The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are born again into the family of God by faith in Him as the One who died for our sins (a claim that is supposed to be understood as effectually and completely dealing with the barrier that exists between us and God) and rose again (a fact of history according to the canons of truth as a result of historical inquiry that is designed to validate all of His other claims).
This raises the question of what the central issue is to the new birth experience. (073) I would like, even at the expense of flogging a dead horse, to address this again from a slightly different perspective.
We also claimed that we are not born again by actions we take, or that are taken by our parents in our behalf--thus eliminating all birth-by-baptism claims. The reason for this is that faith is personal and not mechanical. In other words, the new birth occurs at a relational level, not a technical level. God isn't looking for folks who simply want to escape Hell by doing, or submitting to, some ritual act. He is looking for folks who want a different kind of life--one that includes Him. This is only possible at a relationship level. God will never be satisfied with the person who claims to be born again and then spends most of his conversation time cursing and using His name in vain. The issue of a new birth is that of entrance into a new family with a new, and real, Father. Thus, the new birth doesn't occur at the point of technical obedience to some rule.
Therefore, salvation is by faith--precisely because the faith of the Bible can only be legitimately exercised in a personal response to promises which God has made. Thus, God has to be real to the person who is exercising faith--because the promises are not cosmic realities borne of a mechanistic evolution. And, God has to be personal to the person exercising faith--because He becomes Father by that exercise. And, God has to be trustworthy to the person exercising faith--we do not trust people who are not trustworthy.
So, trustworthiness stems from our understanding of the Bible as God's Word--as we see its truth undiminished by all of the nay-sayers who have no relationship with Him--and faith comes when we are brought to a face-to-face encounter with God as Person and Maker of Promises.
Thus, the bottom line in regard to salvation is that it is not church-based, family-based, economically-based, environmentally-based, or culturally-based: it is Truth based. The truth is as the Scriptures declare: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God..." (1 John 5:1); "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" (John 3:16); "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:11-12).
Do you really have a personal relationship with God as Father through faith in Jesus' death and resurrection?