Understanding the New Birth Experience by Rodney Howard Browne
For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but
have everlasting life.
Building Your Life on a Firm Foundation
I believe that there needs to be a greater
understanding of the basic truths of the Bible in the Church
today. When foundational truths are burned in our spirit,
there’s no devil in hell, no false doctrine, no deceiver that
can come and sway us away from the purpose, the plan,
and the will of God for our lives.
One of the reasons why people backslide and grow
cold in their Christian experience is because the basic truths
have never been branded inside them. Everywhere we go,
we find people coming to recommit their lives to God.
Belonging to a church does not make you a child of
God just as working in an automobile factory does not
make you an automobile. I don’t care who the person is. I
don’t care how long they’ve been in the church. I don’t
care if they were the founding members of that church.
Just because they belong to a church
does not make them a Christian.
In the United States, people are under a
misconception. They think that America is a Christian
nation. And they think because they’re not a Jew or a
Muslim, they’re a Christian.
I’ve got news for them. Unless you are born again
of the Spirit of God, you’re not a Christian. And the
problem about that is you’re going to split hell wide open.
That’s a bold statement, but it must be said. We must
challenge others concerning the new birth.
The Lord said to me once, Don’t take for granted
that a person is born again even if they wear a bid badge
saying, “Smile, if you love Jesus,” and have a big bumper
sticker on their car and carry a Bible big enough to choke a
donkey and they walk around quoting scripture. Don’t ever
take for granted that they’re born again.
I asked the Lord, “Why are there hundreds of
people coming to the altar at our services? The churches
are filled with thousands of people, but some are the
biggest kooks in the business.” The Lord said to me, Many
of them are not even born again. They’ve never had a new
birth experience. They’ve never come to the foot of the
cross. They’ve stood in the line and said, “Jesus, I confess
You as my Lord and Savior.” But, they’ve never had a
change of heart.
The new birth is not external. Salvation is not mental.
Salvation is of the heart, and when a man comes with
the heart and accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior,
he’s born again. He’s changed. He becomes a new creature
in Christ Jesus. That’s the exciting thing about the new birth.
The scripture 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if
any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are
passed away; behold, all things become new.” Not he
thinks he is, not maybe he is, but he is a new creature. That
literally means a new species of being that has never
existed before. When you’re born again, old things are
Don’t tell me you’re born again and you still live
like you did before you were born again. I will not believe
you. I don’t care if you go to the First Church of Whatever.
I don’t care if your father’s the deacon. I don’t care if
you’re the head elder. I don’t care if you’re on so many
boards that you’re bored. When you are born again, you
are changed. You become new.
People who think they can be born again and live
just the way they always did are fooling themselves. Their
hearts are not right with God, but they have camouflaged it
so well they don’t realize it. They have never come to the
place of repentance.
In fact, there are some people today who think God
Himself a deal because He got them. They think God owed
God didn’t owe us anything. The whole crux of
Christianity is God reached down to a lost and dying world.
He came down to restore man back to what Adam lost in
the Garden of Eden. God came through Jesus Christ to
restore mankind back to their rightful place. But God
didn’t have to do it.
He could have let us all go to hell. But because of
His love extended toward us while we were yet sinners, the
Bible says Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He knew who
Many are coming to church and merely praying a
mental prayer. But saying the right words does not cause
the new birth to take place. Something must happen inside.
There must be a time where you know you crossed the line.
The Bible says we know we have crossed from
death unto life because we love the brethren (First John
3:14). We know. Not we think so, not we hope so, not
maybe so. We know that we passed from death unto life
because we love the brethren. There’s a dividing live we
You were once lost and now you are found. You
were once blind and now you see. You were once in
darkness and now you’re in the light. He took us and
translated us out of the kingdom of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). You
were once in the family of the wicked one; now you’re in
the family of God. There’s a whole transition. It’s like
leaving one country and going to another.
It’s important to recognize this because thousands
merely mentally assent and say, “Yes, I accept Jesus Chris
as my Lord and Savior.” But they go out the door and
continue to live the life of a sinner. It grieves the Spirit of
This is the reason why so many backslide today.
They have never had a true new birth experience. We’ve
made it so easy to become born again. Come and join the
Today being born again is a fashionable thing. Are
you born again? “I’m born again but I tell you what, I’m
going to sue that guy for everything he’s got. I’m born
again, but I’m going to kill that guy.” The Bible says if
you can’t even love your brother whom you can see, how
can you love God who you cannot see (First John 4:20)?
Today in many churches with five to ten thousand
members, there could be as many as 40 percent who are not
born again. They may have come for five or ten years to
those churches, but there has been no change in their lives.
They continue the same old life. They continue to speak
the same language. They work the same crooked deals.
They commit the same sins.
I’m not talking about people who have a moment of
weakness or get tripped up by the devil. I’m talking about
people who habitually sin. The Bible says whoever is born
of God doesn’t sin, meaning that they don’t practice it as a
way of life (First John 3:9). When you practice sin as a
way of life, how can you be born again?
If you sin and you know you’ve done wrong,
immediately you can feel it in your heart. I look at some
people and say, “If they’re born again, how do they sleep at
night?” I couldn’t sleep at night if I were doing the things
they are doing.
It’s frightening to think that there could be as many
as 40 percent, and in some churches as high as 80 percent,
who are not born again. They dress up in a suit on Sunday,
carry a Bible big enough to choke a donkey, go to church,
sing hymns and put in an offering, yet they’re not born
again. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
And the worst thing is to think that because you
grew up in a Christian family and your father was a
preacher and you’ve gone to church all of your life, you’re
automatically born again. There are some young people
who grew up in the church but they’ve never had a new
I was born again at the age of 5. I went to the altar
and made a commitment, but I had several experiences
between the time I was 5 and the time I was 18 years old.
At that time, I had an encounter with God so that I knew
without a shadow of a doubt I was born again.
I remember one night having a dream. I don’t talk
about this much, but it is (refreshed) in my memory every
now and then. I was about 13 years of age and I remember
I had a dream in which I saw Jesus.
We used to have little tracts with a picture of
millions of people going over a cliff and falling into the
flames of hell. There was a road going up on the side and
the cross. This left an impression on me. I’d always
picture myself going up that road.
The Bible says, “Broad is the way, that leadeth to
destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:13, 14). There are 260
million people in the United States and they estimate –
these are figures put out by religious orga nizations – that 60
million are born again. That means that 200 million people
in the United States do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and
Savior. This country – the United States of America – is
one of the greatest overlooked mission fields on the face of
God’s green earth.
I remember as a child looking at that tract. In my
dream, I was standing right there and I saw the millions of
people going over into the flames. I remember crying – I
don’t know how long it was. It seemed like two and half
hours. But I woke up and my pillow was soaking wet.
Jesus was standing right there. I can’t remember
what He looked like, but I knew it was Jesus because I was
talking with Him. I said, “O Jesus, what can we do? There
are millions of people going to a lost eternity,” I heard Him
say, “You must tell them. You must tell them. You must
I woke up and the next day when I went outside,
everything was new. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
I began to witness then even more to the kids at my school.
I began to tell them about the Lord Jesus and about His
It was from this experience that I knew it wasn’t
just something that my father had, or my mother had, or my
uncle had. I knew it was something I had. The new birth
was real to me. Jesus was real to me and I wanted Him to
become real to other people. When God gives you that,
something will arise on the inside of you that will cause
you to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There’s something that will cause you to leave
everything you have – to forsake houses and lands, to leave
a job, and turn your back on everything else when you
know about the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That something, that truth burned deep into your heart, will
cause you to go through blizzards, earthquakes, famines,
and wars to obey the call of God. You’ll not quit until you
see what God has called you to do.
If things don’t go right in the ministry of some
people, they quit. They say, “I’m quitting. I’m leaving the
I’m so glad when Jesus hung on the cross He didn’t
say, “I’m quitting.” I’m so glad in the Garden of
Gethsemane He didn’t say, “That’s it, Father. Enough is
enough.” The Bible says He could have called 10,000
angels to rescue Him away, but I’m so glad He didn’t. He
looked down through the eons of time and He saw you and
me. He said, “I will pay the price. I will buy them back. I
will shed My blood for their redemption.”
The scripture 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He hath
made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might
be made the righteousness of God in him.” Jesus became
sin for you and me because we were sinners. He became
sin for you and me because we were sinners. He became
sin that you and I could be born again into the family of
Someone asked me, “Brother Rodney, what must I
do to come to God? Must I change my life first and then
come to Him?” No! You come as you are. God wants you
as you are. God specializes in taking us “as is.”
Have you ever seen cars advertised “as is”? God
said, “Give me that sinner there, ‘as is,’ and watch what I
will do.” He’ll take a prostitute, a drug addict, a
homosexual, a down-and-out criminal who is full of sin and
He will transform that person in a moment, in the twinkling
of an eye. He will change them and He will put their feet
on higher ground. He will wash them in the blood of Jesus.
He will cleanse them and they’ll be like a brand new little
baby that has just been born.
That’s what the new birth is. God wants to restore
back to the Church the joy of their salvation. Some
Christians have forgotten why they were saved. They’ve
forgotten that they were saved. If you looked at some
Christians, you couldn’t even tell they were born again.
“Well I’m saved, Brother Rodney.” Saved from what?
God wants to restore you. I pray that you get a fresh
revelation of the new birth.