Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
John 3:3 NKJV
What happens when we receive Christ as our Savior?
God tells us we have everlasting life with Him. Notice I didn't say "will" have everlasting life with Him. This is because we are sealed at that moment for eternity.
This doesn't mean that we sit back and do nothing, but it does mean that we don't have to earn our eternal salvation. Jesus already did that for us with his death on the cross and his resurrection.
Our eternal salvation is secure if we receive Jesus Christ in faith, confessing and repenting of our sins and putting God on the throne of our lives.
We have a second birth - that is we are born again. Jesus tells us what happens when we are born again.
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is
You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living
and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23
Jesus says we must be born again. He says that we are then a new creation. What happens to our old self when we are born again.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being
corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; nd to
put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity,
lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves
of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have
put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
We are to put off our old self. Does this mean that we won't sin anymore? Unfortunately, in this earthly life we will fall as our sin nature is not totally gone until we die and are with God in Heaven. God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us. The Holy Spirit (Who is God and the Third Person of the Trinity) is sent to dwell in us.
Remember one of the attributes of God is He is Trinity. What does this mean? It means that there is one God in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Each of the three persons of the Trinity has the fullness of God in them. Remember, there is one God in three persons not three gods.
Here are some of the attributes of The Holy Spirit:
He convicts us of sin and immediately helps us confess and repent (repent means turn our mind away from) of our sins. We have received the Holy Spirit immediately when we accept Christ as our Lord.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit ,
who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's
possession-to the praise of his glory.
This means that since we as Christians now have the Holy Spirit in us, we have God living in us.
Wow, that is really a powerful thought, God dwelling within us. We have a direct path to God, The Creator of heaven and earth and everything in them, anytime - all the time.
In the days of the Old Testament Israelites, God only dwelt among them in the Temple and only in The Most Holy Place (not that God was confined to a place on earth). Only one person went into The Most Holy Place (the high priest) and only once a year to atone for his and Israel's sins and with a sacrifice.
The sacrifice always involved blood as the only atonement for sin was blood. Now the blood of animals was not a perfect sacrifice for sin. There were daily sacrifices for their sins.
So when Christ shed His blood for our sins - once for all - all our sins were forgiven (that is if we've accepted the gift) - not as in the Old Testament (the time before Christ's work on earth) where sacrifices were ongoing for the sins of the Israelites (God's chosen people in the Old Testament).
Many people call themselves Christians but live like they did before. They laugh at the same shameful jokes, watch the same shameful movies, think the same hateful thoughts and exhibit the same life style as they did before. Becoming a true Christian means not only a change in belief but also a change in behavior. Profession of faith without exhibiting a change in one's life should cause one to question if they are really a Christian and truly have the gift of eternal life.
Now don't read the above paragraph as saying that salvation comes from works - it doesn't.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of
God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in
Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
These verses clearly state that salvation is a gift of God through faith and not of works and we were created FOR good works not saved by them.
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that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24 NKJV