Pristine Grace

How We May Know We are Born of God.
by B.B. Caldwell

     Many dear souls think that they have been born again because they have joined the church and have been baptized. Every saved person ought to join the church and be baptized. But joining a church and being baptized does not make one a Christian. Water baptism is not designed to give birth to your soul. Only God can give birth to a soul. Water baptism is a symbol, and is designed to picture death, burial, and resurrection. Remember that water baptism made no change in Judas Iscariot, neither in Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24). The only change these men had was a change of clothes! There must be a change in heart in order to be saved.

     Without Bible assurance of your salvation you could neither be happy nor useful. How could you enjoy something you did not know you had, and how could you be happy unless you knew that you were eternally saved? You could never be happy with the thought that you are saved now, but that you might be lost tomorrow. My beloved, there is quite a difference in holding on to a limb and in being in the limb. Born again people are not holding on to Christ: they are in Christ. Read Rom. 8:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20.

     The word “know” is a very interesting word in the New Testament. Forty-two times the word know or its equivalent appears in I John alone. This epistle was written that we might know some things, and the new birth is one of them. In 1 John 2:12 God says: “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” Now if there is not some way of knowing that our sins are forgiven us then these words have no meaning. In this epistle John goes on to show how you may know that you are born again.

     1.We know by our faith in Him, In I John 5:1 God says: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one loveth him loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” The last part of this verse is the result of the first part. The first part of this verse has to do with our faith in Christ, which gives birth to our soul.

     Christ is Prophet. Priest, and King and as such He is able “to save unto the ‘uttermost’ all that come unto God by Him seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25).”

     You will observe from I John 5:1 that we are to believe that Jesus is the Christ. He could not be our Jesus (God-Saviour) unless He were the Christ. He could not reveal the way of salvation except He were a prophet. He could not work out that salvation, except He were a priest. He could not confer that salvation upon us, except He were a King. He could not be prophet, Priest, and king, except He were the Christ. Christ is the only begotten Son by generation: we become begotten sons of God by regeneration and adoption.

     Paul says I know whom I have believed and not what I have believed. You see, salvation is in a person and not in a system, or a creed, or in a ceremony. Yes, salvation is in a person, and that person is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

     2. We know by the witness of the Spirit. I John 5:10 God says:  “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” The witness is God’s Spirit dwelling in us and witnessing that Jesus is the Lord; the Christ; the Son of God. So the Witness is God’s Spirit bearing witness with our human spirit that we have been born again. In Gal. 4:6 we read: “And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Here we see that believers receive the Spirit of Adoption, “putting them upon the duty of prayer, and enabling them in prayer to eye God as a Father” (Matthew Henry). So we become sons of God by our believing in Christ. If we do not have the witness of God’s Spirit in our hearts then our salvation is very doubtful. (See Rom. 8::9).

     3. We know by the witness of God’s love. We read in I John 3:14 that “we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” If you do not love the people of God, then it is very doubtful if you have been born again.

     The Divine love of God is an “exotic plant that is brought down from the throne of God and placed in all regenerate hearts” (Charles Spurgeon). This imparted love will make you love people who are not lovable. Christian religion will make you love your enemies: it takes an inwrought Divine love to do this. This is where Christianity jumps by Mohammedism. Buddhism. Zoroasterism. Confucianism, and all others.

     This Divine love is the Christian’s badge of identity to the world, and is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Please read John 13:35, Rom. 5:5 and I John 1:7-8.

     4. We know by the witness of overcoming. There are two classes in the New Testament: Overcomers and the overcome. The unsaved are overcome by the devil, while the saved are overcomers. How do they overcome? By their faith in Christ and by the blood of the Lamb. In I John 5:4-5 we read: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” Then in Rev. 12:11: “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb.” The Lamb is Christ.

     5. We know by the witness of God’s word. God cannot lie, and He says in I John 5:1 that if we believe that Jesus is “the Christ” that we are born of God. God is faithful, and He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  (Heb. 13:5.6) 

     In John 5:24 we have another promise: “Verily. Verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death into life.” I believe God’s word, and God says that His word will stand forever (Luke 21:33; Pet. 1:23, 25).

     6. We know by the witness of new things. When a person is born again everything becomes new in his life. In 11 Cor. 5:17, we read: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” A born again person is completely changed and turned around. The things he once loved he now hates, and the things he once hated, he now loves. He has new desires, new appetites, new determinations, new aspirations, new hopes, new thoughts, new ambitions and new companions. A girl once asked me when she came to Christ what she would do with her old companions. I told her when they found out that she was saved that she would not have to shake them, they would shake her. God will give us some Christian companions for our old sinful companions. Sheep and goats do not companion They are too different in desires, and in nature, and in habits. Goats will eat just anything, but not so with sheep. A goat is satisfied anywhere, but not so with sheep. 

     7. We know by the witness of the divine nature. In II Pet. 1:4 we see that the children of God are made “partakers of the divine nature.” This divine nature is the nature of Christ, and the holiness of God. It is the imparting to us of God Himself by the Holy Spirit in the soul. 

     This divine nature befits us for heaven. Without it, heaven would be hell. If an unregenerated person should go to heaven without bring born again, without this divine nature, heaven would be a hell to him, and not only that, but he would make heaven a hell for everybody else. How do you think an ungodly person would feel in a holy heaven, in the presence of a holy God, and in the presence of holy angels with all of the saints and the angelic hosts singing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts”? You see we must have a nature to befit us for heaven. This nature is given us in the new birth! 

Notable Quotes

Beware, I pray thee, of presuming that thou art saved. If thy heart be renewed, if thou shalt hate the things that thou didst once love, and love the things that thou didst once hate; if thou hast really repented; if there be a thorough change of mind in thee; if thou be born again, then hast thou reason to rejoice: but if there be no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then thy saying “I am saved” is but thine own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver thee. — Charles H. Spurgeon

We all profess that we are bound for heaven, immortality, and glory: but is it any evidence that we really design it if all our thoughts are consumed about the trifles of this world, which we must leave behind us, and have only occasional thoughts of things above? — John Owen 

All the fruits of the Spirit which we are to lay weight upon as evidential of grace, are summed up in charity, or Christian love; because this is the sum of all grace. And the only way, therefore, in which any can know their good estate, is by discerning the exercises of this divine charity in their hearts; for without charity, let men have what gifts you please, they are nothing. — Jonathan Edwards 

Are you born again? This is one of life's most important questions. Jesus Christ said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). 

It is not enough to reply, "I belong to the church; I suppose I'm a Christian." Thousands of nominal Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us; many listed in the First Epistle of John. — J.C. Ryle


This sermon by B.B. Caldwell was taken from the bulletin of Thirteenth Street Baptist Church in Ashland, KY, Pastor Henry Mahan, from the winter of 1981.  Brother Caldwell passed away in 1976.