Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of September 10, 2006

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

The Lord says, “Ye must be born again. (John 3:7).” Now must is a four letter word, but it is not a bad word. And I think must means “must.” Many people tell me that they are born again, but they don’t know when or how or where. While I can‘t say who is born again for sure and who is not, I fail to understand how we can know we have been born again if we can’t remember being born again. I remember some things in my life clearly and some things are not so clear. I don’t remember many dates. I need to check the calendar to make sure that I know when our anniversary is, but I do remember the hot night when I said “I do.” So it may be like that with the new birth, particularly for those who were born again young. But God says that we must be born again so I personally want to know that I am.

If we are born again, our minds should have been changed on issues where we disagreed with God. This is called repentance. In some cases, those issues may have involved a lifestyle that God condemns, but more often those issues simply involve finding out that God has a right to tell us how to be saved and that we don’t have a right to tell Him how to save us. We have to find out that God’s way is better than our way and His thinking is better than our thinking (Isaiah 55:8-9). We have to find out that our God and His Word can be trusted and we have to trust Him. Trusting someone is not easy since it is contrary to what we are taught from our youth. People fail us and we have to have confidence that God will not. And we have to have confidence that even when things don’t make sense, God is still being faithful. That is why this is called a new birth because this is all contrary to the human nature that we got with our first births.

In addition, if we have been born again, we should desire a mind like Christ’s. Apparently, we don’t automatically have the mind of Christ since Paul tells the Philippians who are already Christians that they need to let the mind of Christ dwell in them. What is the mind of Christ?

If we look at the passage, it appears that if we all thought like Christ, we would be like-minded and unified. We would be cooperative and not competitive. We would not be self-centered but we would be self-sacrificing. And we would be willing to give up our rights in order to meet the needs of others. The Lord Jesus was God but instead of acting like God, He acted like a servant. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Think of it! The Lord Jesus who is our creator and our Sovereign Lord was obedient. He was obedient to the Father and to the plan of salvation that was part of the thinking of God in an eternity past. So it would seem that obedience is not a dirty word but something that God should expect from us if we are born again. Today most of us only want to obey Biblical injunctions that make sense to us, but my father taught me to do what he asked, whether it made sense or not. Now if I did that for my earthly father out of fear, can I not do that for my Heavenly Father out of love?

I realize that we are all “works in progress.” There is a popular bumper sticker that says, “Be patient, God is not finished with me yet.” But the new birth should at least make us want to exhibit the attributes of the “mind of Christ.“ If we have not made any progress in this area since the day we say we were born again, maybe we need to revisit the issue of this must!

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Bruce Collins

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