Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Born Again

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
      4Nicodemus 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?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
 John 3:3-7
Reinstalling the Operating System
Being ‘born again’ really is the ultimate re-boot isn’t it? Of course I’m writing about faith here, but I’m thinking about computers for the moment.  My Mother and Father’s computer seems to frequently be virus infected.  Uncounted hours have I spent removing the malware and spyware from their system and cleaning their files of malicious software.  Once, their computer became so damaged and infected that I could not clean it up.  The entire function of the computer, regardless of the program being used, was effected by the damage.  I went and picked up their computer, brought it home and performed a wiping of the storage drives.  Then I completely reinstalled a new operating system and their personal programs and files before returning it to them.  It was a painstaking and long process to get it back into shape, but once done…Mother said: “It’s like having a brand new computer!

So in John chapter 3 we have Jesus in conversation with Nicodemus and Nicodemus is very interested in figuring out who Jesus is and what his purpose really is.  Then the dialogue above occurs.  “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?” And then Jesus speaks of being “born of water and the Spirit...” “You must be born again.”

We are to be born of the Spirit…as opposed to only having been born of the flesh.  The second birth…it is that spiritual transformation that begins when we allow the Holy Spirit to enter us and bit by bit, change who we are spiritually.  There are new ways, new patterns, new habits being installed.  And this is necessary!  Romans 12:2 reads:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Being Born Again, it would seem, is two part:
·      there is the salvific part wherein we are saved by Grace through faith, and that not of ourselves” (see Ephesians 2:8),
·      and then there is the journey part… Not so much an event, but a process that happens in us. We are born again…that is, our transformation is made complete across our lives, as we yield more and more to the example of Christ, the Word of God, and the leadership and power of his Holy Spirit, which we read about above in Romans 12.
These changes being brought about by the Spirit of God change us…not only eternally, but temporally.  How we act.  How we react.  How we relate, to mankind and to God…Being born again changes us over time. 

Back to my Mother’s computer: After I had installed a new operating system and made her computer “brand new” again, this didn’t not mean that computer was impervious to viruses and other malicious attacks.  In fact, thereafter, I would have to periodically go back again and clean the computer again.  And I would work to help her and my father to establish new protections, and new internet surfing habits that kept them from re-infecting her computer again.

The same is true for the new life.  Being born again, allowing the Spirit of God to transform us into Christ…that journey doesn’t mean we will never be tempted nor fall in sin ever again.  In fact, we have to be on guard against the attacks of the enemy.  Otherwise we may hinder God’s work in us, and keep us from ever maturing fully in the faith. 


Father, work your transformation and maturity in us this day and in my days ahead.  Mature us in every way.  Make straight our paths and teach us to follow you in all we do.  Empower us to endure and resist the old ways.  Water and Spirit, O God.  Wash us and grow us up.   In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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