FIRST-PERSON: New birth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Many people have ears to hear and hearts willing to ponder all that God has for them.

Are you one of them?

If so, the Bible has some dynamic, life-changing words for you. (All of the following Scripture verses are from the New Testament Book of Romans, in the New International Version.) These are some of the Bible passages that the Holy Spirit used to rescue me from a life of sin by birthing a supernatural, joyous faith in my heart and then nurturing it over the years.

God is evident, Romans 1:20-21

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

All have sinned, Romans 3:10,23

"As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one ...' for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Christ has intervened for us, Romans 5:8

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

We must repent of our sin, Romans 2:4

"... do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

We must receive Christ, Romans 10:8-10,13

"'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved ... for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"

Salvation is wondrous, Romans 1:16-17

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'"

We are saved by Christ's life, Romans 5:10

"For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

We are transformed, Romans 12:1-2

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will."

We find peace with God and perseverance, Romans: 5:1-5

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

We have assurance, Romans 8: 28, 38-39

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Salvation is the most wholesome, healthiest experience a person can have this side of heaven. There is not a reason in this world to spend a minute longer separated from God.

Just pray.

Ask God to forgive your sins.

Ask Jesus to come into your heart.

Trust Him with every facet of your life from this day forward.

Meditate on these Bible verses regularly to grasp more and more of the glory of new birth.


Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press. He can put you in touch with a good pastor and a good church to help you grow in faith. E-mail him at atoalston@sbc.net.