Are You Born Again? #1
Are you born again? This is life’s most important question. Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). It is not enough to reply, “I belong to the church; I suppose I’m a Christian.” Thousands of nominal Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us—many listed in 1 John.
First of all, John wrote: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” (1 John 3:9). “Whosoever is born of God sinneth not” (5:18).
A person who has been born again does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends.
But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.
If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying (1 John 1:8). But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. He knows that “in many things we offend all” (James 3:2).
But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them.
What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?
~ J. C. Ryle