A Born-Again Experience

Editorial - Michael Smith

A Born-Again Experience

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
—Titus 3:5 

It is by the mercy and love of God that we can be saved. None of us deserve salvation, but it is a divine gift of God. We need never fight for a gift, for by its very nature, a gift is freely given. Jesus came to this earth and gave Himself as a sacrifice that we might be cleansed from sin and inherit eternal life. This gift of salvation is of far more value than the pleasures and treasures of this world.

This quarter’s theme, “A Spiritual Birth,” reveals the profound theological truth and practicality of being born again. As I studied the scripture, I was once again in awe of the simplicity and power of the gospel. 

Being born again is a concept misunderstood by many faiths and religions. Many religions teach that enlightenment or acceptance of God is earned through works and adherence to rules. People strive to find happiness and security of eternal life. For man to be free from the bondage of sin and to enter the wonderful kingdom of God, there must be a transformation of the soul. The miracle of salvation is not achieved through our own righteousness but through a spiritual rebirth. While there are important precepts of scripture to follow, the physical works of righteousness do not save us.

Participating in church life, being a member of a congregation, living morally, praying, studying scripture, giving, and serving others do not bring salvation. Salvation requires the divine work of God. The new birth is about God doing in our lives what we cannot do for ourselves. A spiritual birth is needed by all. Children who grow up in a Christian family need a spiritual birth just like children of the heathen. 

With spiritual birth comes transformation. Something happens that is often inexplicable. By the power of God our sins are forgiven, our hearts purified, and our souls set free from the curse of death. Praise God for the new birth!

There is great consolation in a born-again experience. While we continue to submit to God’s will and surrender our lives to Him, there is peace in knowing that we are the children of God. We will still make mistakes as we grow, but we can live free from sin. We can rest in the saving grace of Christ and in the knowledge that we have been born—we are alive, transformed, and forgiven. 

While I rejoice to know what it means to have a spiritual birth, my heart cries for those who are striving so hard to earn God’s favor through their own efforts. This striving is a futile endeavor that falls short of real holiness. Anything other than a born-again experience is a miserable experience. True righteousness, peace, and joy come from entering the kingdom of God through spiritual rebirth. 

My prayer is for the message of spiritual birth to reach the lost and continue to transform lives.

Michael W. Smith
July 2024