Wednesday, June 19, 2019


     John 3:3 - I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again,                           he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven

               In 1988, while dating my wife, who was a senior in high school, I accompanied her to a school banquet, I was 19.   At our table was a Jewish guy who had informed me he was going to see Stryper that weekend and they were, "pretty good for BACs"  I asked, "what's a BAC?"  He answered, "Born again Christians."  Though there was nothing in my life at the time indicating my profession of faith, I considered myself a "BAC"  so I answered, "We're not all bad."  The kid looked curiously at me and the conversation moved on to other topics.                

      Today, the term born again Christian is pretty common, but what does it really mean to be born again?  What is this term implying?

    Around 1976, thanks in part, to Jimmy Carter, the term Born Again blossomed into the American vernacular.  In his autobiography, then presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter, referred to himself as a Born Again Christian.  Also, in 1976, disgraced White House counsel, Chuck Colson released his autobiography, Born Again.  Suddenly, the term was flying around like a balloon without a knot, except this balloon would not quickly run out of air.  

           Pollsters began polling and discovered one third of America considered itself Born Again, even though the term itself was relatively new.  The problem with the term is it is not exactly well understood by many people, even some who apply it to themselves.

This from Franciscan Monk Christopher Heffron: 

"The term born again seems to be a very popular one among my Christian friends, but when I ask one of them to explain it, I do not get a very clear answer. I suspect this term can easily be misused or misinterpreted."

              I conducted a poll of my own, on Twitter, and found a very small percentage of those considering themselves Christian do not consider themselves Born Again or don't know if they are Born Again.  I was encouraged by the results.  I think most people, if asked to explain being Born Again, would relate how they had a life changing moment with God by placing faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins.  This would be a true assessment, but why did Jesus specifically use the words "unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven"?  

           Jesus was not just spouting off some platitude or parable, He was actually laying down some heavy doctrine with this statement.  Jesus was demonstrating the literal nature of the Genesis account, man's inherent alienation from God and God's remedy for our broken relationship, all in one statement.  

          We are all born in a sinful state, separated from God.  Later in the same conversation, Jesus says, John 3:18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 
     Indicating we start off lost.  If we do not become lost, we must be born lost.  If we are born lost there must be a reason we are born lost.  Therefore, the fall of Adam in Genesis 3 must be true and we must all be genetically descended from Adam, therefore born with a sin nature which separates us from God.  I refer to this as My Deadly Genetic Disorder .  

         None of us choose to be born.  None of us have a say in our physical heritage.  Like it or not, we are all born into Adam.  Only Jesus, born without the benefit of a human father, is exempt from an inherited sin nature.  No matter how good of a guy your dad was, he was the contributing factor in your sin nature.  
         Being born again is literally escaping the ultimate consequence of our sin nature, namely, alienation from God.  As we are reborn by the Spirit of God through the blood of Christ, we are now counted as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.  By being reborn in Christ, we are literally correcting the corruption of our genetic coding. John 1:12  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 

           Being born again goes beyond mere identity, it is a transformation from one thing to another: 2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

           If you consider yourself a Christian yet reject the idea of being born again, you are not rejecting an identity, you are rejecting the very words of the One you claim to follow.  Ironically, there is a growing number of Christ followers who are rejecting the term Christian because of the bad behavior and poor example of many who carry the moniker.  Jesus never told us to become Christians, Jesus did not start a new religion, He called us to be born again into Him, that we might be reconciled to the Father.

        For example, Jews who followed Christ, in the first century church, did not stop being Jews and turn into Christians, Jews who followed Christ in the first century church became born again Jews.  The term Christian originated as a slur for gentile believers who left pagan practice.  

          How does one become born again?  Simply acknowledging Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, understand He fulfilled the Law which we could never accomplish, accepting His death on the cross as payment for our personal sin, understanding the resurrection gives us hope of eternal life with God, and believing Jesus was and is who He said He was.  The Apostle Paul put it best in Romans 10:9-11  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is
Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 

             Are you born again?  If you are, own it, live it, and share it.  If you are not, Jesus said you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Born Again is not a religion, it is a relationship, a parent child relationship between you and God.  Being born again is not the destination, but the beginning of an amazing journey with God.    

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

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