Mon. Jan 25th, 2021

What If You Could Be Born Again
By Simeon Young

While the new birth is about change, it is not about self-change. The new birth is not a self-help program. It is not pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. It is not a cosmetic makeover. It is not airbrushing the sinful nature.

“What if you could be born again? Your business can…. New business opportunities are waiting to be born.” The advertising agency that placed the ad in the Wall Street Journal was recycling for secular purposes the familiar words of Jesus to Nicodemus. The question, “What if you could be born again?” suggested the improbable. Readers of the ad could fairly infer that the company was making mileage off the public’s distrust of anyone being born again in a spiritual sense. Then the ad boldly proclaimed that the improbable is possible: “Your business can [be born again]…. Experience the miracle for yourself…. New business opportunities are waiting to be born.”

Nicodemus came to Jesus with the attitude of conciliation, and with the greatest economy of words he said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).

Jesus brushed aside the compliment and said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

With those simple words, Jesus introduced a new and profound idea, an idea that caught Nicodemus by surprise and left him reeling with disbelief. The next words out of his mouth were drenched with skepticism: “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4).

Jesus responded to Nicodemus’ “how” question with words that have survived the ravages of debate and doubt: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8).

Nicodemus, still not comprehending, countered with, “How can these things be?” (John 3:9).

Two thousand years later, society is familiar with the phrase “born again.” It is also skeptical. But despite the universal skepticism, spiritual rebirth is possible. The words “born again” are more than copy for a slick ad campaign, more than a cultural catchphrase, more than a commercial sound bite.

What if you could be born again?

Not only can you be born again, Jesus said, “You must be born again.” Without the new birth, there is no seeing or entering the kingdom of God, no salvation, no going to heaven.

The new birth is old things passing away and all things becoming new. It is becoming a new creation in Christ. It is walking in newness of life.

What if you could be born again?

While the new birth is about change, it is not about self-change. The new birth is not a self-help program. It is not pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. It is not a cosmetic makeover. It is not airbrushing the sinful nature.

What if you could be born again?

The new birth is not something the church does for you. It is not joining a church. Being born again is not turning over a new leaf. It is not making and keeping resolutions. It is not shaking a preacher’s hand or keeping religious externals. It is more than saying, “I accept Jesus as my personal Savior.” The new birth is miraculous! Supernatural!

What if you could be born again?

Despite the hype and the hypocrisy, and despite the skepticism and the cynicism, you can be born again! Here’s how: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

What exciting opportunities await you when you are born again! You need not wait any longer. You can be born again today.

This article “What If You Could Be Born Again” written by Simeon Young is excerpted from Pentecostal Herald a 2007 special edition.

 

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