Are You Born Again?
Six Tests of the Christian
by J.C. Ryle

 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. 
 No Habitual Sinning
 First of all,  John wrote:  "Whosoever is born of God 
 doth not commit sin" (1John 3:9).  "Whosoever is born 
 of God sinneth not" (5:18). 
    A  person  who  has  been  born again,  or regene- 
 rated,  does not habitually commit sin.  He no longer 
 sins  with  his heart and will and whole inclination. 
 There was probably a time when he did not think about 
 whether his actions were sinful or not,  and  he  did 
 not  always feel grieved after doing evil.  There was 
 no quarrel between him and sin;  they  were  friends.  
 But  the  true  Christian  hates sin,  flees from it, 
 fights against it,  considers it his greatest plague, 
 resents  the  burden of its presence,  mourns when he 
 falls under its influence, and longs to be completely 
 delivered from it.  Sin no longer pleases him, nor is 
 it  even  a  matter  of  indifference to him;  it has 
 become a horrible thing which he hates.  However,  he 
 cannot eliminate its presence within him. 
    If  he said that he had no sin,  he would be lying 
 (1John 1:8).  But he can sya that he  hates  sin  and 
 that  the  great  desire of his soul is not to commit 
 sin at all.  He  cannot  prevent  bad  thoughts  from 
 entering his mind,  or shortcomings,  omissions,  and 
 defects from apprearing in both  his  words  and  his 
 actions. He knows that "in many things we offend all" 
 (James  3:2).  But he can truly say,  in the sight of 
 God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and 
 that his whole nature does not consent to them.  What 
 would the apostle say about you?  Are you born again? 
 Believing in Christ
 Second, John wrote; "Whosoever believeth that Jesus 
 is the Christ is born of God" (1John 5:1).
    A man who is born again, or regenerated,  believes 
 that  Jesus Christ is the only Saviour who can pardon 
 his soul,  that He is the divine person appointed  by 
 God  the  Father for this very purpose and beside Him 
 there is no  Saviour  at  all.  In  himself  he  sees 
 nothing but unworthiness.  But he has full confidence 
 in Christ,  and trusting in Him, he believes that his 
 sins are all forgiven.  He believes that,  because he 
 has  accepted Christ's finished work and death on the 
 cross, he is considered righteous in God's sight, and 
 he may look forward to  death  and  judgment  without 
    He  may  have  fears an doubts.  He may sometimes 
 tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at  all.  
 But  ask  him  if  he is willing to trust in anything 
 instead of Christ, and see what he will say.  Ask him 
 if he will rest his hope of eternal life on  his  own 
 goodness,  his own works,  his prayers, his minister, 
 or his church,  and listen to his reply.  What  would 
 the apostle say about you?  Are you born again?   
 Practicing Righteousness
 Third,   John   wrote:    "Every   one   that   doeth 
 righteousness is born of Him" (1 John 2:29). 
    The man who is born again,  or regenerated,  is  a 
 holy  man.  He  endeavors  to live according to God's 
 will,  to do the things that please God and to  avoid 
 the  things that God hates.  He wishes to continually 
 look to Christ as his example as well as His  Saviour 
 and to prove himself to be Christ's friend  by  doing 
 whatever  He  commands.  He  knows  that  he  is  not 
 perfect.  He is painfully  aware  of  his  indwelling 
 corruption.   He   finds  an  evil  principle  within 
 himself that is constantly warring against grace  and 
 trying  to  draw  him away from God.  But he does not 
 consent  to  it,   thought  he  cannot  prevent   its 
    Thought he may sometimes feel so low that he 
 questions whether or not he is a Christian at all, he 
 will be able to say with John Newton, "I am not what 
 I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not 
 what I hope to be in another world; but still I am 
 not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I 
 am what I am."  What would the apostel say about you?
 Are you born again?
 Loving Other Christians
 Fourth, John wrote: "We know that we have passed from 
 death unto life, because we love the brethren" (1John 
    A man who is born again has a special love for all 
 true disciples of Christ.  Like his Father in heaven, 
 he  loves  all men with a great general love,  but he 
 has a special love for those who share his  faith  in 
 Christ.  Like  his  Lord  and  Saviour,  he loves the 
 worst of sinners and could weep over them; but he has 
 a peculiar love for those who are  believers.  He  is 
 never so much at home as when he is in their company. 
    He  feels they are all members of the same family.  
 They are his fellow soldiers,  fighting  against  the 
 same   enemy.   They   are   his   fellow  travelers, 
 journeying along the same road.  He understands  them 
 and  they understand him.  They may be very different 
 from himself in many ways- in rank, in station and in 
 wealth.  But that  does  not  matter.  They  are  his 
 Father's sons and daughters and he cannot help loving 
 them.  What would the apostle say about you?  Are you 
 born again?                                
 Overcoming the World
 Fifth, John wrote: "Whatsever is born of God 
 overcometh the world" (1John 5:4).
    A  man  who is born again does not use the world's 
 opinion as his standard of right and wrong.  He  does 
 not  mind  going against the world's ways,  ideas and 
 customs.  What men think or say  no  longer  concerns 
 him.  He  overcomes  the love of the world.  He finds 
 no pleasure in things which seem to  bring  happiness 
 to  most  people.   To  him  they  seem  foolish  and 
 unworthy of an immortal being. 
    He loves God's praise more than man's  praise.  He 
 fears  offending  God more that offending man.  It is 
 unimportant to him whether he is blamed  or  praised; 
 his  first  aim  is  to  please  God.  What would the 
 apostle say about you?  Are you born again? 
 Keeping Oneself Pure
 Sixth, John wrote: "He that is begotten of God 
 keepeth himself" (1John 5:18).
    A man who is born again  is  careful  of  his  own 
 soul.  He  tries  not  only  to avoid sin but also to 
 avoid everything which may lead to it.  He is careful 
 about the  company  he  keeps.  He  knows  that  evil 
 communications corrupt the heart an that evil is more 
 catching   than   good,   just  as  disease  is  more 
 infectious than health.  He is careful about the  use 
 of  his  time;  his  chief  desire  is  to  spend  it 
    He desires to live like  a  soldier  in  an  enemy 
 country-  to  wear  his  armor  continually and to be 
 prepared for temptation.  He  is  diligent  to  be  a 
 watchful,   humble,  prayerful  man.   What  you  the 
 apostle say about you?  ARe you born again? 
 The Test
 These are the six great marks of a born again 
    There is  a  vast  difference  in  the  depth  and 
 distinctness  of these marks in different people.  In 
 some they are faint an hardly noticeable.  In  others 
 they are bold,  plain and unmistakable, so anyone may 
 read them.  Some of these marks are more visible than 
 others  in  each  individual.  Seldom are all equally 
 evident in any one person. 
    But still,  after every allowance,  here  we  find 
 boldly  painted  six marks of being born of God.  How 
 should we react to these  things?  We  can  logically 
 come  to only one conclusion- only those who are born 
 again have these six characteristics, an those who do 
 not have these marks are not born again.  This  seems 
 to be the conclusion to which the apostle intended us 
 to come.  Do you have these characteristics?  Are you 
 born again? 
 A Ministry of Mt. Zion Bible Church
 2603 West Wright Street
 Pensacola, Florida 32505-7950 USA
 Telephone (904) 438-6666
       Fax (904) 438-0227


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 Web Author:Michael Stevenson Updated: 12/16/2004 7:04PM