One of the most amazing and insightful chapters on how to get to Heaven is given in Ezekiel 37. God shows Ezekiel a valley filled with dry bones, and then asks him a question,
“Can these bones live?”
There are two answers that can be given:
1) The “human logic” answer, “Of course not! They are dead and dried up with nothing left. No blood, no skin, no organs, no life – of course they can’t live.”
But, we are told throughout Scripture to trust in the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
2) The answer when you do not lean on your own understanding is the answer Ezekiel gave:
“O Lord God, You know.”
This is a picture of the spiritually dead. In the spiritual world we look like dry bones in a valley full of dry bones (or we used to look like that). From a human logic perspective, if we could see our true condition and asked, “can I be made spiritually alive, can I be given new life, can I be born again?”
The answer would be, “Of course not! There is no good in me that God should ever give me eternal life!”
The answer when you do not lean on your own understanding is, “Oh Lord God, You know.”
We do not have the ability to gain a new spiritual birth any more than we have the ability to make that valley of dry bones alive. We do not play a part in being born again any more than we played a part in our physical birth.
THIS IS A HUGE PROBEM!
This is a huge problem because Jesus said, “unless a man is born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”. So, what must we do?!
The only thing we could ever do – plead with God to have mercy on you and shower His Grace upon you. The Grace to believe the Gospel. The Grace to redeem you from spiritual darkness. The Grace to regenerate you, to make you a new creation in Christ Jesus.
If He has opened your eyes to sin, confess it and turn from it. We must draw near to Him in prayer and in the study of His Word, and obey what you read.
A logical question would be, “If I do not play a part in being born again, how do I know if I am born again?”
We must look at the evidence.
Do you see yourself as sinful, deserving to suffer under the Wrath of God for eternity?
If you see it any other way, you must plead with God for mercy. If you say, “I am not perfect, but I don’t think I deserve hell”; if you say, “I know I have sinned, but I _____________”; then you need God’s mercy – ask Him for it. One mercy of God is showing you the severity and just consequence of your sin – IT MUST START THERE.
Do you understand and believe that there is NOTHING, not one little thing, you can do to contribute to your salvation, your new birth? If you see your works, religion, or rituals contributing in even the smallest of ways to your salvation, plead with God to have mercy on you. Knowing you can do nothing to earn or deserve salvation is a mercy from God.
Do you believe Jesus is who He said He is, who the apostles said He is, and who the Scriptures say He is – the Son of God, God incarnate, the Creator of all things? He is not just a prophet. He is not an angel, He is not just a “good moral teacher” – He is the One who gives and sustains life, the Judge of all, the King of kings, the Lord of lords – do you know Him this way? If you see Him another way, ask God to have mercy on you. Having your eyes opened to the True Identity of Jesus is a mercy that not all receive – plead with Him to reveal this Truth to you.
Do you know and understand that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, suffered under the Wrath of God the Father as He hung on that Cross where He bore your sin, He became sin for you – by His Blood He paid the debt of sin that you should have paid? Not only that, He imputes His perfect righteousness to you, He cleansed you in His Blood, He washed you clean of your sin when you believed the Gospel. He was Resurrected from the dead on the third day, defeating sin and death once and for all, the One final sacrifice, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
Are you trusting in Him alone to save you from the Wrath that is coming upon the ungodly?
Have you been changed? If you have walked through these first five evidences and said, “yes” but you have not been changed as a result of this belief, that should concern you. God’s Word says that, “he who is in Christ is a new creation, the old has passed away and the new has come.” Make no mistake, I am not talking about perfection, but I am talking about direction. Is your life moving in the direction of being made more into the likeness of Christ? Turning from sin, loving what God loves, and hating what God hates? This is the strongest evidence of a new birth.
This is all evidence of the Spirit’s work in your life. This is Grace upon Grace, wave after wave of God’s Grace! If you have been born again, don’t forget how it happened. You aren’t smarter than those that aren’t. You aren’t better. You didn’t want it more? God did it.
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
John 3:7-8 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."