“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17
I’ll never forget when I watched a young man who was wrapped up in gangs, drugs, and wild living get converted right before my eyes. I watched this young man go from death, to life. From darkness to light. It was a faith-building experience, and I praise the Lord every day for the miracle of the new birth. Without the miracle of the new birth heaven would be an empty place.
I told this young man that I wanted to talk to him. As our conversation began I knew that I must be bold, and direct if I was going to have any impact on his life.
I said plainly, “You are lost. You don’t know the Lord. You bear no fruit of the Holy Spirit, and I believe that if you were to die today you would go to hell.”
He didn’t become angry, but rather you could tell he became uncomfortable. He became uneasy as the directness of the words began to pierce his heart.
As I pulled out my Bible I said this, “I want you to read out loud a few passages, so that you can see what God has done in Christ, so that salvation can be a reality.”
He opened it up, and began to read. Then suddenly he began to tremble, and cry. He cried out, “He loves me? Oh Father, how could that be?! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” All the while tears flowed freely from his hardened face.
Needless to say, this young man was never the same again. The next morning, we spoke, and all he could say was, “Have you read this Bible? Galatians 5 says, ‘It is for freedom Christ has set us free!'”
He had a new found passion for the Bible, and a new found hatred for his sin. He was changed, his heart of stone was replaced with a heart that had a love for God and His word. This verse had become a reality in his life:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” -Ezekiel 36:26-27
Two things happen when a person is born-again. First, the person has a new relationship with God’s word. The Bible goes from being a bundle of hieroglyphics that cannot be understood by the unregenerate, to God’s irresistible voice. The Bible doesn’t change, the reader does. The regenerate loves the word, all of it, and is not offended by what the Bible says. It reminds me of what Charles Spurgeon once said:
“The only real argument against the Bible is an unholy life. When a man argues against the Word of God, follow him home, and see if you cannot discover the reason of his enmity to the Word of the Lord. It lies in some sort of sin.”
When a person is converted, they come to love the Bible. You cannot claim to love Jesus, and not love His voice, the written Word. In conversion, the Word of God becomes precious, and more valuable than anything in the persons life.
The second thing that happens in conversion is the converted person has a new relationship with their sin. They go from loving the sin that is offensive to God, to now hating that which is offensive to God. In their submission to His Lordship, they come to understand the reality of God’s holiness, and their lack thereof. You cannot love your pattern of sin, and God at the same time. Again, Spurgeon spoke of this way of thinking:
“Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the incarnate God; can you love it?”
All praise to Jesus for the wonderful gift of grace, and the new life that He provides!
I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus our Lord:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”