As we observed in our last lesson, God sent His Son to save us "from our sins" that "whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (Matt. 1:21; John 3:16). Through faith in Jesus we receive:
(1) repentance for sin
(2) forgiveness for sin
(3) power to overcome sin.
This work of grace is the beginning of a "new life," which is called the "new birth" or "conversion." In this lesson we will see how this new birth takes place in our lives.
- How many of us are naturally good?
Rom. 3:10, 23 [The Further-study verses are John 8:34; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 64:6]
- Therefore, what is "most assuredly" necessary if we are going to receive the free gift of eternal life?
John 3:3, 5, 6 [Matt. 18:3]
- Can we change ourselves?
Jer. 13:23 [Rom. 7:18-24]
STEPS TO CONVERSION
- The Bible points out three steps to conversion. What is the first step?
Acts 3:19 [Ans: We must repent of our sins. 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 2:38; 5:31; Rom. 2:4; Ps. 34:18]
- Repentance means to be so sorry for our sins that we do not want to repeat them. Only God can give us that sorrow for sin, for we, by nature, love sin. What will true repentance lead us to do with our past, sinful way of life?
Rom. 6:6, 16 [Ans: By God's help we will crucify the sinful habits we once cherished. True repentance also will cause us to make restitution for our wrongs (such as paying back stolen goods) where we can. Num. 5:7; Eze. 33:15; Luke 19:8, 9; Rom. 8:13]
- After repentance, what is the second step?
1 John 1:9 [Ans: We must confess our sins to God, asking for forgiveness. After confessing our sins, we are not to keep on dwelling upon them, but to have faith that God has forgiven them. There also may be people from whom we should ask forgiveness. Prov. 28:13; Ps. 32:5; 51:1-10; Lev. 5:5; 26:40-42; Mark 1:5; James 5:16; Neh. 1:6-11; Rom. 5:1]
- Thirdly, after repentance and forgiveness, how are we then to live?
Rom. 6:4 [Ans: We are to live a new life, a righteous life, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Eph. 2:1-10; 1 John 2:6; 3:3]
- What will happen if we repent of our sins but do not replace our evil deeds with good deeds?
Luke 11:24-26 [Note: We must preoccupy the mind with good if we would not have it filled with evil. Matt. 6:24; Rom. 12:21]
NEW LIFE THROUGH JESUS
- The end product of conversion is a new life of righteousness. How can we live this new life?
Rom. 8:2-4 [Note: God has power to help even the worst sinner overcome his sins. 1 John 3:39; Heb. 10:16; Eze. 36:25-28; 1 Cor. 10:13; Phil. 4:13; John 8:34-36; Heb. 7:25]
- Who showed us the way to live this new life of righteousness?
John14:6 [Heb. 2:10, 11, 16-18; 1 Peter 2:21; Matt. 16:24]
- In demonstrating a righteous life, Jesus showed us three things we can do to enable the Holy Spirit to give us this new life. What is one thing Jesus did, and taught us to do, to live the victorious Christian life?
Luke 21:34-36 [Luke 6:12; Matt. 26:41]
- A second thing Jesus did was to study the Bible and to resist temptation by quoting Scripture. What will regular Bible study do for us?
2 Peter 1:3, 4 [Note: When we study the Bible daily, the Holy Spirit fills us with holy thoughts and gives us strength to resist temptation. When Jesus was tempted, He quoted Scripture that He had memorized. If we will fill our minds with texts of the Bible and Christian songs, our minds will not be so easily affected by sin. Then, when we are tempted, if we will quote Scripture and pray for strength, we will obtain victory. Matt. 4:3, 4, 7, 10; Ps. 119:11; John 6:53-57, 63; John 17:17]
- Thirdly, after receiving spiritual strength through prayer and Bible study, Jesus mentally and consciously resisted Satan and his temptations, and chose to do right (see Isa. 7:14, 15 and Luke 4:8). What should we do when tempted?
James 4:7, 8 [Eph. 6:12, 13]
- These three things--Prayer, Bible study, and exercising our will in refusing to sin and choosing to do good with the spiritual strength we have thus received--are the secrets for victorious Christian living. We must combine divine power with human effort. But we must do this every day, even moment by moment! How can we have a growing Christian experience?
Col. 2:6 [Luke 9:23; 1 Cor. 15:31; 1 Thess. 5:17; Rev. 2:4]
- When we have been truly born again, what will happen to us?
2 Cor. 5:17 [Phil. 1:6]
Is it your desire to be born again into a spiritual life of righteousness, with Jesus as your example?
Will you spend time with Jesus every day in prayer and Bible study, and with the strength you thus receive from God choose to resist sin and to follow the Lord Jesus Christ?