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New Birth

Probably no argument has been waxed longer or louder than the one over “Once saved, always saved.” Some have said that this belief honors Christ’s work on the cross; others say that it is a license to sin. “If I believed ‘once saved, always saved’ I would do anything I wanted to do,” is a familiar cry. Volumes have been written on both sides of this coin. A few years ago I wrote an article on “Twice lost, always lost;” revealing that if a person gets saved and then loses his salvation, he is forever doomed. There is no such thing in the Bible of a person getting saved twice! This would necessitate Jesus Christ going to the cross again.

Maybe we should begin at the beginning. What is salvation? How do we get saved anyway? Is it an instantaneous occurrence or a lifetime process? Is it a series of steps or one step? Is it something that Jesus Christ performs or something we must work at all our life? It is the settling of these questions that will dictate our answer to the “once saved…” question.

One of the most acceptable descriptions of a person’s salvation is proclaimed in John 3 and called by Christendom “the new birth.” This analogy of birth and salvation is carried forth in many scriptures.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (A new creature requires a new birth.)

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (A new man requires a new birth.)

“…seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; [10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Colossians 3:9-10 (A new man requires a new birth.) “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Peter 2:2 (A new baby requires a new birth.)

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23 (A new birth.)

Notice that God doesn’t CHANGE anybody. God doesn’t GET RID of our old nature. God gives us a NEW NATURE. Man’s old nature is so “filthy” and “vile” (Bible words for it) that God Almighty does not even try to remodel it! It is the “old man” that will murder, get drunk, commit adultery, etc. He never changes. There is nothing religious that anyone can do that makes him a new man. Immersion, pouring or sprinkling does not make a “new man,” only a wet one. Turning over a new leaf does not constitute a new man, only the old man changing his ways. Many have accomplished that through AA, counseling or a harried experience. Attending church does not a new man make. Just as we did not participate in our first birth, we do not have part in the new one, other than simply trusting Jesus Christ to perform the new birth.


Let me ask you, what are you depending on to get your soul to heaven? If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”…what would you answer? Surely you do not claim perfection. Since we know that no man is perfect, how do we expect to enter God’s heaven? Do our good deeds need to outweigh our bad? Since we do not know how long we will live and how many good or bad deeds we may commit, how will we ever have any peace about our soul. Do you feel you are not a bad sinner, only imperfect; how much imperfection will God accept?

Are we counting sins of commission only? What about sins of omission?

Questions are posed, “If I got saved, then murdered someone, I wouldn’t go to heaven.” Let’s try this one. If you got saved, then worried about your job, would you go to heaven? Worry is a sin, like murder, adultery, stealing, coveting, etc. (Romans 14:23) If I got saved, then coveted a new car, would I go to heaven?

Does God have a passing grade that one must achieve in order to make it to heaven? If He does, then we will not know until our last day on earth is tallied. We could have no peace, no joy, no happiness under those conditions.

The following verse has rattled the translators to no end:

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9

The words “doth not commit sin” have been changed to “does not continue in sin,” “does not practice sin” or “does not carry on sin” in new Bible translations. If we read the verse carefully, we see that John is talking about the new man, the one “born of God.” The new man cannot sin and the old man cannot keep from it. This is the reason that every born-again child of God has a warfare going on inside himself. The man that does not commit sin is the man born of God.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17

Have you believed in the only begotten Son of God?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The man whom Jesus told that he must be born again was one of the religious leaders of his time. He was a “man of the Pharisees,“a ruler of the Jews” and “a master in Israel” (John 3:1, 10.) There lived no better on earth, yet Nicodemus would have to be born again to get to heaven. This is an operation of God. Our part is to simply believe He will do what He says He will do. Once He does it, no one can undo it, not Satan, not the hosts of hell and most of all, not you.

Have you ever heard of anyone being “unborn?”

Have you been born again?

Keep Looking Up!

Leland Maples

(This Blog has been republished in honor of Leland)

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