What differentiates the Evangelicals from the rest of the Christian world is this concept of being born again. Other religions speak about conversion and even force people into such conversion, but the born again concept is uniquely ours.
In John 3:3 Jesus made a powerful statement concerning salvation and the need to be born again, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (NKJV)
How do we become born again? Are there many paths to salvation? Can you do it your way? Are there other saviors? Can you be good enough to be saved? Romans 3:10-18 clearly describes our spiritual condition:
10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (NKJV)
Nobody is good enough or capable of saving him or herself. We have a sinful condition that separates us from God. Psalm 51:5 tell us, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (KJV).
The message of the Gospel was lost for more than a thousand years. Things were about to change after Martin Luther’s Reformation on October 31, 1517. The message of the Gospel was not fully restored until the Anabaptist came to the scene. After the reformation, common people had access to the Scripture. The Anabaptist came out of that group; they were not into reformation; they saw that the Catholic Church went too far, and they did, so they were separatist.
Anabaptist means re-baptize. They were against baby baptism. They understood that the requirement for baptism was to be born again. This seemingly simple doctrine brought a devastating persecution against the Anabaptist. They were persecuted by everybody; the church of England, Rome and even by the followers of Luther. I always respected this group and, even as they made some mistake themselves, these were true Christians who loved the Lord and love souls.
For the sake of this article series we will focus on the Doctrine of Salvation.
To be continued…