Are You Born Again, AGAIN?
Many who claim to be "BORN AGAIN" think they have secured their eternal destiny.
If the only motivation to say a "SINNER'S PRAY" was to gain fire insurance against the wages of sin then you might want to consider Nicodemus' conversation with Jesus.
Multitudes of people have said the "SINNER'S PRAYER" because they were told that this would gain them eternal life. They rushed forward at the end of a church service at the "altar call" to meet Jesus.
Where did we get the idea that saying one prayer was all we needed to do to be a Christian? Somehow we have reduced Christianity to an eternal destiny that has very little impact on the behavior and conduct of lives in present-day reality.
TAKE A HARD LOOK AT WHAT JESUS SAID TO NICODEMUS (John 3:1-23)
Nicodemus represented the most powerful religious leaders of the day during the life of Jesus. He was a Pharisee and a leader of the supreme Sanhedrin that governed Israel. He witnessed the miracles of Jesus and listened to Christ's teaching, but Nicodemus wanted to have a conversation with Jesus. He was hungry for more in his own spiritual devotion.
Nicodemus wanted a meeting "at night" with Jesus because he was afraid of others finding out. Jesus immediately shifts the tone of the meeting when he told Nicodemus to his face, "YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN!". Nicodemus doesn't know how to respond to the mandate.
Think about it. That phrase, "YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN" has dominated Christianity ever since Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses on the door. But do we really know what Jesus meant when He said it to Nicodemus? Was Jesus saying that the most important part of your spiritual life is that you secure your eternal destiny? Did Jesus introduce the "SINNER'S PRAYER" to Nicodemus? NO! NO! NO!
Jesus wasn't simply offering Nicodemus a ticket out of the inferno of hell.
Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Messiah in the flesh was instructing the greatest thinking theologian of the day on why spiritual re-birth is the essential entry point into the Kingdom of God. Salvation eternal life is one of the benefits but the greater emphasis is on living a victorious kingdom life free from sin.
Jesus was saying until your old nature is reborn and you are transformed into a new person with a converted set of completely different "want to's" you cannot enter the kingdom. The kingdom is the movement of God on the earth. We don't get to participate in being a part of the kingdom until we are "BORN AGAIN, AGAIN." The kingdom life begins when we receive the indwelling presence of Christ in our spirit, soul, and body.
The simple truth of Christ's message about being BORN AGAIN:
Nicodemus YOU: he made it personal
Must: there is no other way into the kingdom, the only way is through personal submission
Be: experience (not just think it is important) enter into a spiritual rebirth
Born Again: a spiritual rebirth that causes you to undergo a total transformation putting to death your old self and receiving a new nature, a new person you were born to be, and live a changed lifestyle with contrasting desires and wants
BEING BORN AGAIN, AGAIN:
Jesus said it comes through the work of water and the spirit. The rebirth process takes both a cleansing and a deposit of the new nature. It's not that you are born again twice but you must experience the complete transformation that changes your heart and empowers you to be a different person. That means that we need something to happen that we cannot do ourselves. We can't make it happen. We must willingly be changed by God as we learn to surrender our will to Him. The act of submission and repentance is our part. The work of transformation is His part.
My HOPE is that everyone who calls themselves Christians would experience the fullness of being BORN AGAIN. It is time for us to reexamine our hearts, our actions, and our witness.