Nothing will take the place of new birth. Baptism will not take the place of the new birth. Confirmation will not take the place of new birth. Simon Magus was baptized (Acts 8:13), but when Peter and John perceived his character, Peter said to him, "You have no part in this ministry because your heart is not right before God. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin." -- A baptized, lost sinner.
No performance of religious rites will take the place of the new birth. A great many people are depending upon the fact that they say their prayers, read their Bibles, go to church, partake of the sacrament, and perform other duties; but all that will not take the place of new birth. You can be orthodox upon every doctrine also and yet be lost forever.
Culture and refinement and outward correctness of life will not take the place of new birth. The trouble is not merely with our outward life: the trouble is in our heart, in the very deepest depths of our inward life, and merely to reform our outward life will not save us.
Suppose you had a rotten apple. You could take that apple to an artist, have him put a coat of wax on it, and then paint it till it was the most beautiful looking apple you ever saw; but it would be just as rotten at heart as ever, and one bite into it would be decay. The trouble is that without Christ, you are wrong in heart. Mere culture, mere refinement, mere respectability, mere morality, is simply a painted coating of wax on the outside. You must be changed, down to the deepest depths of your being. I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3.
Are you born again? Jesus Christ preached, "Repent and believe the good news." Mark 1:15. Repentance is turning from sin to God. The gospel message has power in it to transform your life.
John 1:12 reads, "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." We are born again by God's Holy Spirit, through His Word, the moment we receive Christ. When you take Christ into your heart He transforms you in a moment. It doesn't matter how worldly you are, how sinful you are, how hard you are -- any one today who will throw his heart open and let Jesus come in to rule and reign, will be made a new creature in a moment by God Himself. "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:12.
Take the Next Step
Are you ready to receive Christ into your heart?
No matter what you have done, Jesus wants to make you a new person. All you have to do is ask him. Right now, in your own words, ask God to forgive you for all of the bad things you have done in your life. This is called confessing your sins. Then ask Jesus to become the leader of your life, to make you a new person and to guide and shape you from this moment on. Finally, thank God for loving you enough to not give up on you, but to make your salvation possible through his son, Jesus Christ. It's that easy!