Gennao Anothen (John 3)

What does it mean to be born again?  Nicodemus, a teacher and leader amongst the Jews, couldn’t understand it.  Many today seem not to understand it.

We know from Romans 6 that it happens at baptism.  It’s clear that it is the beginning of a new way of life.  Completely new.  Jesus tells us in this passage that it is a thing of the spirit.  He goes on to talk about the necessity of believing in Him, even though men love the darkness.  He says that when we live in the truth we come into the light so that it may be plain to see that what we’ve done is only by God.

I find that I must pause and really consider if this describes me.  In so many ways people can point to my life and say “Look, it’s still the same old Cris.  He does as he pleases.”  In so many ways I fail to live anew.  Sometimes I fool myself by taking pride in the good works I’ve done.  Sometimes by emphasizing to myself that I have been baptised just like He told me to be.  But I must remember that it is His blood that makes those things of any worth.  And the application of that blood always begins with the truth of my sin.  Without Christ they are empty and in vain.

But I must believe that God will continue the good work He has started in me, and that He’ll see me through all the way.  I must believe that because the Bible says it.  And when I do take time to pause and look at my life, I find it is plain that God has done some amazing things in me.  It’s even plainer that it was only through God that I was able to do those things.  One doesn’t need to know too much about me, or anybody else for that matter, to see the need for God.  And when one accepts God, truly accepts Him and is born again, it will be plain that what they’ve done is through God.

So look at your own life, I ask you, and see if it is plain that God has worked through you.  Remember not to get proud, because if it is indeed plain that God has worked through you then you have nothing to boast about… Only God does. 

Is it plain that through God, and not through yourself, that you are Gennao Anothen?

Here’s a couple of videos from Andrew Peterson.  Watch them as you consider whether you are truly a new creation…

 

 

Taken too lightly (John 3)

Reading over John 3, where Nicodemus speaks with Jesus, it’s almost comical to see the lack of understanding that Nicodemus had.  Jesus said a man must be born again and Nicodemus, a teacher, responds with “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born again!”  And then after Jesus explains it, he again asks “How?”

This idea, as well as many many others in Scripture, seem so easy to interpret.  But we also have a couple thousand years of study to work with.  Nicodemus was hearing this concept for the first time.  He had nothing to work with.

But I wonder, are we as impacted by this as Nicodemus was?  We understand the basic principle, but have we taken it to heart?  I fear we haven’t.  I fear we’ve instead written it off as just another thing we understand, without giving it much thought.

Being born again.

It’s not some cheap cliche.  Jesus didn’t use those.  And it’s not some empty philosophy, Jesus didn’t use that either.  No, what we have here is something of great significance.  Something more significant than whatever you’re likely going to do when you finish reading this post.  More significant by far than this post could hope to be.  This was Jesus saying that a man must no longer be who he is.  And not only that, the man must now be someone new.  And at the same time, he will still be himself.  Now it doesn’t sound so cliche, does it?  Wording it that way makes us think, at least a bit more.

A man by the name of Rich Mullins once cried out to God from the depths of his heart…

“Save me from trendy religion that makes
Cheap cliches out of timeless truths!
Lord save me!  Please, save me!”

May we be saved from trendy religion.  May we read the Holy Writ with a childlike wonder.  May we gaze upon the face of God clearly, without the vail of self-righteous piety that keeps us from recognizing just how small we are, and just how much we need every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Have you been born again?