When I was twenty-three years old I experienced the new birth of Jesus Christ. This is quite astonishing since I was not a church goer as a youth nor had I ever heard the gospel message.
I was one of those ignorant sinners whom God personally ushered into His kingdom by the hearing of His Word through His Holy Spirit.
As such, when I entered the formal Church structure I was a Christian outsider. That’s right, I was rough, unpolished and completely awkward within the Christian environment. I didn’t speak their language, didn’t know their songs and couldn’t quote verses, yet.
As a new believer I had experienced many things that many of my new found friends had not. Therefore I was often received as an alien. In fact, after sharing my personal testimony on a Sunday morning some of my former exploits were even spoken about behind my back by those who I thought accepted me.
It was then I realized, just like the world, there was a politically based social structure within the Church.
Though I was disheartened by this revelation I was not deterred because my faith in God was not dependent upon a decision I made, nor those in the Church, but the new birth of the Holy Spirit. Simply put God Himself changed me.
I didn’t seek to be changed, want to be changed or know that I needed to be changed. I simply believed by faith that God changed.
Those things which I formerly did with regularity were now completely out of my life. What’s even better is that the desire to do them was also gone.
Based on my experience with God I knew for sure that I was a new person with new wants and a new future. I also knew that my old way of life was dead – or was it.
In my naivety I thought every Christian had experienced what I had experienced and would know what I knew. Boy I was wrong. I even found that many Christians would soften my experience as just that, an experience that could not be trusted.
However I can tell you that my experience with God was real, it is taught in Scripture (John 3, 2 Cor 15) and it has framed my life from that point until now. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Peter and Paul all had similar experiences.
But even after twelve years of being a Christian I still had never heard a Christian teacher biblically validate my moral transformation. But then a few months ago the light of scripture shined in my heart.
For it was then that I began studying and teaching through Romans chapter six on Sunday mornings while pastoring a church in Bowling Green, KY.
In Romans chapter six Paul teaches that the new birth is real. Our old man is dead, the new man lives and therefore our new life is radically different from our old life. Since learning this I have been set free to understand both my rights and responsibilities as a new creation.
I am a child of God with all the rights and privileges of Christ, I have been freed from the power and penalty of sin forever and I am forgiven of all my sins, past, present and future. In addition, one day I will live eternally with God in Heaven and nothing can change this new reality.
However, I now also possess the responsibility to live in agreement with who I am in Christ which means I now pursue holiness instead of sin. I now live to deny myself and to glorify my Savior. I now live to do the will of God and not the will of man.
I have also come to learn that many preachers of old, such as, D.L. Moody, C.H. Spurgeon, John Wesley and George Whitfield, believed in the new birth and heartily proclaimed it.
Jesus Himself said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Over the next several weeks I will lead us through a study of Romans chapters six through seven that I pray will help you live your Christian life with an abundance of joy, peace and hope.
Please fee free to ask questions, make comments or disagree.
May the Lord Richly Bless You!
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