Born again (justforcatholics.org)
|This is an opinion article from a user of WikiChristian.|
Jesus informed a respected Jewish leader and teacher, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:1-21). The issue is not whether you are religious, attend church, read the Bible or try to live a good life. The important question is, ‘Are you born again?’ For unless you are born again, you will never see or enter Heaven.
Why should a person be ‘born again’? The Bible describes the desperate condition of the natural man. He is not only ill or weak, the natural man is ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ His mind is not subject to the Law, and though he may be religious, he does not seek after the true God. He has no living relationship with the Lord and he can't do anything about it.
Therefore it is not a matter of turning a new leaf or resolving to live better. Religious rites (like circumcision or baptism) cannot help either – Nicodemus was circumcised but he still needed to be born anew. Being spiritually dead it’s impossible to give life to yourself by anything you do. More than anything else, you need God to give you life!
There is no ‘how to’ formula to be born again. It is neither a human work nor is it initiated by the human will. Infants do not induce, or cooperate in, their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are 'dead in trespasses and sins' prompt the life-giving operation of God. His children are born 'not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God' (John 1:13).
The new birth is the work of God the Holy Spirit. ‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone born of the Spirit.’ The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to create new life in the human heart. Once a person is born again, he instinctively cries out to God for now he is a child of the Father. Repentance, faith and a godly life are the signs that the Christian is 'alive and well.'
Whereas the new birth is not produced by man, its effects are clearly seen in man. The apostle John gives several tests as evidence that a person is born again.
- ‘Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ (1 John 5:1). Previously he did not think much of Jesus. Now he trusts only in him because he is convinced that he is God’s Son, whom the Father sent to save him from sin.
- 'Whoever is born of God does not sin…everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him' (1 John 3:9; 2:29). The child of God grows to become like his Father. He hates what God hates and loves the things God loves. He fights against sin and temptation and willingly obeys the commandments of God.
- 'Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God' (1 John 4:7). He learns love from his Father; his desire is to serve especially his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Dear friend, when you examine yourself by the Word of God, can you honestly say, "Yes, I am born again"?
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