Recently, someone asked this writer: what really constitutes a true believer in Jesus Christ? According to my observations, some people come to meetings at the church because they are attracted by the passion and kindness of Christians, or they share affirmation with certain Biblical teachings, or they realize that there is eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Yet they have not actually been born of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, ¡§I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.¡¨ (John 3:3) ¡§I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.¡¨ (John 3:5) To enter the Kingdom of God (have eternal life), one must be born of water and the Spirit. That means one must resolve before God to repent of, admit to and leave behind sin, and believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour sent by the One True God, and that His precious blood cleanses the sin of man, to be followed by the renewing and altering work of the Holy Spirit. This sort of person is born of God.
The Apostle John tells us, ¡§Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.¡¨ (1 John 5:1) These people have the following characteristics:
1. Sin no more: ¡§No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.¡¨ (1 John 3:9) If one truly has received Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he will understand the horror and abomination of sin, because the Word of God will cause him to self-reprove and recognize that the beloved Son of God has suffered and died for his sins, so that he will not sin again. This does not mean that there will not be any possibility for him to sin and falter, but that he will not easily fall into sin and offend God again.
2. Keep himself safe ¡V ¡§We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.¡¨ (1 John 5:18) One who is born of God will constantly be careful and vigilant. When the devil uses desires of the flesh to attract, tempt and test a person, our counsel the Holy Spirit will at the same time work in the heart to alert, exhort and guide the reborn and saved person, so that he has a heightened sense of warning, and will avoid falling down in sin and offending God.
3. Know God our Father ¡V ¡§Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.¡¨ (1 John 4:7) The person born of God has the love of God. This love will continue to attract him. As well, he will continuously seek to know God because of his love of God. Therefore, another characteristic of one born of God is the craving for more knowledge of the bible, just as the newborn baby craves milk.
4. Love the ones born of God ¡V ¡§Everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.¡¨ (1 John 5:1) It is the most natural thing for one who truly believes in the Lord to love God. He also will want to join more gatherings at the church, interact with his brothers and sisters in Christ, learn to love one another, and live the life of the church.
5. Overcome the world ¡V ¡§For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.¡¨ (1 John 5:4) Those born of God are much different than people of the world (non-believers of Christ) in their basic substance of life, moral attitude and values. Through God¡¦s choosing of us, we no longer belong to the world, but to Him. The people of the world will of course love those that belong to them, and reject those belonging to Jesus Christ. That is because the virtuous testimony of the children of God displeases those who live and act according to the corrupt standards of the world. The more our spiritual lives mature, the more we will experience the rejection of the world. Yet we will still be able to win against the attacks and temptations coming from the world through our faith in God. That is the manifestation of the maturity of a life belonging to God.
Dear readers, no matter how long you have been attending meetings at the church, if you claim to be a Christian and yet do not have the above characteristics of the children of God - that is you have never felt sorrow and guilt from the sins you committed; have never felt self-reproach when you enjoyed the pleasures of unrestrained vices; find reading the Bible and listening to sermons bland; have a superficial relationship with members of the church; are readily accepted by your non-believing friends or family, and you also readily accept their points of view on life and values - according to the teachings of the Bible, you have likely not been reborn and saved. This writer hopes that you will repent to God, and accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour. For there is blessing in this life and the next when you become the child of God.
By: Daniel To