Friday, February 15, 2019

A Radical Experience

How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4).

When Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again to see the kingdom, Nicodemus realized that Jesus was saying something radical. He asked Jesus to explain: “Since it is not possible to go back into our mother’s womb to get a new start, just what kind of ‘new birth’ are You talking about, Jesus?”

To understand what Jesus meant and what Nicodemus came to comprehend, we need to bear in mind what happened to humanity at the fall. As a result of sin, life became distorted, and while the image of God in humanity was not completely effaced, it was defaced. Our bodies began to die, our minds lost their sharpness, and our holy relationship with God was destroyed.

Correspondingly part of what Jesus meant by being born again is this: When a person is born again, he or she is healthier than he would have been had he remained in his sins. To be sure, he still may not be as healthy as an unbelieving Olympic athlete, but he will be healthier than he would have been apart from Christ. He will have a more positive outlook on life; he will take better care of himself, and he will respond to crises better.

Secondly, when a person is born again, he is smarter than he would have been had he remained in sin. He may not be as smart as Albert Einstein, but because of the quickening work of the Spirit, he will become more interested in learning the Bible and discovering the world God made. Intellectual and artistic abilities long dormant will be quickened to life under the influence of the life-giving Spirit.

Most importantly, however, when a person is born again the holiness that Adam lost at the Fall is restored to him. He passes from darkness to light. He once again has God as his Father, and the church as his mother, brothers, and sisters. He is adopted and placed into a new family, which was the old family he lost in Adam.

Going back into the womb and being born all over again would be a radical experience, but is it nothing compared to the miraculous and radical character of what Jesus was talking about: The new birth is nothing less than a new creation of God, on the level with His first creation of the first man.

Has your experience of salvation been this radical? Identify an area where you next desire God to bring His Spirit more fully to bear in your life.