Have you been born again? That is a question I have been asked by a lot of people over the years. Usually by folks who aren’t very sure what that question really means.
Born Of Water and Spirit
Jesus answered him [Nicodemus], “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”
Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:3-8 WEB
This is where the phrase “Born again” comes from (rendered in this translation as “born anew”). Yet what most people pass over, is that Jesus is talking about a real birth. They ask if you have made the decision to be born again by asking Jesus into your heart.
This, however, is rather absurd. Nowhere is asking Jesus into your heart mentioned. Also, no one asked your permission for you to be born physically. You had no say in the matter. The truth is, your spiritual birth is the same way.
The Means of Grace
But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men [that is mankind];
Titus 3:4-8 WEB
Being born again is not our choice, but God’s promise. Baptism is not our work, but His. We are reborn anew of the Spirit because God said we would be. Not because we said the right prayer with enough sincerity (for who can honestly claim to have been truly sincere), and not because we were dunked into the right amount of holy water.
It is solely because God promised and because God always delivers on His promises.
Your Faith Does not Matter
In the last few posts, we have covered the particular blessings of baptism. So here I want to cover a very important topic. Your faith or level of understanding does not make or break baptism.
So many people are wrongly and sinfully rebaptized because they think they did not understand what was happening the first time or because they did not really believe correctly the first time. They doubt whether their baptism was right or accepted because of their own shortcomings.
Guess what, that will always be true as long as you make God’s work out to be your own. You do not bring anything to baptism. Your faith does not matter, your understanding does not matter. What matters is God. That He promised baptism would mean something. That it would forgive you your sins, make you His own child, and free you from the devil. That is what matters. So in baptism, and in life, rely solely on God.
Today we have talked about trusting in God for all of His promises, even those we are tempted to make our own. Next time we will continue this idea in the concept of forgiveness.
Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.