Softpill 18 Sep 2008 - 27 Jan 2015
How is one Born Again (Resurrected)
The Bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. This means that God was very mindful while designing even our very teeth. Imagine how much planning went into it. When you were young, God gave you a set of milky teeth to chew with. He knew that you will not take so much care of them. You would lose them all. So He gives yet another opportunity by giving you another set—the permanent teeth. It is a lesson about taking care of our possessions.
The same is true of our very lives as well. God gives us first one life. And like an ugly caterpillar we destroy the very tree that is supporting us. We make a mess of our lives. The Bible says all have made a mess of their lives. Therefore Jesus Christ says, "You must be born again!" You need to be transformed like how the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. For this to happen, the caterpillar must first die. I repeat: For this to happen, the caterpillar must first die. In other words, you must humble yourself to such an extent that you become so small (a zero), meaning, a person of no significance in your own eyes. In other words, as Tim Keller puts it, what you really "need is nothing, but most people do not have that." The Lord Jesus said, “Unless you are transformed and become like a little child, you can by no means enter into the kingdom of God.” “The greatest among you must become the youngest”— a son, not a father.
With all the pride and machismo that adult life brings with it, it is hard to become humble like a little child. So what’s the secret of humility? Please bear with me as we explore this all important matter.
Normally one just needs to behold the wondrous creation of God to become humble and acknowledge the presence of a genius designer behind it all. As scientists, engineers, doctors, etc, we can only but discover and imitate Him and ask God to bless the works of our hands. He is the Designer of designers, Doctor of doctors—the Lord of Lords.
Now look. Pride is the opposite of humility. Pride goes before a fall. The Bible says, “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” It is pride that tells us that we are not sinners, that we are worthy, that we are rich, that we are young and healthy, that we are wise, that we have knowledge and understanding, and that we are able to please God and enter heaven or for that matter, tomorrow, by our own merit. You see, God does not and will not make a way to heaven where we can boast and have pride about our own good deeds. Let alone God, no one likes a prideful person. If humility is the greatest virtue then pride is the greatest sin.
God is holy in that He is altogether beautiful and perfect. He will not allow anything unclean to enter into His presence. Sin is like poison. Take for instance, a glass of pure drinking water. Before giving it to you to drink, suppose I showed you a speck of cyanide and added that into the glass. Even though 99.99 percent is pure drinking water, would you drink it? Any person in his normal senses would not drink it. The same is true about God also. If we harbour the guilt of even one sin, we are ineligible to enter into the presence of the most holy God. Now that should humble us.
If not I challenge you to take this line of questioning: Have you ever said a lie? If you said “Yes,” what would that make you? Yes, a liar! Have you ever stolen anything from anybody? If you said, “Yes,” what would that make you? Yes, a thief! Have you ever lusted (desired uncontrollably) a member of the opposite sex? (If you are a male, were your eyes looking at the wrong places? If you are a female, were you letting men feast on your body by dressing improperly?) If you have answered, “Yes,” what does that make you? Yes, you have already committed adultery with her/him! “Already” because our self is in our heart not beneath the skin. Likewise, have you ever said in anger to someone, “You fool!?” If you have answered, “Yes” what does that make you? Yes, you have already committed a murder in your heart. If we are human with a bit of conscience that should humble us and cause us to think of ourselves as doomed in the sight of a Holy and Almighty God. Indeed “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, The Bible).
God will judge not only our actions, words and thoughts but our very motives as well. When we realize how sinful we are, we will become dead without a hope of a life-after-death (Isaiah 6:5 Complete Jewish Bible). Dead because, man can live without food for forty days, without water for eight days and without air for five minutes but he cannot live without hope for even a second. The only reason we were living is because we had a hope of tomorrow. In that sense, it would have been good that we didn’t know what tomorrow had in store for us. But now on realizing that tomorrow God will destine us to hell fire, which is worse than merely dying, we die today itself on losing all hope.
This degree of hopelessness which causes death of self is what God requires in us before we can be resurrected (born again), renewed with hope by knowing that a Saviour exists. The knowledge about the Saviour comes to us when the Sent One tells us that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and died to pay the just penalty for our sins and rose again on the third day for our justification. These Words that He speaks are Spirit and are life (John 6:63, The Bible). Life because, we get a hope of tomorrow after hearing those Words and life everlasting as we put those Words into action (Matthew 7:24-27 The Bible). Thus, "according to his abundant mercy [He] hath begotten us again (caused us to be born again) unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3b KJV paraphrased). The sacrificial gift of God is available to all who put their trust in Him. Once you have believed in your heart this Word of Good News that has been preached to you, and confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, which means you are sealed by the Holy Spirit to be born-again (Romans 10:9; Ephesians 1:13, The Bible). You now have a hope of tomorrow, a hope that lasts till eternity as long as you remain in Him and bear fruit.
To remain in Him you have to come into Him and He into you to begin with (John 15:1-11; The Bible). You have been called out of the world but you have to be grafted into the kingdom of God to have the assurance that you are safe and secure in Him. This grafting is accomplished by Water Baptism with the Word as you have the desire to abide in Him. Allow me to elaborate on this subject, which has confused many. Until you follow through with Baptism, no one including the devil will recognize that you belong to Christ (i.e. to the One in-filled by the Spirit of God). For, you have not become part of Him yet. You need to publicly confess that you died because of the aforementioned hopelessness on account of your sins, and then agree to be buried (i.e. die to your old self, which will still linger in you even after baptism) in order that the man of God who is present with you can raise you up after washing (forgiving) you. With Water Baptism you will be added to the Body of Christ—the Church.
The Lord deliberately made this into a simple act of washing by the servant of God, in which you may humble yourself from all your machismo of the do-it-yourself syndrome, worthiness, understanding, knowledge, riches, strength and merit. You may question, “How can something so great as eternal life be got through a simple act like a baptism rite administered by this simple man?” By taking the said washing you are acknowledging that indeed the transaction on your part is a simple one. Yes! For, all that you need to do is: believe. You must believe this transaction became simple for you because on the part of Jesus it was a very difficult one that cost Him His very life through the shedding of His blood! He rose from the dead and you know it because God loves us and will surely make a provision to save us where we also have a proof that we are saved. Yet He designed that we will know of this proof only after we exercise the pleasing faculty of faith/belief/trust/respect in the one whom He had sent. So you see, it is Love and Grace on the part of God through Jesus that made it all possible; not our works per se. Not even the Baptism rite itself. Your faith (belief) in the work of Christ was working with your simple work of Baptism to bring you into a right relationship with God (cf. Romans 9:30-33; James 2:22, The Bible). So go ahead and respect Him as Lord. For, Love and Respect are two sides of the same coin. Sing the song, “I Surrender All.” Let Him wash you because He—the sent One—is clean and you are not. Only then you can have part in Christ.
Thus what is objectively available to all has subjectively become yours through Baptism. This is the medicine prescribed by the great Physician. For you believed that you are a sinner (unclean) needing cleansing (forgiveness). And you knew that the clean sent One can cleanse you because He is part of the body of Christ and has authority from Christ Himself who died and rose again for you. Water that the Baptist uses represents the blood of Jesus Christ. Baptism means immersion with the removal and burial of our old self and is administered symbolically. Therefore real blood is not necessary. It is said that we are cleansed by the “blood” of Christ because life is in the blood and that through the shedding of it, His life became a substitutionary sacrifice for us. Believing and taking baptism is like going to bed and falling asleep. Rebirth is said to have actualized only at the point of baptism. Baptism is not for the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God to cleanse our guilty conscience with the shed blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:13-14; 1 Peter 3:21, The Bible). Thus, you have been born of the Water and the Spirit as required by Law to enter into the kingdom of heaven. That is, you have been washed by the Water with the Word (Ephesians 5:26, The Bible). “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NAS Bible). You will indeed look at all things from a new perspective. You will have the mind of Christ!
Kneel down and pray this simple prayer to begin the process of renewal: “Lord God, I recognize that I am a sinner destined to hell. Thank you for sending Jesus to love me and die for me. I believe that you have forgiven me of all my sins and have given me a new and eternal life through Jesus Christ. I will henceforth live a life pleasing to you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen (OK)!”
Do know that by believing [and being baptised] you have crossed over from death to life (John 5:24, The Bible). Believer’s Water Baptism--a full bath as by burying and raising again--is administered by His servants in churches characterized by agape love.
Scholars may please check out: Our Resurrection in His!
Copyright © 2008-2015 Caleb S. Motupalli