Pastor's Blog
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June 27, 2018, 7:36 AM

You Must Be Born Again - From Above.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“You must be born again – from above.” (John 3:7b)

John’s Gospel reports that early in the ministry of Jesus a Jewish ruler, Nicodemus, visited Him to inquire the way to the kingdom of God. Even though he had wealth, status, and a noble heritage, Nicodemus had a spiritual hunger that moved him to seek Jesus. An astute man, he began the conversation by complimenting Jesus, saying that no one could do what He was doing unless God was with him. Jesus responded to this with the abrupt affirmation: “You must be born again – from above.” Bishop Gerald Ensley describes this by saying: “Jesus told the Pharisee that entrance into the higher life involves a birth, a starting over, a renewal of being, whereby old things pass away, the accumulations of the years are stripped off, and we become as spiritually uncorrupted as a child is physically new when it enters the world.”

Few passages of scripture have been more variously interpreted than this imperative: “Be born again,” or “Be born anew,” or “Be born from above.” To many it is as bewildering a concept as it was to Nicodemus. The unchurched think of it as vaguely related to revivalist preaching and exhortation. They shrug it aside because they want no part of what they consider to be emotionalism. Because of such unfortunate association the man on the street and even many within the Church have been inclined to disregard the whole concept of conversion as unnecessary or even undesirable. The best of our theologians, however, and those with spiritual insight have not so regarded it. Edwin Lewis wrote: “Jesus confronted the astonished Nicodemus … [and] told him that the purpose of a man’s being born once was that he might be born a second time, and until he was born a second time the purpose of his being born the first time remained unfulfilled. ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh.’ This is creaturehood. ‘That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ This is sonship.”

God’s purpose for an individual has not been fulfilled until he or she has been born of the Spirit! This assertion moves the new birth out of the area of life’s options to the place of focal concern. Each person stands in need of a radical and fundamental reorientation of life at the very center. There must be a confrontation with his or her need of reconciliation to God. There must be transformation.

This change will have both subjective and objective implications. This is more than an intellectual assent to a system of principles. The will must come into play. There must be a faith-response of repentance (new direction) and a receiving by faith of grace (acceptance of God’s unmerited love and forgiveness). With this act of saving faith, life assumes a new direction. To acknowledge Jesus as our Lord is to affirm that we belong to Him. He is to rule our life. New birth cannot take place when we consciously withhold areas of life from the control of Christ. An individual cannot serve two masters, but he or she must choose one. Who is the Lord of your life today?

Let us join in prayer: Father, grant me absolution and remission for all my sins, true repentance, amendment of life and the grace and consolation of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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