John 3:3 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born again of God.
HBC has just come to the end a series on why we need to be born again. I’ve really enjoyed it as I haven’t heard it spoken of much in Baptist churches these days. However given Jesus said to enter the kingdom of God we must be born again, indicates that it’s crucial to understand what being born again means and why it’s so important.
To be born again, means to be ‘born spiritually’. We are all born spiritually dead and separated from God as a result of our inherited sinful nature. In that state we cannot enter into God’s presence because He is holy and righteous, mutually exclusive to even a hint of sin. Also because we are spiritually dead from birth, we can not attain spiritual life by our own means. As a baby can’t give birth to itself, so too a Christian can’t give birth to one’s own spiritual self. Our spiritual birth is from God alone. Also just as a baby has no say in being born, we have no say in being born again spiritually as it’s a work God alone does. A baby can’t give birth to itself.
But aren’t we saved by faith in Christ? Don’t we have to choose to accept Christ?
Yes we do, as the Scriptures clearly teach this. We are saved and justified by faith alone (Rom 3:22-24). Faith and being born again are synonymous with each other; they go hand in hand. Faith is like the cry of a newborn baby. The baby is born and by nature they start to cry. As God grants us spiritual birth, we naturally choose to have faith in Him. 1 John 5:1 says everyone who believes in God has been born again. Being born again or ‘regeneration’ precedes faith (1 John 2:29, Eph 2:5). Although this is seen by many as violating human rights as they feel it’s completely up to the person to choose, the simple fact is without God regenerating us within, we have no capacity to have faith in Him as a result of our sinful depravity (Eph 2:1-3). It’s void of our nature to choose Him if left to our own means. Faith involves us choosing to accept God, but it’s as if God needs to open our heart and eyes for us to see our need for Him and accept Him gladly. It’s God who gives spiritual birth to Christians, and faith in Him is what springs out of it. Faith and our choice to follow God is the first external evidence of the work God has done within by transforming our heart. That’s what it means to being born again.
Realising this changes a number of aspects to our paradigm or how Christians are to look at themselves as children of God. I was going to write those in this blog, but I might leave that for my next blog as there is already much to digest, and more then likely to discuss.