swallowtail-butterfly-329376_1280By Dr. Harold Sala

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.  Acts 16:31

If a caterpillar can crawl up a tree and weave a cocoon around him and emerge as a beautiful butterfly, why think it strange that God can change a human heart and erase the hatred and bitterness of sin, replacing it with love and joy?  This remarkable change, of course, is not psychological; it is supernatural, and the supernatural involves God.

In the third century, Cyprian, a wealthy noble who enjoyed galloping around Carthage in his golden chariot, wrote a letter to a Christian friend saying that he could not possibly conceive of how his life could be changed, mentioning some of the vices which he so enjoyed.  Yet eventually Cyprian was converted to Jesus Christ.  His life changed drastically.  The result:  he became one of the early Church Fathers.

What happened to him has happened to millions of people and still happens to people today.  How do you explain this remarkable transformation in the lives of people?  Some, of course, would try to explain that it is strictly psychological, but the answer must go deeper than that.

Jesus talked much about this transformation, and He used such simple terms that it is impossible for us to misunderstand.  He said simply, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  Being born again spiritually results in transformation.  James Kennedy says, “The message of the entire Bible could be summed up in three words: creation (or generation), degeneration, and regeneration.”

Some things in life cannot be adequately explained but they can be experienced. Such is this experience which Jesus talked about.  Charles Spurgeon, the British preacher, said that “the natural man–the unregenerate man–can no more understand what the new birth is, or what spiritual things are–than a horse can understand astronomy.”

Being born again is not the result of turning over a new leaf, nor is it the result of your own goodness.  To the contrary, your goodness stands between you and this very experience.  It is much easier for people who live among the dregs of society to be born again than for good people who are kind but who are in need of this just as is the worst man or woman alive.

Are there some simple steps which you can follow to be born again, using the term Jesus used?  Here are three important guidelines which can change your life:

Guideline #1:  Acknowledge your need of this remarkable experience.

The Bible says simply that our rebellion against God is sin, and Paul categorically says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  The first step is saying, “God, I need and want this experience.”

Guideline #2:  Believe on Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

Believe the simple record that He lived, died, and rose again.  Paul put it like this:  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).  That term “saved” means the same thing as “born again.”  It’s just that simple.

Guideline #3:  Confess Christ as your Lord.

This means going public, running up your flag, identifying with Him as your Lord.  Again Paul wrote, “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” (Romans 10:9).

Remember, if God can change a caterpillar into a butterfly, He can change your life.  The Bible puts it, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  That is what being born again is all about.

Resource reading: John 3:16-21.