We urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV Discernment isn’t easy, but God has given us two gifts that can help us. The impulse of the Spirit Thank God for the gift of the Spirit....
“You must be born again.” John 3:7 (NIV)
Some Christians can speak about a day when they came to Christ. But other Christians can’t name a specific time and place. How do you know if this amazing work of God has happened in your life?
Think about the analogy of physical birth. How do you know that you were born? You can’t remember it… and that’s good! Yet even if you have never met your mother, you know you were born from the indisputable fact that you are alive!
It’s the same with the new birth. What does it mean to be spiritually alive? Faith in Christ, love for Christ, repentance toward Christ, hope in Christ, and life in the Holy Spirit—these are the evidences that you have been born again—whether you remember it or not—you have been regenerated by the Spirit of God and Christ lives in you.
It follows, if you do not love Christ, trust Christ, or follow Christ, this life is not in you. So you should not deceive yourself by pretending that it is. You may have had some spiritual experience, but it was not regeneration if it did not lead you to love and trust and follow Christ, because these are the fruits of regeneration.
Some folks teach that if you repent and believe, then God will regenerate you. But it is the other way around. Regeneration lies behind your faith in the same way your birth lies behind your life.
Since by nature our minds are blind to the glory of God and our hearts are resistant to the love of God, we don’t have it in us to produce repentance and faith, until God shines his light into our minds and changes our hearts so that we begin to seek after him.
Faith is the fruit of regeneration, not its cause. The wonderful explanation of your loving, trusting, and following Christ is that God regenerated you.
Do you see the fruit of regeneration in your own life?