Today: 02 September 2014
 
 

  

New birth  


With God, everyone can have a
fresh start.

A religious leader (we presume he was an adult) came to Jesus one night, and as they talked Jesus said, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

That immediately brought a response from his visitor, saying, “How can a man be born when he is old—can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb?”

Jesus replied, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”

One thing we all have in common is that we’ve all been born: conception eventually resulted in birth. With love, care and feeding we begin to grow—and the more we grow, the more feeding we need.

Physical birth brings us into the realm of this material world; if we are to enter God’s spiritual world, his kingdom, then we need a new kind of birth. The man with Jesus continued to ask how such a thing was possible, and Jesus told him that this new birth was the result of God’s Spirit working in a person’s life. Whilst it is essential to enter God’s kingdom, this is something we cannot do for ourselves—any more than we can give birth to ourselves! To emphasise this, Jesus pointed his visitor to the wind; the wind can be heard and felt, but it cannot be seen. You can only see the evidence of the wind, not the wind itself.

When the Spirit of God begins to move in our lives, we begin to recognise our sinfulness, and we don’t just pass it off as human failing. We begin to realise that our nature is badly flawed, and needs to be changed. If we try to improve ourselves, we may succeed for a short time but we soon find those old failures recurring. It was for this reason that Jesus came into the world, suffered, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Through his sacrifice he dealt with our flawed nature, and when we turn from our wrong-doing and ask him to forgive us, the seed of new life is planted in our lives—we are given a new life.

If a child doesn’t show signs of growth in their early years, we ask for medical advice to find out what’s wrong. We see growth as a positive sign that all is well with their development. So it is with the Christian: when we are born again we seek spiritual growth through the Bible, reading about the life and works of Jesus.

A new-born baby finds comfort and security in their family; the new-born Christian similarly seeks the friendship and support of other Christians. A baby begins to exercise its muscles, while a new Christian begins to exercise their new-born faith by serving others and sharing their beliefs.

The expression ‘born-again Christian’ has become hackneyed, yet in reality there is no other kind of Christian. Just as Jesus said, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


Explore this subject in more depth

Pray: Jesus, it seems like a very simple action on my part to start all over again—with you, this time. The reason it's easy for me is because you already did all the hard work: on the cross. Thank you so much for that. Amen.

Watch the video clip Metamorphosis

Visit the BBC website for the stories of why some people decided to be born again

Read the testimonies of people who were born again

Double-check what it takes to be born again

Read the book How to be Born Again by Billy Graham

Read the book The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make: A Complete and Thorough Understanding of What It Means to Be Born Again by Joyce Meyer

Read the book Born Again by Charles W Colson (he of the Watergate scandal - amid the scandal and disgrace, he was born again)

 

 


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