Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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The Bible Uses Four Letter Words!

Meditation for the week of March 14, 2010

John 3:7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

The birth of a healthy baby is usually a joyful experience.  There is a moment of conception after which there is growth within the womb of the mother.  Then comes the time of delivery.  Usually that involves a certain amount of pain.  With love, care and nurture, the baby begins to grow outside of the womb of the mother.  There is growth before the delivery and there is growth after the delivery, but there is a point of deliverance.

The new birth is much like a physical birth.  People hear the Word of God and when it falls on good ground,  the Word takes root.  The Gospel causes the person to think about eternity.  Before the person is “delivered,” they will experience the pain of conviction of sin.  A young person will not understand sin the way an older person will, and all people are not convicted of all sins.  But all people find out that they are sinners and that they are lost.   They have to  come to the realization that they cannot find their own way into the kingdom nor can they save themselves.   When a person comes to the point where they look away from themselves to Christ for salvation, they get peace with God by trusting in the truth that Christ died, was buried, and was raised again the third day to put away their sins.  They are then “delivered” from the penalty of eternal conscious punishment that we all deserve because we are sinners who sin. 

Can a person be “born again” and not remember the event?  The Bible says that we MUST be born again or born from above.  How can we know that we are born again if we don’t remember it?  The process of being born again is sometimes likened to a lost sheep or to a lost son being found.  I once worked with an older preacher who would ask those who said they were saved or born again what it was like to find out that they were lost.  Most people who have gotten so completely lost that someone else had to find them and lead them home will remember that experience.

The new birth also is likened to being saved.  Salvation is deliverance from danger while the new birth is deliverance for a new life with the Lord.  If a person were drowning and a lifeguard saved them, do you think they would remember that?  I am reasonably sure that they would.

The new birth requires us to repent in order to believe.  That involves a change in mind.  We need to find out that God is right and we are wrong on any issue that is keeping us from trusting the Lord.  Our issue may have to do with whether there is a God, or we may resist the truth that we are sinners who deserve to be banished from God in hell and ultimately the Lake of Fire, eternally.  It may have to do with whether baptism or good works save which they do not.  That is why we are commanded to repent and to believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15).  I think most people know when they change their minds about important things.

When we believe, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).  Many of us wondered why the Bible seemed to come alive when we were saved and why the promises of God seemed so fresh and reliable.  Many of us didn’t know that we had  been sealed by the Holy Spirit, but things changed because we now had the Holy Spirit within us guiding us and teaching us.  I personally remember that change.

Since the new birth is a MUST, it is necessary for us to know that we have been born again.  The new birth involves a new life, but sometimes it is difficult to know the difference between reformation and regeneration.  Many people who have never claimed to know the Lord or to be born again have changed their lives, but the regenerated person changes because of a new love for the Lord.   Nicodemus in John 3 was born again.  It was evidenced ultimately by his love for the Lord and his willingness to publicly confess that love as he helped bury the Lord. 

I know that there are things that happen in our lives that we don’t remember very well in later life.  I don’t remember my baptism as well as I remember the day I was saved.  But I do remember both.  I cannot read hearts and I don’t decide who is born again and who isn’t, but I do know that if a person is going to be in heaven, there was a new birth experience in their life.    I know that because the new birth is a MUST.  Many people tell me that they are born again but that they don’t remember how it happened.  While that may be possible, I personally wouldn’t trade places for five minutes with anyone who truly believes that they are going to heaven but who cannot remember their new birth experience.

Bruce Collins

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