Sunday, 28 October 2012

Episode 23: I'm Christian but am I born again?

    Hey guys! I haven't posted since forever and I'm starting exams two days after the writing of this post so I really shouldn't be posting now. I've been putting off any articles I wanted to write because I've been busy with basketball and school work so that I had to take a break from programming (and project monkey) but I can't put this topic off any longer. I've had this discussion often recently so I'm writing this for Christians that do believe in the Bible but can't give you an answer they are sure of when you ask "What does it mean to be born-again?".

Sorry, I noticed most mobile devices can't display this short comic     
    John 3:3 - "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God". So what does that mean? I will explain it all in my own words, but in order to avoid denominational arguments and debates, first lets see it in God's words. As I said earlier, I'm not writing this to convince anyone to become a Christian, I'm writing it for Christians who already believe that Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6)" yet aren't sure what it means to be born-again. So I'll just rapid fire scriptures that explicitly explain it. See the meanings yourself before I even state them in my own words.

  • "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)  
  • "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) 
  • "...and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:37 - 38)
  • "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:14-15)
  • "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1:12) 
  • "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..." (Romans 8:17)
  • "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) 
             Is it starting to make sense? I arranged the scriptures in what I hope is a logical flow and I underlined keywords that should drive the point home. To be born again is simply to officially and explicitly accept God's free gift of salvation! Think of it as adoption. The adopted child legally has all the same rights and privileges as the direct child (Jesus). Now just because you live with a guardian and call him "daddy" doesn't make you his adopted child. You have to sign the papers. Just because you grew up in a christian home, obey the ten commandments and go to church doesn't make you a child of God. You have to pray the prayer of agreement.
           How many Christians can't tell you exactly WHEN they became born-again? That's like not having an idea when you were born. 
When's your spiritual birthday?
        It's really simple and you have already taken the first three steps. You already admit that you're a sinner and you are willing to repent. You already believe that Jesus died and, more importantly, rose again for you. But then you stopped there and subconsciously assumed that praying, going to church and obeying the rules was all you needed. "I'm not your dad, we never signed the adoption papers!" I can hear God say. Take the final step and invite Jesus into your heart through prayer to be your Lord and personal savior. Tell him outright that you admit you're a sinner, you believe he died and rose again and you officially accept his free gift of salvation which he painfully bought for you with his own blood. THEN will your name be written in the book of life!
         Jesus even said in Revelations 3:5 that to him that overcomes, "...I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my father...". Don't underestimate the power of the spoken word! Jesus will also confess, or in other words, explicitly say it out loud that you are his!
    Bet you've heard this one a million times. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:7). This reminds me of Ezekiel 36:
"26 A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them."

       Does the Bible even use the phrase "Born-Again"?
       Yes, only thrice. Twice in John chapter 3 when Jesus and Nicodemus discussed the topic and once in 1 Peter 1:23. Funny enough, even the phrase "book of life" though mentioned numerous times in the book of Revelations (written by the same John) was only mentioned in one other instance (by Paul in Phillipians 4:3). John's Gospel was written in Greek, and the Greek word translated as again is ανωΘεν (anothen), which could mean again, or from above. Clearly, the Bible didn't place so much emphasis on the words or phrases, but on the actual actions of believing and then confessing with one's mouth.
       So let's not drag this on. If you haven't outright done it, you know what you have to do. It's simple so get your name written in the book of life!

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