July 20 I Saturday
“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’” —John 3:3
When Jesus said to Nicodemus “the Spirit gives birth to spirit,” He was talking about a new birth, of being born again in the Spirit of God. The term “born-again” became widely known in the mid 1970s, when Jimmy Carter, who was running for President of the United States, said in an interview that he was a “born-again Christian.” As the term was yet in the general domain, people began to wonder: what does it mean to be a born-again Christian?
A “born-again Christian” should not be understood as a descriptive term as though there are other types of Christians. To be born again is a one time pivotal event in a person’s life in which the Holy Spirit is placed within them the moment they come in repentance to Christ, and acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour. We cannot be a Christian without being born again. It is a gift of God, which not only ensures our salvation, but the life of the Holy Spirit within us is our equipping and empowering to live the Christian life.
On a return flight to Toronto from London, I briefly touched on this subject with a flight attendant, who noticed I had been working most of the flight. The next day was Sunday and he mentioned that at least I would have a day off tomorrow. But it was not the case for me. I told him I was a preacher, to which he replied that he attended a church too. I asked him if the teaching was any good and he said, “When it’s practical, it’s useful. It’s about things to do with your life, but sometimes it isn’t, and then it’s not that useful.” He then asked me what I preach about. I first said, “When you say it is practical, do you mean it is something you can do?” “Well, yeah,” he replied. I then told him that I preach about things people cannot do. “Really?” he remarked curiously.
The New Testament is all about things we cannot do. It is practical in regards to God’s daily provision for us, but the Christian life is entirely supernatural in its working. That is why we must be “born again” of the Spirit of God, because we cannot live the Christian life any other way. We may try our best, but behind closed doors we know in our hearts something is missing, something is broken. Being born again of the Spirit of God is not turning over a new leaf with a promise of trying much harder, but it is the inception of new life that will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for giving us Your Spirit that I am able to be born again. May Your Spirit indwell me with a divine power to live the life I was created to live.