According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
The term ‘Born Again’ was popularized in the 70’s. To discern whether someone really was a Christian, people would ask whether a person was born again. By that, they meant had they accepted Jesus into their lives and experienced a complete life change. In other words, were they living a new life? There were some problems with that view, for example, the emphasis on having people accept Christ rather than have Christ accept someone, but all in all the emphasis was a healthy one. Chuck Colson’s 1976 book, Born Again told the story of how he was transformed from a Whitehouse crook to a devout follower of Jesus. I think his life transformation communicates accurately what it means to be born again.
In recent times, though, I have asked people who use the term to explain what it means and some of them have had difficulty. It is a term that has possibly been overused with the assumption that everyone knows its meaning. We need to rediscover a life that transcends existence without Jesus. We need to adopt a perspective that is entirely fresh. Peter emphasizes that being born again is focused on hope. The hope of the Bible is that other-world perspective that is mindful of the fact that heaven exists and awaits those who are chosen by God. Not everyone has reason for that hope. Many people who believe in heaven are not destined to go there. The heaven they believe in is a five-star resort in the sky that is essentially more hedonistic and self-serving than their life on earth has been. Such a heaven does not exist and hope in it is misguided. Heaven is living in the presence of God and continuously putting him above all other interests. It is where we will truly serve our neighbour above ourselves because our selves will be free from the limitations of sin. Someone whose hope is in their uninhibited future relationship with God seeks to make that relationship the focus of their lives in this evil and corrupt world. They are born into a new reality which transcends the mundane daily routines that make the essence of life for so many. The person who is born again sees foreshadowing beauty and eternal love from God permeating experience in ever-increasing ways.
As Jesus was raised into a new life, by his resurrection a new life is born in us which is realised as we see earth from heaven’s perspective.
I believe that I am born again, but I do not realise the full implications of what that means. Let me know what it is to be alive to heaven more and more and dead to that which is thoroughly worldly and corrupt.
- How does Jesus use the term ‘Born Again’ in John 3?
- How is Peter’s use similar but more developed?
- How would people experience this new birth?
- When were you born again?
- How do you experience new birth?