In another article (058) we note Jesus' teaching on how He plans to get the world ready for the establishment of His Kingdom. He told a deeply religious man that no one could see or enter His Kingdom unless he had been born again (John 3). (060) He also told His disciples that when He came back to this earth, He would suddenly take all the unbelieving out of this world and send them off into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. He said that at that time, "...shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:40-42; KJV). So a time of great destruction at the hand of the Lord is predicted to come: every single individual on the planet in that day, who does not have a personal experience of new birth, will be suddenly zapped! into destruction.
That raises the critical question of how a person gets to be born again. I had a counseling session one time in which a person told me that she believed the Bible, but she didn't believe in being born again. The truth was she didn't believe the Bible OR in being born again--because the Bible is where the concept is taught. I sat in on another situation in which I was told that a baby was born again because its parents subjected it to its church's baptism. This, too, is totally contrary to the teaching of the Bible--though many supposedly Bible-based religions today propagate its falsehood with a straight face. One such religious instructor actually admitted that infant rebirth through water baptism wasn't taught in the Bible, but he did it because it was his church's traditional teaching. More religious people are going to end up in Hell on the foundations of tradition than probably any other single factor.
This makes the issue of the New Birth even more critical. If heaven and hell and participation in the Kingdom of Christ or the Kingdom of Darkness are really at stake, there can be no greater issue before us than the question: How can I be born again?
Interestingly, when that question is raised, no one seems to want to go to the places in the Bible where it was addressed in order to find the answers. Some, like the lady in the counseling session, frankly reject the necessity--not knowing that it was Jesus Christ Himself who established it as a necessity. Others, like the religious promoter, are content to believe the myth that God accepts people on the basis of their church traditions and dogmas--in spite of the fact that Jesus Himself, when He came the first time, categorically rejected everyone in His generation who was putting their confidence in their religious traditions. He rejected all of the major religious leaders and all of the minor religious followers if they were not born again.
Therefore, the ultimate issue in this new birth debate is: what did Jesus say about how this was to come about? It is not a matter of what one church says, or what another one says. It is fundamentally a question of what Jesus said about it. Do you know what Jesus said about being born again?