Essentials for New Believers Part 1
I remember the day we brought Rebecca home from the hospital. While it felt completely natural to hold our daughter in my arms, I was a little overwhelmed; a lot of parenting is pretty much learned “on the job”. No matter how many books you read, blogs you follow, or advice you get from others when a arrives, you just have to dive in, even if you realize that you’re over your head. And in retrospect, Imagine how the newborn feels. They have been suddenly interrupted from a warm, cozy atmosphere, where all their needs were being met, given to sleeping most of the day away. Now, they have been suddenly ejected into the bright lights of a delivery room, with what probably feels like an icebox. Their lungs fill with air for the first time, as they cry for the first time. Welcome to a new world that they have to adjust to.
The analogy is akin to what happens when a person comes to Christ and Salvation. In an instant, they have been given new life. Now they need to be nurtured and encouraged by those that are spiritually mature. They will be schooled in a new way to think and act, and how to respond to their thoughts, feelings, and desires. And once they have been baptized, the Holy Spirit will take up residence in their hearts and lead them in truth. Having a qualified mentor to walk alongside them, will enhance their spiritual journey until they persevere into maturity.
Yes… there are some basics of the Christian Faith, that a new Believer should come to understand, hopefully within the first year of their new life in Christ: New Christians need to be assured of their Salvation. 1 John 5: 11 teaches… ‘And the testimony is that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son Jesus. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son-of-God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life; (fairly straightforward). And even with John’s assurances, many Christians spend years wrestling with gaining the confidence they need to underpin their salvation? This is a basic issue that must be resolved before spiritual growth can take place in a Christian’s life.
Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, human beings respond to God through our intellect, our emotions, and our personal will. Once presented with the gospel, the Spirit of God enlightens our mind and our heart, to understand Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, along with our lost and sinful state. It is only when we surrender to Christ thru God’s Holy Spirit, that we can receive forgiveness of our sins and Salvation. John 4: 24 says… ‘God is Spirit and is not like man’. New Believes need to grasp this truth. It is only through the reading and absorbing of God’s Word, will we discover the unique and immutable attributes of God’s character. Then we can begin to worship Him for who He truly is; a perfect and Holy God. If we do not believe that He is sovereign and all-powerful, we will wind up spending our lives in fear and worry.
Beginning our new life in Christ, begins with the discovery of who God and Christ are; this is the key to our future growth in the faith. 2 Timothy 3: 16, instructs us... ‘all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequately equipped for every good work.’ Without a firm belief in God’s authority, our ability to understand the Bible is not something that will ever happen by itself. The desire to understand more and more about the truths contained within Scripture provides a Believer the confidence they need to live a full and blessed life.
The Bible is far more than just a history book, with rules, commandments, and instruction. It is the written Revelation of God Himself. Consider for a moment its contents; 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament; penned by 40 authors under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, over a period of 1,500 years; and having been preserved for 2,000 years. So, it is essential that a new believer develops the habit of reading, meditating, and absorbing this document for living successfully, and applying its principles to every aspect of their lives. Now due to the volume of information still to share on this topic, we shall continue with the second installment when we meet on our next blog.