Thursday, May 21, 2009
THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE - PART 1
Today we we start to look at John 3:1-8 - 'the born again experience'. Even though this is only eight verses, it is a very important passage of scripture. May God be pleased to give us understanding as we study this passage.
Since this is so important a doctrine (teaching), I would like to expose (reveal) what religion teaches about being "born again" before the Lord Himself in this passage will tell us what being born again is. Roman Catholicism says that when you are baptized as an infant, you are born again in that baptism washes away "original sin" (sin we inherited from Adam); you are then born again and are clean from original sin, and then you must follow the sacraments of the Roman Catholic system to have your sins removed to get into heaven.
NONE OF THIS IS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE
Then some "protestant religions" will tell you that when you are baptized as an infant, you are "born again" and saved for heaven by your baptism (Martin Luther taught this heresy). Some say when you are baptized professing Christ as an adult you are "born again" through the baptism experience. Some will say when you "accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior" you are then "born again".
NONE OF THIS IS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE.
All of these "experiences" in religion I have mentioned as being the "born again" experience is salvation by works - salvation conditioned (depended upon) something you do. Hopefully in our studies, we have all learned that no one can be saved by works. Salvation can only be found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The born again experience we will see from the scriptures is a work of God, not a work we do!
I bring this up before we begin our short study because Jesus said in our study: "Except a man (or woman) be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
Let's begin our study.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The Jews were the people whom God was pleased to reveal Himself through in the first century. God chose the Jews during this time when Jesus walked the earth to be the group through whom God's Word would come and through whom the Lord Jesus would come - through the earthly lineage as a man - a Jew.
Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews at that time - a "Pharisee". The Pharisees were Jews who were very religious and were given the Word of God whereby one could be taught to worship God. So Nicodemus was a religious leader of the Jews. He should have known the scriptures of the Old Testament; but as we will see in our study he was spiritually blind, and that he did not understand what it meant to be born again.
Praise God, Jesus, in our study will show us in His Word what it really means to be born again!
By Craig Miklosik