Saturday, September 19, 2015

Born Again

The Bible tells us that we can be born again.  We find this truth in the story of Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night. Jesus told him, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus was as religious as anyone in Jerusalem, but he needed a complete conversion, a new birth.  Being born again is not what we do. Being born again is when we quit trying and begin trusting Jesus.

What jobs do you give newborns? Why don’t we give them jobs? We don’t ask them to work, we love them, feed them, take care of them. We will in time give them jobs to do, but only after we have watched them grow, as we have taught them.  That is what Jesus is talking about when he says that we must be born again.

To become a part of God’s Kingdom you must be born again.  You must receive God’s kingdom as an infant.  Babies don’t have preconceived ideas.  They don’t think that they know it all and can run their own lives.

Our first birth gives us a family name, a genetic inheritance, nationality, ethnicity.  When we are born again, none of this changes. We have the same family of origin. We still take pride in our ethnic or national heritage. These elements of our identity from our birth are treasures. Being born again does not erase them. Being born again puts them in their proper place. All of these identities become subordinate to our supreme identity as children of God.

Because we have been born again we recognize all of the rest of God's children as our brothers and sisters.  They are part of our family. We are part of their family. We see them as the dearly-loved children of God.  We will not do anything to disparage our brothers and sisters.

Being born again imposes obligations. We have joined a new family and this new family has a distinctive culture.  1 Peter 3:8 tells us, "Live in harmony with one another.  Be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion and be humble".

As born again Christians, people adopted into the family of God, we are called to form a new kind of community where people show each another the same grace we have received from God.  "You must be born again", John 3:7.

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