9/30/14 Jacob and Josh early 20’s
So has the term “born again” lost all of its usefulness? Was it made completely ineffective by overuse back in the 1970’s? For me it is still right there in John 3, and I can’t think of a better way to describe what coming to faith in Christ is like. I used it today in talking with Jacob and Joshua, two college students whom Bob and I reached out to today at our local coffee shop. Josh and Jacob are both agnostic about religion, even though as the son of secular parents Josh has heard about Christianity from Jacob, a pastor’s son. Josh believes he could just “try out” Christianity for a while to see if it would be right for him, and Jacob thinks he already has. But is true faith in Jesus something we can just decide to try for a while, or is it more like being “born again” – a transformation so complete that we can never go back, just as a newborn can’t go back into the womb? I told Josh “Christianity can really only make sense by actually becoming a Christian; it can’t be truly understood from the outside at just the intellectual level. I learned about the Gospel intellectually before I became a believer, but by the time I thought I might need to put my faith in Christ I already had, I just needed to put my faith into words.” John 3 puts it like this: “‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
So then, if we can’t just “decide” to be a believer, what should we tell people to do about the Gospel? The Bible says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, so I try to help people hear Gods word in a way they can understand, to read it for themselves, and to connect to a local church where they will hear it taught. I also encourage people to pray for faith. After all, this is a prayer request I believe God is pleased to honor.