By Carol R. Lumpkin
The “new Life” begins with a “birth,” a birth in water and in the Spirit. Jesus, while speaking to Nicodemus, said; “Verily, verily, i say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5). Peter adds, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (Pet. 1:23).
The power which produces this new life is the gospel of Jesus Christ. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). There is no promise of this new life separate and apart from the gospel (God’s word).
Jesus said, while talking to his disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). Jesus also said; “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath-sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (Jn. 6:44-45).
. Paul adds some additional light on the subject when he said, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:13-14).
In our journey from sin to righteousness, it is essential for us to hear the gospel preached, or to be self-taught; that we might understand and believe in Jesus. When faith, which cometh by hearing (Rom. 10:17), is produced in our hearts, then we have the right to move ahead toward being saved. Faith which does not involve one in further obedience is a dead faith (Jas. 2:17-18). Hear what our Lord said; “But as many as received him, to them gave he power (the right, privilege – crl) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name” (Jn. 1:12). So Jesus teaches that the believer has the right to become a son of God. A point of concern should be that the believer is not a son of God the moment that he becomes a believer.
When Peter had preached to the Jews ..on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the Jews asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). There is no evidence that the Jews were at that moment saved, even though they were believers. As believers they were blessed with the opportunity to become sons of God. Peter wasted no time in telling them what to do to be saved. “Then Peter said unto them, 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 Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
The “new life” was realized ,by the Jews when they.. had obeyed what Peter told them to do. This “new life” was realized when they had been baptized. “‘Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: arid the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
When the sinner obeys the gospel plan of salvation he becomes a new creature in Christ. When this has been done he has been born of the water and of the Spirit. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Those who begin this “new life” and continue unto the end of life will receive the crown of life, eternal life (Rev. 2:10), enjoy all spiritual blessings while they live (Eph. 1:3); and take up their cross and follow after Jesus so long as they live (Matt. 16:24).
Those who begin this “new life” and then turn back in sin should be aware of what Peter said. “But if after they have escaped the pollutions of this world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, then after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandments delivered unto them” (2 Pet. 2:20-21).
Those who know not God and who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ need to consider carefully the words of Paul. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
In view of what God’s word teaches on this “new life,” and what is going to happen to those who do not have it: does it not seem the wise thing to do to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ? It will reward us in this life and even more so in the life to come.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 48, p. 770
December 6, 1979