Salvation from God in Heaven
For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB

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How Was I Born Again?

First, there is the question What Just Happened to Me? That's quite a long list! Then, comes trying to figure out how it happened. Here we are poking our heads into a mystery, but at least Jesus dropped us some "bread crumbs" to inspire our thinking.

The New Birth Compared to the First Birth

Jesus compared salvation directly to the birth process, telling Nicodemus that he “must be born again.”[1] We have just surveyed a dozen different features of the new birth Human Embryo : How was I born again? What did God do?explained to us in the Bible. Now let’s take up the birth metaphor itself and see what it can show us. When you were born the first time, who did most of the work—you, your parents, or God?

1. God gave you life through the seed of your father. However, your father didn’t know you, only God did. Had it not been for God wanting to create you and choosing to bring you forth, you would have remained a gleam in your father's eye.

2. God shaped you in your mother's womb as her body nourished and grew you. However, your mother didn’t know you, only God did. Had it not been for God "forming" you in the hidden places and choosing to protect the growth of the life He placed within your mother, you would never have seen the light of day.
 

You did precisely nothing! At most we could say you willingly submitted to the process of being born, but even that is a stretch. What choice did you have? Your mother and father, on the other hand, made a real contribution. They were willing to do their part, but no one has the power to create life except God. The God of Life had to do all the hard, impossible things. Remember our “salvation basics”? Even our natural life was a gift of grace that we received (entered into, made use of, and enjoyed) “by faith”, by entrusting ourselves to it.[2] Spiritual birth is very similar.

How was I born again? By a process of sowing and reaping...

1. Like a father, God has been sowing His seeds of truth into "the womb" of your interior world (seed is the root word that semen comes from). He has used many people, some in positions of authority, to speak truth into your life. Don't just think Bible truths: All truth comes from God and can lead back to Him.[3]

2. Others, meanwhile, have been praying for your salvation. Like a mother the church has been welcoming and nurturing your life in Christ. God has used many believers' prayers to cultivate the words others have planted.
 

Once again, God does the impossible parts. All words, no matter how true, and all prayers, no matter how earnest, would accomplish nothing in terms of your salvation, unless it were God's good pleasure and free choice to bring you forth from your darkness into the light of His unending Day. In the hidden places deep within you the Holy Spirit has been wrestling with you through your conscience, working with the prayers He has gathered to bring those words to fruition. You have been "born again" by the most essential seed of them all—by the implanted Word!

Love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. 1 Peter 1:22-23
 

Compared to what God has done in saving us, compared to the ways He worked through others and all that they contributed, what have we done to accomplish our new birth? Precisely nothing! At most we could say we willingly submitted to the process of being born again, but even that is a stretch. What choice did we have? Like the "godfather" of movie fame, the One True Father "made us an offer we couldn't refuse!" He offered us life and we said "yes" to Jesus. Yet, even there, He had to work inside of us to make us willing to say yes. This is why God rightly gets all the glory and all the praise: We have been saved by God and His grace through faith, not of our own works.

Being Born Verses Being in the Womb

We compared being born again with natural birth the first time around. Now, let's look at the new birth as the successful completion of a birthing process by comparing life in the womb to life outside the womb. When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about the necessity of being "born again", He wasn't denying the greatness of natural life, but indicating that natural life has very real limitations.[4] What is needed for our spiritual growth to take place is the kind of radical change that birth brings. This analogy invites us to compare the new birth to the experience of a child emerging from the womb.

The child is alive in the womb, but birth brings life-enhancing transformations in almost every way. Think for a moment about what that child might have been experiencing. Life in the womb wasn’t so bad. Sure it was dark, a bit cramped and there was little real freedom to move about as you pleased, but it was safe, warm and very cozy. The world outside only penetrated with bumps, muffled sounds and vague impressions of light. It was easy to do nothing but sleep, stretch and drool. Then comes the big day: Contractions! Water break! Pressure and pushing! “What’s happening to me?” Being born is a scary, painful process! It is also an irreversible “step” into a great unknown.

After going through many changes the new born child emerges into a wonder-filled environment at a level of life it could never have reached on its own. It has been a journey from darkness into light, from isolation into family, from restraint into freedom, and from helpless dependence into ever increasing abilities and independence. In the womb the child was entirely self-centered; after the womb the child grows into a vital relationship with the ones who gave it life. In the womb the infant knew practically nothing; after the womb the real learning begins. In the womb the fetus was loved; after the womb the baby can begin to love in return.

It only takes a little imagination to compare our natural birth to the superior realities and enhanced relationships that are associated with our spiritual rebirth!

Prayer

Father, You are so incredibly masterful at what You do! Thank You for saving me through faith in Your Son and His death on my behalf. Thank You for the resurrection into new life You are giving my through Your Holy Spirit. What a wonder being "born again" truly is!

On to the Next Question!

How does God save me? This is the “million dollar” question, because it is worth its weight in gold. The way that God “saves us” to get us to heaven is exactly the way that this new “heavenly life” is meant to be lived until we get there. Remember the Salvation Basics?  Here’s where they really come into play.


Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  Notice that Jesus doesn’t consider the new birth to be optional: “Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'”  John 3:7
[2]  Jesus compared the trusting way that children approach the gift of natural life, to the way we are meant to enter spiritual life: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." Mark 10:15-16  "How was i born again?" By trusting God like a little child!
[3]  Jesus didn’t just tell us truth; He claimed to be truth: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
[4]  Notice the progression: Seeing is followed by entering the kingdom, then living the life of the kingdom as free as a leaf in the wind: Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 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, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:3-8

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Rescued from Hell

I'm Steve, a former hippie and carpenter, now a passionate follower of Jesus.

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