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BIBLE AND THEOLOGY FORUM
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THE START OF TRANSFORMATION

TRANSFORMATION: THE START

A person who has never been born again can only access transformation by the new birth. The leopard cannot change his spots. A re-creation is required.

The Lord told Nicodemus and ourselves that we must be born again. When a man trusts the Lord Jesus as his savior, he receives this new birth (John 3), a birth unto eternal life. Therefore, the first question to face is whether or not I have been born again. Has there been a time in my life when (so far as "I" am concerned, old things passed away and all became new, as 2 Corinthians 5 puts it)?

The fact that a person is a church member can be a dangerous fact. Because a man is a church member, he may neglect the need to be born again, since as a church member a person thinks of himself as a Christian. But new birth is not the result of joining a church and submitting to membership rituals, like water baptism. Nothing is so easy as joining a church. I have had experience, myself, of joining a church where no inquiry was made at all as to whether or not I had been born again. And in a denomination, a man is likely to find it easy to transfer membership from church to church without ever having experienced salvation.

There are 2 diagnostic questions that a man can ask himself, church member or no, to get a good idea as to one's status as a born-again child of God, or on the other hand, as simply a child of Adam without any new birth at all: The first question is
(1) Do I have the assurance that I have eternal life, that I shall end up in Heaven, instead of the Lake of Fire after death? If a man has no assurance of eternal life, then it is likely that such a person does not trust Christ as savior. How can a man say "I trust Christ as savior," and yet not have a conviction that he is saved? Could a person say, "I trust the Lord to give me some water tomorrow, but I don't know if I will have anything to drink tomorrow"? Thus, if a man says he does not know if he is saved or knows he is not saved, that is a good indication that in fact he does need a new birth.

The second diagnostic question follows up those who say, "Yes, I am sure that I am going to Heaven." The 2nd question is, "How do you know this" and "Why is the Lord going to admit you to Heaven." The wrong answer to this question is a strong indicator of a need for the new birth. Wrong answers show a lack of trust in Christ as Savior. The inadequate answers include:
1. I do good works. (This is trust in self and one's works instead of in Christ)
2. I had a religious experience (e.g., I walked an aisle after an invitation.) Salvation is never promised in the Bible for walking an aisle in church, neither is it even found in the Bible.
3. God is going to send everyone to Heaven. (This denies the need to trust Christ.)

The correct answer is quite different: I am confident of going to Heaven because the Lord Jesus paid for my sins on the cross, and He has offered me salvation as a free gift for the simple act of depending on Him as savior.

Therefore, the very first thing which must be done in order to experience transformation is a simple, but profound trust in Christ as savior. As the old hymn says:

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device or creed;
I trust the ever-living One;
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument;
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died;
And that He died for me.

As John 1:12 tells us:

As many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God [transformation from child of Adam], even to them who believe on His name.