The first basic element for living in God’s family is to grow in your acquaintance with our heavenly Father. You accomplish this through conversation with him. In the Bible, Paul the apostle described this kind of friendship: “When I think of the wisdom and scope of his [God’s] plan I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God” (Ephesians 3:14-15).
by Jack Hayford, author of Newborn
You’re the reason this little book was written, to welcome you into the family of God. So, welcome! Because you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, a new relationship with God and with his family is now open to you. And as a newborn family member, I want to tell you about us—that is you and me—all of us who have become members of the family.
When we refer to people who’ve accepted Christ as their Lord as family, we aren’t being either sentimental
or exclusive. In this case, “family” is more than just a figure of speech—it’s an expression taken from the Bible. It is how the Word of God describes those of us who have been “born again” into God’s family:
Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian. (Ephesians 2:19)
And so I’m welcoming you to new relationships. Through this booklet, I hope to help acquaint you with the dimensions, values, meanings, and possibilities that are open to you as a “newborn” member of God’s family. So, welcome to the family of God, where you will discover both a new quantity of life—eternal life— and new qualities of life.
What Jesus Brings to Your Life
Regardless of our individual stories, we all share in the common experience of sin. When we sin, we miss a mark or fall short of a goal or standard. And sin shows up in all of us, at our best and at our worst. At best, our lives are finite and limited, cluttered with failure and the underlying feeling that life is not all that it should be. Few people seem
to taste of what God really intended us to know in terms of life’s purpose and fulfillment.
At worst, we spend too much time in pursuit of blurred or deceptive goals, resulting in disappointment, sin,
and personal bondage. In either case, sin and its consequences afflict every one of us. But God’s Son, Jesus Christ, stepped into this human dilemma telling us that he came to open up life in all of its abundance and meaning: “My
purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10). This abundant, full life Christ offers us has a double dimension.
First, it addresses the endless future. It brings the hope of an eternal, unlimited experience in the fullness of God’s joy. The Bible describes heaven as a “prepared place,” promising us that God will ultimately gather us, his family, there. On the basis of Christ’s promise in John 14:2-3, we know we will be in heaven forever with our Lord (see also
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Second, it addresses the present. We are given the promise of abundant life here and now. Some people mistakenly think that life with Christ will only take place in heaven and that this present life is just something to be endured. Their false assumptions cause them to offer the philosophical advice to “Cheer up! Slog on through life as best
you can. Someday in heaven, it’ll all be better.” I want you to know, Newborn, that while our “someday” in heaven will be great, we are also promised a great life right now! If we follow Christ’s instructions to live daily with him, then we will discover the triumph and joy there is in being a part of God’s family, today.
What It Means to be Newborn
Being newborn, or “born again,” means that your inner spirit has been brought into a new relationship with God through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. When God first designed you, he intended you to be in close fellowship and friendship with him. But when you fell into disobedience and sin, as all of us have done, the contact with God was broken. You should not condemn yourself for your failure, but you do need to be honest and acknowledge the truth of Romans 3:12, 17, 23:
“Everyone has turned away; all have gone wrong. No one anywhere has kept on doing what is right; not one . . . and they have never known what it is to feel secure or enjoy God’s blessing. . . . Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal.”
Simply stated, God’s Word is saying that none of us lives up to what God created us to be. When we understand and acknowledge that fact, we are ready to respond to the reason Jesus came. Christ’s redemptive life, death, and resurrection were specifically provided so that we could return to the Father’s original plans for us—plans
that had us in vital, restoring, creative touch with him. Now that you’ve decided to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, your relationship with God is established. The moment you made that decision and believed in and committed your life to Christ, God accomplished several things for you:
1. Redemption: You are forgiven of sin.
“So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved” (Ephesians 1:7).
2. Cleansing: You are washed from your sin.
“He saved us—not because we were good enough to be saved, but because of his kindness and pity—by washing away 0ur sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
3. Regeneration: You are born anew.
“Jesus replied, ‘What I am telling you so earnestly is this: Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God’” (John 3:5).
4. Justification: You have peace with God.
“So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1).
5. Adoption: You become one of God’s children.
“And so we should not be like cringing, fearful slaves, but we should behave like God’s very own children, adopted into the bosom of his family, and calling to him, ‘Father, Father’” (Romans 8:15).
6. Acceptance: You are received by the Father.
“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to! Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us, because we belong to his dearly loved Son” (Ephesians 1:5-6).
7. Eternal Life: You have an endless hope.
“I say emphatically that anyone who listens to my message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life, and will never be damned for his sins, but has already passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).
All these things are yours now, for you have received Jesus Christ, acknowledging him as God’s Son who died on the cross for our sins and who has risen from the dead. These are the beginnings of the blessings included in the gift of salvation. They comprise what it basically means when we use the expression “I’m saved!” So now that you are beginning your new life through Christ, you will find God’s Holy Spirit continually helping you increase your understanding of your new Father and family. The Spirit will widen your viewpoint on the greatness of our
heavenly Father’s love and grace.
It was through the Holy Spirit that God first spoke to your heart and called you to life with him. When you responded, you said in essence, “I want the Lord Jesus Christ in my life. I want to know God’s love and forgiveness.” This decision was the first step that you and millions of others have taken, a step of faith into a family of brothers and sisters who have come to know the heavenly Father in a personal, powerful way. And, since you are being introduced to a new family, I thought it might be helpful for you to learn some of the household principles, some of the ways we in the family of God live “around the house.”
You can use this booklet as a basic guide into a whole new dimension of life where the goals are growth in Christ and further discovery of the kind of life we share in the family of God. And, you can use it as a pointer to God’s Word, for it is his Word that opens new dimensions of meaning and heights of purpose in life, all of which you were given the right to explore when you received Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
Newborn: Your New Life with Christ by Jack Hayford
Welcome to the family of God.
As a new believer, you are embarking on a new life, with new relationships and values. It’s a thrilling journey. But what does it really mean to be born again into new life with Christ?
In Newborn, Pastor Jack Hayford outlines the basic elements in a growing life with Jesus. He discusses:
-Your relationship to God
-How to let the Bible help you
-Types of baptisms
-Spending time with other believers
Hayford’s valuable insights and experiences will help anyone who is a new member of God’s family to gain a clearer understanding of the reality of life with—and in—the Lord!
Includes the full Gospel of John!