(John 1:1-18, Rev. 3:20, Hab. 3:2, Luke 3:17)
John starts his story of Jesus, his gospel, hearkening back to Genesis. He continues later (in Chapter 3) with a man’s beginning as one born of God. This is the beginning all men need. The phrase “born again” is full and now well known by many. And as John writes many do not know Christ, and even among His own, He is not received. Eternal truths never change and they show up throughout history including in our time.
Whomever receives Him, the Word, Christ Jesus, receives exousia to become teknon, a born one, of God. I used the Greek words as they do have specific meanings. But we do not need to be Greek scholars to know the truth. It comes from God Himself by the Spirit. Jesus said what is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is Spirit. I recently read something obvious yet very important to consider. Being born is outside of any person’s control. For each of us, our parents came together, we were conceived, and when we were fully formed we were born. This reminds me of my total reliance on God for everything and especially for my spiritual life. It does not mean I do not have responsibility. My basic responsibility is a “yes”, a response to Him. We must receive Him for the new birth to happen.
The truth is that God takes the initiative. I believe He does that for every man, for every person. He sent His Son. He made the first move. The birth of the Son of God through Mary is a mystery. We can get caught up in our minds to explain that. Forget it! Like it was at the creation of the universe, the Spirit of God moved and His new creation was started. So John starts there. The word, Christ became flesh, Jesus was born.
It was a miraculous work of God. So it is with spiritual rebirth, regeneration. We use words but our words must carry life so that life travels to another person. Do we see a difference with spiritual birth and natural birth? Yet in natural birth it takes a conception, it takes a willing man and woman to begin the process. It takes an encounter, an intimate encounter with God for the Son, for Christ to be formed in us. It is not a matter of our wills but of the will of God. Yet we must be willing. We must receive Him. And we can. Say yes when you become aware of the Spirit of God drawing you.
We want to see lives changed. We see others making bad choices. We see impact on their lives and their families. We see the impact on nations and peoples. We see entire cultures in turmoil. So we pray for the Lord to move. And we may remember the words, “Lord, revive your work in the midst of the years.” And we look at groups called churches and see the heresies and the blasphemies and the very doctrines of demons. Others have analyzed the wicked doctrines fabricated because of unbelief. Some say Jesus is Michael come to earth for a period. Others say twins were born and that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. And the basis of a “godfather” is that Joseph did know Mary denying the birth through a virgin. Then, since Jesus is God, Mary is the mother of God and Joseph is the godfather. Pay money to the godfather and he will protect you. Give money to the “church” after you confess your murders and you are forgiven. Modern day indulgences and criminal families.
We focus on Jesus but we do not ignore the corruption among us. I am so aware of Jude’s message. Some have come in the door and will cause trouble. Empty and vain words come from them. I have known my own thoughts that I thought were from God. I am growing more and more careful with my words. But those that sow discord are exposed by their fruit. And sometimes exposure comes as we do not see any growth. We need sound beginnings. As the Baptist said, He will thoroughly beat His floor into shape. Sure foundations are necessary. Perhaps, in some ways, we may need to start over. For some we need a realignment. And for some, simply press on to know Him more. Know Him who was from the beginning.