Celebrating a spiritual birthday

Pastor Leo Kruger

Pastor Leo Kruger

Many of the people reading this article have reached the age of understanding that time passes quickly. Some of us have reached the age of 60, 70, 80 and even older.

When I was younger I asked my dad when he was 70, does it feel like you have lived 70 years? He snapped his fingers and said, “just like that.”

Now at 71, I fully understand what he meant. Where did all these birthdays go, and I have another one coming fairly soon. More importantly, on Nov. 30, 1977, I experienced a new birth, a spiritual birth the Bible calls being born again. I remember it well. Almost 46 years ago a pastor came to my home and shared the good news of the gospel with me. On a Wednesday night, somewhere around 7 p.m. I bowed my knees, head, heart, and life next to my couch, repented of my sin and received Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior. From that moment, I have never been the same. I was born again as the scripture says in II Cor 5:17. I became a new creation in Christ. II Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Jesus was approached by one of the most religious men of the day, a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He acknowledged the miracles Jesus had done and confirmed that God must be with Him. Jesus wasted no time in dealing with Nicodemus’ problem.

Jesus told him that for him to enter the kingdom of God or even to see the kingdom of God, he must be born again. Jesus revealed that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and in order to be a part of this spiritual kingdom one must be born of the Spirit. This is what the Apostle Paul is referring to in Ephesians 2:1-10

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Is the new birth an option? Jesus made it very clear that if we want to enter the kingdom of God that we must be born again. Jesus used the word must. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 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

“Most assuredly, I say to you,” Jesus answered, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”

How does the new birth work?

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Salvation is free, but it is not cheap, Jesus gave His life for it. However, it is simple enough that a five-year-old can understand it. If we believe, repent, receive and follow, we can be blessed with the gift of eternal life. The greatest gift ever given.

Pastor Leo Kruger of Valley Christian Fellowship is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.


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