What is Salvation, Who Provides it and How do I know I have it?

1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
According to his great mercy,
he has caused us to be born again……
 
Comment: We hear all the time that our lifestyle is the fruits that will indicate whether we are truly saved or not. Verses like 1 John 2:29 which says that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of God, 1 John 3:9, no one born of God makes a practice of sinning, 1 John 4:7, anyone who believes that Jesus is Christ has been born of God, etc. all these verses and many others, seem to give assurance that if our lifestyle reflects certain qualities, we have been born of God and therefore saved. The verse 1 Peter 1:3, which is our passage for this message says that God has caused us to be born again. What does all this mean. What does it mean we are born again? What did Jesus mean when He told Nicodemus that unless we are born again we will not enter the kingdom of God. I hope to answer this question in this message.
 
  1. God gives us New Birth
 
Word Study: The words in 1 Peter 1:3 which says “He has caused us to be born again” is translated from the greek word “anagennao” which literally means to regenerate, to father anew, bring to birth again. “Ana” means again and “gennao” means to “give birth or to be born”. This word is only used in this form here in 1 Peter 1:3. However the word “gennao” has been used in several verses like John 3:3 where Jesus told Nicodemus that unless a man is “gennao anothen” or born again or born from above, he will not enter the kingdom of God.
 
Message: The above verse 1 Peter 1:3, tells us that God according to his great mercy, has caused us to be born again. It clearly ties in with Titus 3:5 where Paul tells Titus that God saved us according to His own mercy. The fact that it is God who caused us to be born again, and the fact that it is God who saves, is also reflected in John 1:13, where John says that we were born of the will of God and in Eph 2:5 and Col 2:13, where Paul tells us that God made us alive. So, clearly from these verses, we can see that it is God who gives us the new birth, It is God who saves us and it is God who raises us from the death of sin and gives us a new life. This is also confirmed by Jesus in John 3:3
John 3:3 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Word Study: The words “born again” are translated from two greek words “gennao” which means “to be born” and “anothen” which mean both “from above and again”. So, the words “born again” means “to be born from above or to be born again”. The question is which word is supposed to be used? I say, this is not a mistake that these two words are here. They are here purposefully so that we can see that Jesus is saying “Unless one is born again and from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God”
Therefore, Jesus confirms as well in John 3:3 that one needs to be born again from above to be saved. This means that one has to be born again, given new birth by God who is in Heaven above. It is also clear that it is purely according to God’s mercy that we are saved and not by our own works as indicated in Titus 3:5, 1Pet 1:3 and Eph 2:8 where Paul indicates that salvation is not from our works but a gift from God.
So, God is the one who saves us by giving us new life, by giving us new birth and He does this not because we deserve it or have earned it but only according to His own mercy.
 
  1. How does God give us new birth?
 
To answer this question we need to take a look at Tit 3:5-6 and John 3:3-5
Titus 3:5-6 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Paul tells us here in this passage that God saves according to His own mercy and not by our righteous works,How? By the washing of regeneration and by the renewal of the Holy Spirit whom He pours out on us richly through Jesus Christ our savior.  So, Paul gives us two things that God does to save us, 1) by the washing of regeneration and 2) by the renewal of the Holy Spirit which God pours out on us. Let’s look at the first one: God saves us by the washing of regeneration.
Word Study: The word “washing” is translated from the greek word “loutron” which means to bath. To wash or clean up. The word does not mean baptism. The word is only used twice in the New Testament and in both cases, it is translated as to wash. (Tit 3:5, Eph 5:26). The word regeneration is translated from a greek word “palinggenesia”. It comes from two greek words “Palin” which means “again” and “genesis” which means “birth”. Literally the word would mean “again birth”. Therefore the word regeneration means “born again” or “new birth”
Message: Therefore the words “washing of regeneration” means literally “washing of new birth”. So, therefore regeneration means to be given new birth through washing. We will later get to the details of what is washed to give us new birth. The second reason is that God saves us by the renewal of the Holy Spirit which God pours out on us.
So, God saves us by giving us new birth by washing us and giving us the Holy Spirit. 
 
Let us now look at John 3:3-5
John 3:4-5 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Let’s look at the flow of things here. Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:3 that unless one is born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus in verse 4 then asks how can a man be born when he is old? In verse 5, then Jesus answers the question of How can a man be born when he is old by saying the man must be born of water and Spirit. Therefore Jesus is saying, this man who must be born again from above, must be born of water and Spirit. We have already seen that being “born again from above” means being given new birth by God. Therefore, Jesus is saying to Nicodemus that one can only enter the kingdom of God once God has given him new birth by water and Spirit. This is exactly the same thing that Paul stated in Titus 3:5-6 when he said that God saves us by  giving us new birth through washing us and giving us the Holy Spirit.Therefore, water in John 3:5 does not mean baptism but rather, it means washing, taking a bath.
So, just like Paul in Titus 3:5-6, Jesus is saying here in John 3:3-5 that God saves us by giving us new birth through washing us and giving us the Holy Spirit.
 
So far then we can conclude that it is God who saves us by giving us new life, by giving us new birth and He does this not because we deserve it or have earned it but only according to His own mercy. God gives us new birth by washing us and giving us the Holy Spirit.
 
At this you might say “I hear you, but I still don’t believe what you say. Is this conclusion of yours backed up by scripture?”. I say then, Yes indeed and I will show you. Where in scripture does it show beyond reasonable doubt that my conclusion is true and in line with scripture? For the answer to this question we go to Ezekiel 36:25-27
Ezekiel 36:24-27 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
I have copied from verse 24 to give context. This is God speaking to the people of Israel. See how God in verse 25 speaks of giving the Jews a bath. God says He will wash them from their uncleannesses and from their idols. This indicates that God will wash their sins away. God will make them clean from their sins. This is the washing part of my conclusion. God washes them and He washes them from their sins. Just like God giving us new birth by washing away our sins. Again this verse shows that the washing being referred to, it is not baptism but it is God Himself doing the washing. Baptism is an outward act done by us as a sign of what God has already done in us. Secondly, see verses 26-27, where God removes the heart of stone and replaces it with the heart of flesh and puts His Spirit in them. This is just like when he pours out His Holy Spirit in us.
 
Therefore, there is no doubt whatsoever that it is  God who saves us by giving us new life, by giving us new birth and He does this not because we deserve it or have earned it but only according to His own mercy. God gives us new birth by washing us and giving us the Holy Spirit.
 
  1. How does God do this?
 
Two verses tell us that God gave us new birth by washing us and giving us the Holy Spirit, through an imperishable seed which is living and abiding, and that is His Word, and also, God gave us birth by the Word of truth. 1 Pet 1:23 and James 1:18 respectively. As you hear the word of God, the true word of God, God uses that, to give you new birth. This is why it is so important that we go out and preach the word of God, the true word of God.
 
  1. How do we know if God has given us new birth?
 
This goes therefore without saying that if God is the one who saves us by washing our sins away and giving us the Holy Spirit, then it goes without saying that we can no longer be the same person we used to be before. When God has done this, we will immediately after that and by default, exhibit three things that John talks about in 1 John 5:1-3 and these are:
  1. We will have faith in Jesus as Christ
  2. We will love God and love our fellow Christians and
  3. We will obey God’s commandments
This is also stated by God in Ezekiel 36:27
Ezekiel 36:24-27 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
As you can see, God does the washing and the giving of the Holy Spirit and then He says in verse 27, that, He will cause us to walk in His statutes and be careful to obey His rules. So, it is God who after giving us new birth, causes us to want to obey Him and actually obey him. It is not a choice, it is a default reaction. This is why John can say with confidence that if you want to know if someone is truly a Christian, you will see them when they believe in Jesus as Christ, when they love God and love their fellow Christians and when they obey God’s commandments. If a person claims to be a Christian and exhibits none of these then he is a liar just like his  father the devil who is the prince of lies. Why? Because if God was their Father, they would be by default, without any effort whatsoever, exhibit the qualities I mentioned.
 
Are you a Christian? Look in the mirror. What do you see?

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Posted in 1 Peter, 1 Peter 1, Christian Attitude and Behaviour, Christian living, Fruits of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Repent, Salvation, Selected Scriptures, Sin.

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