No one can be saved unless he's born again by the power of God's Spirit. Christ says, Ye must be born again. (John 3:7 KJV)
There are many false ways today of becoming so called "born again", but nothing will take the place of the true new birth.
Baptism won't take the place of the new birth. Confirmation won't take the place of the new birth. Simon Magus was baptized (Acts 8:13), but when Peter and John perceived his character, Peter said unto him, Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God...For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity - 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 won't take the place of the new birth.
A great many people are saying: "I believe in the Apostles Creed; I believe in the Athanasian Creed; I believe in the Nicene Creed; I say the catechism; I'm orthodox; I hold right views about the Bible, right views about the atonement." You can be orthodox upon every doctrine, and be lost forever.
Culture and refinement and outward correctness of life won't take the place of the new birth. The trouble isn't merely with our outward life: the trouble is in the heart, in the very deepest depths of our inward life, and merely to reform your outward life will not save you.
Suppose I had a rotten apple. I could take that apple to an artist, have him put a coating of wax on it, and then paint it until 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 a bite into decay. The trouble is that out of Christ you're wrong in heart, and mere culture, mere morality is simply a coating of wax on the outside painted up.
You must be changed down to the deepest depths of your being. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3 KJV)
Are you born again?
Now I think a good many people will say, "No. I'm not. Can you tell me what I must do first to be born again?"
I can. Our Lord Jesus Christ preached: ... repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15) Repentance is turning from sin to God. When you've truly turned away from all sin you'll not be doing it any more.
The gospel message has power in it to transform your life! We are born again by God's Holy Spirit, through His word, the moment we receive Christ. As many as received Him, to them gave He pwer to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. (John 1:12 KJV)
When you take Christ into your heart He transforms you through and through in a moment. I care not how worldly you are, I care not how sinful you are, I care not how hard you are - any one today who will throw his heart open and let Jesus come in to rule and reign, God will make that one a new creature in a moment.