Are You Born Again?
"Are You Born Again?" by J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
This is one of life's most important questions. Jesus Christ said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdo 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 the First Epistle of John.
No Habitual Sinning:
First of all John wrote, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (I John 3:9). "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not (5:18).
A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin... 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.
Believing in Christ:
Second, John wrote: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" (I John 5:1). He believes that, for the sake of Christ's finished work and death on the Cross, he is reckoned righteous in God's sight, and he may look forward to death and judgment without alarm (Romans 4:20-5:1; 8:1).
Third, John wrote: "Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him" (I John 2:29).
The man who is born again, or regenerated, is a holy man. He endeavors to live according to God's will, to do the things that please God and to avoid the things that God hates. He wishes to continually look to Christ as his example as well as his Saviour, and to prove himself to be Christ's friend by doing whatever He commands.
Keeping Oneself Pure:
John wrote, "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself (I John 5:18).
A man who is born again is careful of his own soul.He tries not only to avoid sin, but also to avoid everything which may lead to it. He is very careful about the company he keeps. He knows that evil communications corrupt the heart, and that evil is more catching than goo, just as a disease is more infectious than health. He is diligently to be a watchful, humble, prayerful man.