Reaction to Born Again.
I was not surprised at the reaction to the Imagination piece: Paul experienced the same reaction in Chapter 6 of Romans. You see it is too good to be true. If viewed from the human perspective Grace is stupid. It is washing a pig next to a smelly pig-sty, expecting the pig to stay clean by the power of his own restraint. Who would do that? More than that it is impossible! The thought that there would be provision made for the pig’s natural inclination to go back to the filth: Beyond our thinking.
The problem is that we have lost the wonder that Nicodemus felt when Jesus told him he must be born again. We are so used to the term ‘Born again’ that it is used mockingly, disparagingly of any hair brained Christian. The term ‘born again’ has become so hackneyed and loaded with ‘Christian speak’ baggage that we don’t know what it means.
Imagine someone coming to you one night and saying ‘You must become a vacuum flask’. You would think ‘this guy is a space cadet’; but then you have seen the power of God operating through him and you know he is from God so you think ‘what is this guy asking me?’ The framework that you operate under, the glasses that you see the world through, does not have you as a vacuum flask. So you spiritualise it as most Christians do today.
‘You mean I must try harder, have a tummy tuck and a face lift?’
‘No I want you to become a real hard metal and glass vacuum flask.’
‘But Lord I can’t do that. Its not possible, nobody can go back into his mother’s womb and be born again.’ Jesus says to him ‘verily, verily I say unto you unless you become a vacuum flask you can not enter into the kingdom of God.’
Now you are in the shit. What do you say to that?
‘Lord how can these things be?’
Then the guy says ‘You are a leader and you don’t even understand how to become a vacuum flask?’ ‘How are you going to understand heavenly things when I explain them to you if you don’t even understand how to be a vacuum flask?
You see we have turned the Born again story into the boot on the beach. There’s a ‘born again’ throw it for the dog to chase.
We think that God died to give us a lipo treatment and a rhinoplasty to make us more likeable. Every time we sin we can go for confession, I mean a nip and tuck, or a laser peel to the local priest and then we will be an acceptable wife again.
We have lost the wonder of what God through Jesus Christ has done for those who truly believe. The fact that you and I are New Creations not remade, from scrap melted down, escapes us we can not grasp creation; something from nothing, something that does not have raw material.
So when I read that, it is ridiculous that God would do this for me; that he would trust me not to go on sinning but still make provision for the eventuality, so that I am spotless, perfect in Christ makes me say yes! What a wonderful, inventive, awesome, mighty God we serve.
You have to ask why anyone would choose to carry on with the old practices of running to a priest for forgiveness when God has made a better way. Why would anyone choose the second best when God has perfected the process? It just staggers me! The only way I can explain it is to say it must be an insecurity that is cosseted by the familiar visible versus the fear of the invisible.