1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Without any question, being born again is the most important issue in life. Being “born again” has nothing to do with baptism. It has nothing to do with church or joining a church. Being “born again” is an experience anyone may have who will read and believe the Bible for themselves.
November 7, 1953 marks the date when I was born again. That sounds like a long time ago, but I remember it just like it was yesterday. I had won a Bible quiz contest in the MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) youth group about two or so weeks before. Because I was the local youth group winner, I was to represent my youth group in the final contest of all the local winners about two or three weeks later. How that happened I do not know. I’ve said from then until now that the Lord must have had the smart young people stay home the day of the local church Bible quiz just so I could win. I was very new to reading the Bible for myself, even though I had attended Sunday school at Highland Park Baptist Church in Detroit since my parents carried me there as an infant. Because I was to prepare for winning the final contest I began reading the New Testament even more earnestly.
The final quiz was to be held on Saturday evening, November 7, 1953 at the Detroit Institute of Arts auditorium during the monthly Holiness Youth Crusade rally. The winner would receive a Bulova watch.
In August of 1953 during a visit to my grandparents’ home in North Dakota my younger brother found a nice small New Testament. He gave it to me at my request, and I began to read it avidly. I was repeatedly being embarrassed in Sunday school when it came to my turn to answer questions about the Bible. That August, I figured I could read the New Testament through a couple of times before school started to be better prepared for Sunday school class. That is how I got started reading the New Testament for myself.
On Saturday morning, November 7, 1953, while delivering papers for my Detroit Shopping News paper route, I began to think about what I had been reading in the New Testament. I realized that I had never made a commitment to Christ, or come to Him in prayer for salvation. I stopped right there on Lumpkin Street in Detroit as I folded the next newspaper for delivery, and prayed to receive Christ as my Savior. As I continued to the next houses on my route I whistled the tune of the Gospel song, “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.” I knew then, as I still do now, that I have eternal life (John 5:24).
I did not win the watch. But I experienced something far more important that day that counts for eternity.
I suppose everyone who has come to genuine faith in Jesus Christ will have a different and unique story to tell about the experience. It is likely that there are many who cannot recall the exact date or even the specific time in their life when they received Christ as their Savior, but they know that they have done so.
The most important issue is to be sure that you have experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ in your life. If that has not yet happened to you, I trust my description of how it happened to me will encourage you to begin to read the New Testament afresh and that you will read it over and over again until this experience becomes yours.