The New Birth

By Joel Shilling

August 2018
Pentecostal Life 

Download the August 2018 Facilitator/study guide to accompany this article.

Objective: To understand God’s message of the new birth

Jesus, while He was on earth healing and changing people’s lives, also had it in His heart to change our lives today. Can you remember the day you were born into this world? No. But there is good news. The day you experience the new birth will be a day you will never forget! It is the day you become a citizen of the kingdom of God!

How can I experience the new birth? 
Peter preached in Acts 2:38: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

To comprehend Peter’s admonition, we must first understand that the word “repent” means to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to Christ. Have you ever used a GPS on your smartphone and heard the soothing voice say, “Make a U-Turn and proceed to the route”? But the sign in front of you said, “NO U-TURNS.” What now? Well, with God U-TURNS from sin are allowed and encouraged. We make a conscientious decision not to live in sin anymore, followed by asking the Lord to forgive us of our current and past wrongs.

Peter kept on preaching, “. . . and be baptized.”
The word baptized comes from the Greek word “baptizo”, which means “to dip, to immerse, to submerge.” Peter included “every one of you” in his command, and added it must be done “in the name of Jesus Christ.” According to Scripture, Jesus is the only saving name. Peter declared, “That by the name of Jesus Christ . . . Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10, 12).

Being baptized in Jesus’ name gives us a sense of belonging to God, like a proud father giving his newborn child his last name. We are God’s precious children and He loves us. Galatians 3:26–27 says, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” 

Not only do you take on Jesus’ name upon your life at baptism, but He instantly washes away all your sins. It is an incredibly clean feeling.

Peter continued, “And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
What is the Holy Ghost? It is the Spirit of God. John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit.” Having Almighty God living inside of us enables us to live a victorious life over sin: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8). “For sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).

How do you know when you have received the Holy Ghost? God’s way of ensuring you will never forget this life-changing moment is by taking control of your tongue when you submit yourself to Him. How often do we hear people using their tongues to say good things? To be truthful, not that often. James 3:8 says, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” The tongue is a muscle that we use to articulate speech. Daily, we hear the tongue used for swearing and gossiping and hurting others. Yet God can take the same tongue that was used for evil and cause it to give Him glory, honor, and praise! He touches our tongue and a miracle happens—we begin to speak in another language. 

Will I know what I am saying? 
No, you won’t know, but to Him every word will sound like sweet music of praise, adoration, and glory. It is your inner thoughts flowing out of your mouth. Go ahead. The next time you pray, let God take control of your mouth and begin to give Him all the glory in that glorious language. You cannot see the Holy Ghost enter in; however, you can hear it! God gave us a physical sign to remove any doubt. “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (I Corinthians 14:22). 

Why should I experience the new birth?
The answer is simple. Sin. Sin is breaking the laws of God. Adam and Eve had it good in the Garden. It was the perfect setup: beautiful flowers, trees, food 24/7, and a personal visit from God every day—who would give that up, right? God gave them only one command: they were to avoid eating the fruit of one tree—the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17). Unfortunately, Satan tricked Eve into eating the fruit, then she shared it with her husband. The fruit looked so good; the crunch sounded so good as they ate it; the fruit felt so good going down, but everything was ruined when a thick cloud of guilt, shame, and regret moved in. Their disobedience opened the door, and sin entered the world for the first time. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Nobody is righteous enough to save themselves from the judgment of sin. The whole world needs Jesus!

When is a good time?

Now! Don’t delay another minute. Don’t wait another day. “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2).

Maybe you are thinking, I don’t really go to church. That’s all right. Jesus is nearby wherever you are. I don’t have church clothes. That is a non-issue. Jesus is looking at your heart! I’ve done too many bad things. Don’t let your past prevent you from having a bright future! 

Are you reading this in a park? Coffee shop parking lot? It doesn’t matter—Jesus is right there with you. Begin your new-birth journey today! You will never be the same.