“6-FOLD TEST OF THE NEW BIRTH FROM 1 JOHN”
Many of you no doubt have read or heard of C.T. Studd, outstanding English cricketer, missionary to China, India and Africa – and Founder of “Worldwide Evangelization Crusade” (WEC). His biography was written up by Norman P. Grubb and published by Christian Literature Crusade, a branch of WEC. Studd was up early in Africa for his morning devotions, and from those times came the “5 smooth stones” David selected to kill Goliath. They are all found in John’s first letter. They clearly, inexorably and positively show professing believers whether they have been truly born again of God – or are merely “professors” but not “possessors.” Billy Graham years ago claimed that the vast majority of professing church members are not truly possessors of the Pearl of Great Price. Take this test, with one added 6thpoint, and see how God sees you.
One. 1 John 2:29 NLT – “Since we know that God is always right, we also know that all who DO WHAT IS RIGHT are his children,” i.e. are begotten of Him. The word begotten is used in each of these 6 verses. James says we are begotten by a living word! The Holy Spirit takes the letter of the word we have heard. When we hunger and thirst after God and His righteousness, then the predestinating power of God according to His foreknowledge takes place, and we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness, into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. THIS is the New Birth, and all who experience this translation receive supernaturally a new nature. We become a NEW CREATION (2 Corinthians 5:17). Because we have now become partakers of the divine nature, we too begin to do righteousness just as HE is righteous. Does that make us sinlessly perfect? Of course not! This is where some have fallen astray by an extreme emphasis on “the manifest sons of God.” But it does immediately place the new believer into a different category than he has ever known before. As one new convert testified, “It is better felt than telt!”
Two. 1 John 3:9 – “Those who have been born into God’s family do not sin, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they have been born of God.” Note that habitual sin is broken – and if we as believers confess occasional lapses into sin, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The life of God following the new birth is a continual flow in us on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus. Watch truly born again believers. They are not sinlessly perfect – but a wonderful desire and ability is now in them to live ABOVE habitual sin.
Three. 1 John 4:7 – “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” This is indeed a smooth stone that can kill Goliath! Paul tells us in Romans 5:5 that the now indwelling Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, sheds love (aGApe) abroad in our hearts. It isn’t of us! It is of Him! It is of God. It is the possession of true believers through the new birth. It is not erotic love of lust and natural affection (Eros) – it is the very love and nature of God which NOW indwells us as born again believers. We are either Professors or POSSESSORS. Which are you?
Four. 1 John 5:1 – “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) is a child of God” – i.e. is born or begotten of God. Beware of anyone doubtful about the relation of Jesus to the Father. He is MESSIAH. He is God’s Anointed One! Before Abraham was, Jesus was. He was eternally with the Father, but they with the Holy Spirit are one with each other! If it helps, see that God made us in His image, body (for the Spirit) -- soul (saved by Jesus) – spirit for the Father. But we are ONE. Pinch me, my body, and you pinch ME. So God made us in triune oneness after His image and likeness of oneness. All analogies fall short of fully expressing the wonder of God as ONE. But our HOPE is that at the return of Christ and our body resurrection, we will THEN begin to understand.
Five. 1 John 5:4 – “For every child of God (i.e. – one begotten of God through the New Birth) defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory.” This truth is so wonderful and glorious, that all truly born again cannot help but shout, “Hallelujah!” Greater is He that is IN US, than he (the devil) that is in the world! We are ALWAYS caused to triumph through Him who loved us and gave Himself for us! Christ in us through the New Birth is the believer’s secret of success! We are NOW more than conquerors. Perhaps this is the smooth stone David chose to kill Goliath! Perhaps it is the stone YOU will increasingly use to resist the devil and see him flee from you. But first, remember to submit yourself to God in everything, and in ALL of His word, not just a part!
Six. 1 John 5:18 – “We know that those who have become part of God’s family (i.e. have been begotten of God, are born again) do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them SECURELY, and the evil one cannot get his hands on them.” In a sense this combines two of the above points, but adds a significant dimension – the secure HOLDING POWER of Jesus on our behalf!
It would be good to memorize these six verses. They are indeed six smooth stones for David’s sling to kill the dread giant. But because of these 6 stones – David had no fear of Goliath or his threats. He knew that he would behead Goliath before the day was over. So – be a David. Know these 6 smooth stones. Memorize these verses. Use them as occasion demands. Choose your own translation or version to memorize them in. The New Living Translation is a very accurate thought for thought translation from the Greek. You may be more comfortable with a more literal word for word translation. The point is, choose one that suits you, and then USE these 6 verses under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as occasion presents itself. God use us together like David and C.T. Studd in the effective use of these verse/stones to kill Goliath.
But what if the 6-fold test is positive – and still the candidate chooses to follow the self-life and self choices? Can such a thing happen? If it could, then the candidate would be thumbing his nose against God! For John 1:1 states the “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD! And what is our conclusion? That whatever is clear in the New Testament teaching, because God and this teaching is ONE – the violation of such teaching is actually a violation against God Himself. For the Word is an extension or manifestation of God. When we act upon, or obey the Word, it becomes again a Living Entity – and we have a living relationship with the Living God. The rejection of God’s mandate for us to obey His Word, is then in the light of the above, a thumbing of our nose against Him.
But if the 6-fold test of the New Birth from 1 John is negative, then we can assume that the candidate is a nominal professing believer, but has not yet been born again. Men like Billy Graham have indicated that many denominational church members, who have made a profession faith and been baptized, have yet not been supernaturally born again.
However, if a professing believer is not yet a “possessor,” but belongs to a family line of 3-4 generations who have asked God to honor His promise and covenant – then he is in the same line as Jonathan Edwards. This man along with George Whitefield were leaders in the first Great Awakening in America in the 1730’s to 1740’s. Notice that God promised to bless the descendants of godly believers to the 3rdand 4thgenerations. Edwards took God up on this covenant promise. Years later one of his descendants of the 4thgeneration was judging a court case concerning a man name “Doakes.” A believing Court reporter remembered hearing of the covenant that Judge Edwards’s great grandfather had made with God, and out of curiosity traced his family tree to the 4thgeneration. Out of some 1600 individuals involved, all but 20 were strongly committed Christians. Many of them were doctors, lawyers, bank and university presidents, senators, heads of companies etc. None had cost tax payers money because of criminal acts.
On the other hand, there were some 1400 involved to the 4thgeneration in the Doakes ancestry. The woman involved in the beginning had been an orphan. No one bothered helping her, and she ended up in a life of crime and debauchery. Her descendants followed in this same pattern, many of them costing tax payers much money – all because a failure took place in the beginning, and a little girl failed to receive the help that could have put her on a better track.
For a child growing up in the Edwards tradition – even though for a while he might stray and fail to honor God by loving Him and obeying His Word – yet “The Hound of Heaven” will move to fulfill the faith of the great grandparents.
So – whether a child meets the 6-fold requirement of 1 John at the time – because of his godly training through parents and grandparents, when he is old, he will not depart from it. Sadly however – a temporary lapse may lead to unequal yoking in business or marriage, which will further lead to heartache up ahead when God steps in and answers covenant faith and prayer. It is to spare this unnecessary tragedy that words such as this are written.