John 3:1-8 NIV Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
The entire Bible stresses that once you are born-again it is, just like a natural birth it's permanent. It can’t be undone.
John 10:28-29 NIV I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
John 6:37-40 NIV All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Many of us were born with what we call birthmarks. Birthmark is the term used to describe any of the large number of common skin marks that are present at birth or appear soon afterwards. When we are born again, we are born with characteristics and traits as a result of that new birth.
Dr. David Jeremiah, In his book “Ten Questions Christians are Asking”, calls these traits and characteristics birthmarks. Here are five of them which are all found in the book of 1 John.
1 John 5:1 NIV Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
To be born again and to be saved you must first believe.
You must confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Some people assume they are saved because they grew up in a Christian culture, or they have gone to church all their lives, or they have been baptized, or they have tried to live a good life.
Yet they’ve never distinctly and personally confessed Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Romans 10:9-11 NIV If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
The Bible teaches that we are sinners, separated from God by a sinful nature. We can never earn, buy, or climb our way into heaven. By our own efforts or goodness, we can never be saved.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
That’s why God became a man who lived a totally righteous life, died on the cross, shed His blood for us, and rose from the dead. He paid our penalty, took our judgment upon Himself, and He offers us the opportunity to be born again.
Hebrews 2:9 NIV But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Philippians 2:5-8 NIV In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
If the first birthmark is our confession of Christ as our Savior and Lord, the second is a changed life.
1 John 2:29 NIV If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
When Jesus truly saves us, it makes a difference in how we think, act, speak, and conduct ourselves.
Philippians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
As we begin learning to practice righteousness, our habits change. We will not be sinless and perfect while we’re on this planet; but if we’re Christians, we need to behave like Christians. If we say we’re saved but nothing has changed about us, something is wrong.
Galatians 5:19-23 NIV The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
We are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works, and the Gospel is a transforming agent in our lives.
Ephesians 2:10 NIVFor we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Those who are truly saved also bear the birthmark of compassion. Those who are truly saved are those who enjoy and bless the household of faith, the family of God.
1 John 4:7-8 NIV Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 3:14 NIV We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
Those who have truly been born again also love those who have not been born again yet.
Matthew 5:43-48 NIV “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
A fourth sign of being truly saved is conflict.
1 John 5:4-5 NIV for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
The word overcome implies a struggle. We’re faced with an adversary whom we must overcome.
1 John 2:14 NIVI write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
When you’re genuinely born of God, you’ll be growing to be an overcomer as you deal with the temptations around you—the world, the flesh, and the devil. You may not be victorious over every temptation every time, but you’ll make progress in gaining more victories and losing less battles as you grow stronger in Christ and in the power of the abiding Word of God.
1 John 2:15-17 NIV Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Revelation 12:11 NIV They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Here's the final birthmark. We can see evidence of our new birth through our desire to conduct ourselves in a way that pleases God.
1 John 3:9-10 NIV No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
I want to caution anyone who interprets this verse to teach that anyone who is born of God never sins. That would conflict with other passages in the Bible. .
In 1 John 3:9, the word for sin describes a continuous action. John is not saying that whoever sins once is not born of God. That would disqualify all of us. What John is saying, in effect is that “Whoever keeps on willfully sinning, violating God’s law with stubborn disregard and ongoing wickedness, cannot have assurance of salvation.”
If we are truly saved, we will grieve over our sins, confess them, and seek God’s grace to do better.
1 John 1:8-10 NIV If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
God's grace is inexhaustible, and His salvation is irreversible. Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and then trust Him with your eternal future. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
His Word was given that you might know Jesus Christ as your Savior and that you might know that you have eternal life.