In Revelation 1:5, the Word says, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood."
Well, when I got to the part that says "and washed us from our sins in His own blood", I had a mini-vision.
When a baby is born, it is taken from the mother and placed in a basin of warm water and all of the sticky substance is washed off. Then the child is dried off and is nice and presentable to the parents. Now, let me show you this:
Nicodemus, a member of the powerful council and a Pharisee, came to Jesus by night. He was intrigued by Jesus' teachings and the miracles that Jesus performed. Let's look in on the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus:
John 3:2-7 "The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
Nicodemus did not understand the concept of being born again. But the Lord showed me this in the second half of my mini-vision. When a person says the sinners prayer, this is what happens:
After we are "birthed" of the Spirit, we are place din a basin of Jesus' blood whiich cleanses (washes) us from all unrighteousness and presented to God the Father as a newborn babe. We have been transformed into a newborn babe who doesn't know anything (in the Spirit) just like a baby that is born (in the natural) and can't do anything on their own. Now, I don't know about you, but I still feel like shouting over this point!!
When a person becomes "born again", he ceases from being his old self which is full of corruption and instead takes on a new identity with the help of Christ Jesus. Before a person is born again, he is a servant of sin.
Paul tells us in Galatians 2:20 " I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
What does Paul mean when he says, "I am crucified with Christ..."? Picture this, if you will - when Jesus Christ went to the cross at Calvary, He took upon Himself the sin of the world. Al of the sin that had ever been committed or ever will be committed, was nailed to the cross with Jesus. Hatred, fornication, adultry - you name it, it was nailed to the cross.
Now, if Paul would have had to be tried for his sins, he would have been nailed to the cross with and for his sin. But instead, by faith, Paul nailed his sin (sum of all sins together) to the cross with Jesus.
Jesus only got on the cross one time for all humanity. So Paul's old man was crucified with Christ.
The next step Paul had to take was the burial of his old man. Water baptism is our tim eto identify with the burial of Christ. After Ananias laid hands on Paul (Saul) so that he could receive his sight and the baptism of the Holy Ghost (baptism by fire), Paul then identified with the burial of Christ by receiving water baptism. When a person goes under the water during water baptism, that person is identifying with the burial of Jesus Christ when the water covers their body just as the burial shroud covered Jesus in the tomb.
"Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." This step involves our identifying with the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
When we come up out of the Baptismal water, we have actually done several things:
* We have died to our old self
* We have been resurrected in the newness of life, therefore
"the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
We are commanded in Ephesians 4:21-24 "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which was corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
After we receive our salvation, we are to forget about our past deeds because God has forgotten them. So many people miss it on this point. They will tell you:
* Yes, I am saved, but I still go to the club.
* Yes, I am saved, but I still mess around.
* Yes, I am saved, but I stil smoke, drink and lust.
* God will forgive me over and over again so I can still do these things."
Yes, God will forgive us. It says so in the Word. I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
When we repent, we are saying, "God, I sinned. Please forgive me and help me to not do that again. In Jesus Name, Amen." To repent means to turn away from any particular thing and not to go there again. We are not genuinely confessing our sins before God if we plan to commit the sin again and just want temporary forgiveness.
Once we identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ, we find that we, as new babes, have:
* died to sin
* buried our old man with all of its sinful lusts, and
* been resurrected unto righteousness
When you are born again, you get a second chance at life. IICorinthians 5:17 tells us that "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."
All of our sins have passed away. All of our shortcomings, our character quirks. All of that is gone. Everything that we did prior to receiving Christ as our personal Saviour is washed away in the sea of forgetfulness.
To be :in Christ" means to be born again. We receive new life. We are not the same person we were yesterday. Yes, we look the same on the outside, but inside, we are totally different. We have a whole new outlook on life.
We are to walk in the newness of life. Now, we can't do this if we constantly and continually pick up our old habits, our old ways. We are new creatures. A new day had dawned. We should be like new flowers of spring as they raise their heads out of the earth. Bright, new, refreshed. ready to face the world.
Being born again means that you have closed up the garbage dump of your life and planted a beautiful, bountiful garden that is lush with the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
* LOVE - Agape or unconditional love of God
* JOY - the Joy of the Lord is our Strength
* PEACE - the Peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
* LONGSUFFERING - let us run with patience the race that is set before us
* GENTLENESS - But thou, O man of God, follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
* GOODNESS - For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.
* FAITH - But without faith, it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that dilligently seek Him
* MEEKNESS - Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
* TEMPERANCE - He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Obviously, the greatest of these is love. If you have love in your heart and in your life, the other fruits will automatically manifest. O, how hard it is to manifest true love sometimes!
1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOU ARE A SINNER. Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.
2. RECOGNIZE THAT GOD DID SOMETHING FOR YOUR SIN. John 3:16 "for God so loved the world that he have His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
3. ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOUR. John 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.
4. CONFESS YOUR SIN AND GET RID OF IT. I John 1:9 " If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just t o forgive our sins, amnd to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
5. CONFESS AND BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS SAVIOUR AND LORD. Romans 10:9-10 "That id thou shalt confess with they mouth the Lord Jesus, amd shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto unrighteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Here is a simple sinner's prayer to help you to receive your salvation:
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I am a sinner and I want to be forgiven and live the life that Jesus died on the cross to give me. I am calling on your name. I believe in my heart Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe that He was raised from the dead for my salvation. And I confess Him now as my Lord. I confess I am saved and I thank you for it. I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Thank you Lord ! AMEN!