Summary: Part 2 of this message focuses on what it means to have a heart (spirit) change which is the true evidence of being born again.
Born Again Christian Part 2
“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 are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)
In Part 1 of this series last week, we answered the questions: (1) “Why does a person need to be born again?” and (2) “How does a person get born again?” In that message I shared with you that when Nicodemus went to see Jesus he believed and was teaching others that being born a Jew was all that was needed to get into heaven. Because it was not a requirement, he did not believe there was a need to have a heart change or a spiritual renewal to get into heaven. He believed he was going to heaven simply because he was born a Jew. Jesus, however, told him this was not the case. He made it very clear that being born a Jew was not enough; that Nicodemus had to be born of the Spirit – he needed to be born from above. This would be a transformation from his sin nature to one of a godly nature. He would cease to be a son of Adam being powerless to sin) and become a son of God (having power/authority over sin). This would happen when he accepted Christ in his heart through faith and experienced a spiritual (heart) change.
As I shared with you last week, today, just as it was with Nicodemus, there are people who believe that they can be saved without experiencing a spiritual change within themselves. We have been taught the “process for salvation” without a change in how we live. There are many people who believe that because they were “baptized” with water that they are going to heaven. There are many that believe because they were baptized (christened) as a baby, they are going to heaven. Many believe that because they are now under grace that they get a pass on everything they do which keeps the door opened for them to enter heaven. What we are hearing taught from many pulpits today is similar to what the Pharisees (Nicodemus) taught which is that you can get into heaven simply by doing “something” and it does not require a change in your spiritual nature – a change in your heart. Because of grace there is no penalty for sin – it’s all covered. This morning in Part 2 of this series we are going to examine the heart. And just in case you haven’t heard it before, if there is no heart change there is no salvation and if there is no salvation there is no being born again and if you have not been born again you cannot enter heaven. I just want to set the stage for where we are going today.
In last week’s message we looked at Romans 10:8-10 as we answered the question “How does a person get born again?” I want to reread verses 9 and 10 again. It says, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; FOR WITH THE HEART a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Now I want you to notice that I emphasized “believe in your heart” from verse 9 and “for with the heart” from verse 10. I am convinced, by how they live and by what they say, that there are people who have repeated Romans 10, verses 9 and 10 and believe that they are born again, but do not truly understand what it means to believe it “with your heart.” And without this understanding, a person can believe he or she is heaven bound and that may not be true. I hope after the message this morning, you will know in your heart that you are born again and heaven bound and will be able to help others understand this when you are outside of these four walls.
Let talk a little about the heart (the spirit of man.) The Bible has a lot to say about the heart. Here are a few examples from the Old Testament.
Psalm 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”