“ARE you a Born Again Christian?” I have sometimes been asked this – perhaps you have too. An interesting question based on the words of Jesus in John’s gospel: “Ye must be born again”. Now I have no argument with Jesus, but I would reflect on these words.
My earliest memories of life can go back to when I was about two or three years old but I certainly do not remember being born. There is unquestionable evidence that I was born - because I am alive now. So it is with many Christians. While some can remember a born again experience which may have been dramatic, many others have no such memories. The evidence for their new birth lies in the Christian life they now live.
I have often reflected that there is nothing more helpless and useless as a new born child. They cannot feed themselves, they cannot control their bowel movements, or walk or talk (of course they can cry!). We might even conclude that they are totally useless. Nevertheless we love and cherish for who they are and look forward to see them realise the great potential which is in each new born child as they grow and develop.
I always remember the story of a Jewish rabbi who each morning bowed before his class of pupils because he believed that someday they might be great – perhaps even his master. Many Christians have live great lives with no memory of a new birth and have no reason to feel any sense of unease because of this.
I believe that this approach is supported in the New Testament where a number of the parables of Jesus are about seeds growing into something much more spectacular that the seeds themselves. A born again Christian cannot simply rest on that experience, but needs to grow and develop in the Christian life. Such growth, which changes our lives for the better, is indeed one of the great rewards of following Jesus. Mind you, Jesus never said it would be easy, but it is a wonderful experience full of richest blessings.
The Rev Alan Raine
Retired Methodist Minister