for us on the cross (see John 3:14-18 and John 1:11-13; also 2Cor 5:17).
  3. A description of our problem, and the prescription for its cure -
    "The Romans Road" (so called, because the references are from the book of Romans):
    Our problem:
    • Universal unrighteousness - Rom 3:10 (10-20)
    • Sin is failing to measure up to God's righteousness - Rom 3:23
    • Sin, the cause of death, is the universal terminal human condition - Rom 5:12
    The remedy:
    • God loves us - Rom 5:8
    • Jesus took the payment due for our sin (ie., death), in order to gift us with Life - Rom 6:23; also Rom 3:23-26
    • Deliverence from sin and death is available to whosoever (ie., each and every one who) believes (ie., places his/her trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this context, to 'call upon the Name of the Lord' means to ask God to include you in the salvation, which He has provided, on the basis of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. - Rom 10:11-13
    • Confession, of our problem and of God's remedy, must be from the heart (before God) and unashamedly (before men). Rom 10:9,10
  4. A great gulf spanned - (Note that the verses below are from the Old Testament.)
    • Sin has separated us from the holy God - Isa 59:1-3
    • We can do nothing to impress Him - Isa 64:6,7
    • Our only hope is in turning to Him for mercy - Isa 64:8
    • God has opened the way of reconciliation, through Christ, who took our sin upon Himself to impart His righteousness to us (see Isa 53:1-12). Although these Old Testament passages were written to the nation of Israel, they also describe the way of salvation for the gentile nations. According to Isaiah 49:1-12, God has provided the Jewish Messiah as the Savior for all people. Therefore, trust in Him and be reconciled to God (2Cor 5:19-21).
  5. The Gospel of Christ is the power of God to deliver us from bondage to sin and our fleshly nature -
  6. "The Power of God unto salvation" is accessed by Faith alone -
    • Rom 1:16,17
    • Acts 16:30,31
    • Eph 2:8-10 - The effect of the salvation, which is received by faith in Christ, is to enable the believer to live in a way that pleases God. "Good works" are the fruit of the new life received through being born again. Apart from the new birth ('regeneration'), no one can become acceptable before God by doing good works (Titus 3:5-7).

Want to learn more? Here are "12 Bottles of Milk for New Believers"
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