- Years ago when I stepped into a church I was asked if I was born again. That was a wrong question. I was ticked off. I am saying this as some of you could be feeling the same way about this topic. Many of us have a diverse range of beliefs, diverse range of understandings within our mind, yet all these beliefs & understandings do not limit us.
2. Our background, our learnings are a limitation of our formal understanding. When we dig deep, we find that there is yet another dimension to our nature, the truth we live, the beauty of truth expressed in our heart. A dear friend of mine put it this way, “Heart is capable of a response that the mind does not comprehend.”
3. A few perspectives before we take a deep dive. How do these statements sound in terms of an identity of a Christian?
Christians believe in Jesus Christ.
Christians obey the 10 commandments.
Christians believe in the Holy Trinity.
Christians look up to Abraham as the Father of faith.
Christians believe in God the Father.
Christians believe in the Holy Bible.
Christians believe Jesus resurrected after death on the cross.
4. You may say that all Christians agree with these statements. These are the basic tenets of Christianity. A Christian is anyone who believes all the above. Yet, when we individually ask Christians known to us, we might not get an affirmative for these. The reason is that many who profess Christianity neither had the opportunity to learn nor were they able to understand the Holy Bible in their growing-up years. When you do not have this knowledge base during your growing up years, many miss a lifetime opportunity to learn and imbibe the foundational elements of Christianity. Even those who had formal learning growing up in the church or informal learning at home may not be certain because their teachers did not teach them, or as students, they did not learn as they did not consider it worthwhile.
5. Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher, came to Jesus. He was trying to strike a conversation with Jesus. He said, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher from God. The miracles you do are so remarkable, they can be done only if God is with you. (Nicodemus did not ask this, but this was most likely in his mind and Jesus perceived this question which was not asked. How can these kinds of miracles be done by me?)
6. Jesus is always a great conversationalist. He digs into conversations without being limited by questions asked, but by reading the thoughts of Nicodemus. Jesus said, “You are absolutely right. No one can be a channel of miracles and bring Heaven on Earth unless he is born again by the Spirit.” (In another post I will explain why the Kingdom of God here on Earth means Heaven on Earth.)
7. While Jesus perceived what was not spoken but was only thought, Nicodemus did not understand what was spoken. Nicodemus heard about the need to be born again. Hence he asked Jesus how he could be born again now that he was old. How could anyone re-enter the mother’s womb, he asked.
8. Notes: 1) Nicodemus did not get to understand what Jesus told. He only heard about the need to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. (This is what’s cited in the KJV & various versions of the Bible which you can read in Gospel of John Chapter 3 verses 1 to 4. Whereas, in The Message Bible version (also, The Amplified Version), which can be found online, you can read what is referred to above. Every version of the Bible has got its richness. What a version cannot explain to one’s unique background of understanding can be understood better in another version.)
9. Jesus explained to Nicodemus, after your first birth which is natural, of the flesh, one needs to be born the 2nd time, this 2nd birth the one after the natural birth – the one by the Spirit of God is the born again experience.
10. Without being born again, one cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Without being born again in the Spirit of God, one cannot experience the Kingdom of God & its supernatural manifestations. This new birth was required to be aware of Heaven’s realities. This new birth was required to bring Heaven’s manifestations here on Earth. Only what you know in the Spirit and after the reality of Heaven becomes your reality can you be a channel of God’s will on Earth in terms of signs, wonders & miracles.
11. What Jesus speaks to Nicodemus, He speaks to each one of us, to all Christians, the need to be born again, to enter the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus was like many of us, adamant about his unbelief, his understanding. Jesus went on to say that, he was sharing matters about which he knew first hand. Jesus said, Nicodemus if you don’t believe in things that are as plain as the hand before your face, you don’t believe me. What is the use of telling you the things which cannot be seen?, the things of God?
12. Beloved, from the above it’s very clear that born again points to being born of the Spirit. This 2nd birth is required to enter the Kingdom of God – a requirement stated by Jesus Christ. Read the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, verse 3. This is for all Christians, be it Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants or any other.