Monday Morning Encouragement - Born Again
Greetings Cottage Friends,
Back when I owned a consignment shop, I carried a collection of signs created by a local artisan. Many of them had Biblical messages. One day a couple came into my shop, and when they saw the faith-related merchandise I carried they asked, "Are you a Christian?"
"Yes," I answered.
"A born-again Christian?" they asked.
I answered "Yes."
After they left I thought about our exchange. In actuality there is no such thing as a Christian who is not born again. If you're not born again, you're not truly a Christian. I didn't make this up. Jesus said it Himself: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?' Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’"
When a person is born again in the spirit, his old self dies and his new self lives. It's a spiritual rebirth. "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:4-11)
This truth is one that we hear very little about in our culture today, and it seems that some churches are writing their own form of the Bible. No repentance required, no turning from sin and turning toward God. In fact, many of the actions God calls sin are no longer seen that way in our culture and it has spilled over into our churches. I'm not here to point fingers or judge unbelievers. That's God's job. But I do feel called to present the truth of God's word, and if that offends anyone they can take it up with the Lord.
Jesus said, "Don't be amazed that I said to you 'You must be born again.'" He said it. I believe it. That settles it. We must be born again to be a Christian.
I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have left comments about how Monday Morning Encouragement has encouraged you. It's my heartfelt desire to share God's word with you and let it transform all of our lives. As Romans 12:2 instructs us:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Kim Hill's song Renew My Mind expresses this principle beautifully. Enjoy.
I love you, I'm thinking of you, and I'm praying for you.