Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Caused to be Born Again

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, [5] who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [7] so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [8] Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, [9] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” “Born again” American evangelicalism in its arrogant manner has tried to co-opt this term to the point where many Christians are afraid to use the term. “Are you born again”? is a question loaded with landmines. If you say no you will be given the most embarrassing attempts at evangelism you have ever seen. If you say yes the people will assume that you are the same sort of Bible thumping freak that goes around accosting people in rude fashion at the grocery store, or litter your neighborhood and landfill with chick tracks, etc. Which to choose? Choice, that is what is behind it all. They assume you can choose to be born again. Just say the prayer.
That is a funny assumption though. Who chooses to be born? Now I have the Mormons all riled up. They actually believe you have some sort of existence before you are born, something they call by the oxymoron “the pre-existence.” But seriously did you choose to be born? Why born again? You didn’t get the choice the first time around, why would you get it the second time around. In fact new birth is the perfect metaphor for faith, if it was but just a metaphor. In reality it is much more than a metaphor. A person who comes to faith, has been caused to be born again. Well that is what this text says.
It was something that happened to them. Not because they prayed a prayer impossible for a person without faith to pray, but because they heard of the resurrection of Christ. They are born to a living hope. That is faith, a living hope. The Christian faith is a living hope, living because Jesus Christ is not dead but living and our hope is his resurrection that gives birth to ours.


Steve Martin said...

Nice one, Bror.

Maybe the Mormons did exist before they were born.

Maybe pigs fly, too.

When someone asks me if I'm born again, I give them the Lutheran answer; "yes...I'm born again...and again, and again, and again, and again..."

Jonathan said...

Whenever a bapticostal asks me when I was "saved" or "born again" I always tell them my infant baptism birthday as the day I was reborn of water and the Spirit. It usually results in a stunned or confused look, and not much of a reply. But I know what they must be thinking!

Bror Erickson said...

Yes, Jonathan that response works too. I don't mind the debate so I often bait them into one. But many don't care to debate, and are often perplexed by that question, because they don't want to give the impression that they are in that subculture.