Tag Archives: born again

A Verse for Meditation

Torah ScrollYou have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. 1 Peter 1:23 ESV

  • The apostle Peter was always with Jesus, even in the most intimate conversation. Where did he hear Jesus speak about being born again?
  • Sometimes people talk about eternal life as if it were something that begins after a human body has died. Is that what Peter says here? What is the perishable seed to which he refers?
  • If you are already born of imperishable seed, what does that say about eternal life?

Eugene Peterson paraphrases this text this way:
Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! [1]

  • How does the phrase, “conceived by God himself” change your view of your life?
  • If your life feels like a mess right now, why do you suppose things are happening this way? Does the origin of your eternal life have any bearing on the way you address things that are hard to handle in your daily life?

After these words, Peter quoted Isaiah, who said,
The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever. 1 Peter 1:24b-25, Isaiah 40:8

  • When facing tough problems, it is wise first to remember that you can trust God, and second to try to see the problem from God’s perspective. How does this passage encourage those two principles of problem-solving?
  • When children face challenges, parents often say, “Remember who you are.” Put the words of this passage into your own language and look for the message Peter is sharing. What is it?

 

 

[1] Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (1 Pe 1:23). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

What to do if You Were “Born That Way”

The most widely repeated argument for gay rights and same-sex “marriage” is that homosexuals are born with homosexuality as their natural orientation. There has been no scientific corroboration of this allegation, a state of affairs the LGBTQ activist work hard to ignore, despite the secular commitment to believing only what “science has proved.” Activists offer a laundry list of areas for study and analysis that might provide the explanation they want to hear, but there is no scientific evidence to date that shows how a homosexual can be identified by a biological test.

Proceeding as if such a thing had been proved, the activists indict God for creating people homosexual and then declaring homosexuality to be sin. This argument may be taken as an improvement over the one where activists declare that the Bible doesn’t mean sin or doesn’t mean homosexuality everywhere homosexuality is identified as sin, but it isn’t a gain for human culture. It only means that people who intend to compel other people to consider homosexuality normal have taken a different tactic in an attempt to achieve an unchanged objective.

Suppose, however, that Christians were to concede that it is entirely possible that someone is “born that way.” The Bible actually does provide the possibility that someone could be born with homosexual tendencies. The Bible is not a textbook of human genetics, so the Bible doesn’t deal with it as a genetic issue. The Bible deals with homosexuality the same way it deals with adultery and murder and rejection of God’s sovereignty; the Bible says that every human being is born sinful. People are born lustful and violent and self-centered, and those qualities take shape in a person’s life as acts of lying, theft, and sexual immorality, including homosexual behavior. A person could certainly be “born that way” even if “that way” were murderous intention or lust for someone else’s wife. A person could be “born that way” if “that way” meant that he regarded sex as a trivial game for self-gratification and nothing more. A person could be “born that way” if he considered truth to be inconvenient or if he preferred homosexual behavior to fulfill his desires. No matter what “way” a person is born, the Bible upholds only one standard: God’s way.

The Bible has never said that people who engage in heterosexual marriages were less sinful than homosexuals. The Bible has never said that murder is worse than stealing a dollar. Human beings apply comparative standards; God does not. This fact makes it impossible for one human being to stand any higher in God’s presence than another. It makes the argument between Jesus’ disciples about which was greatest look completely ridiculous. Not one of them could be the “greatest” because each of them was born “that way,” which is to say that each was born sinful.

Despite God’s attempt to cleanse a sinful world by means of the Flood, God said afterwards, “every inclination of [man’s] heart is evil from childhood” (Genesis 8:21 ESV) and vowed never again to deal with sin by trying to purge it from the earth. Isaiah the prophet said it this way: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV84) The apostle Paul said it very clearly: “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:22-23 NIV84) Generation after generation of inspired writers documented that humankind is born sinful. So to say that a homosexual is “born that way” does not excuse the homosexual from responsibility for his sin before God any more than a person who shoots down innocent schoolchildren or someone who embezzles from a bank. Each person is responsible to God for his choices, no matter what “way” he was born.

What is a person to do? No matter what “way” a person is born, he appears to be doomed before God. Isn’t that unfair?

The answer is simple. It is so easy that many people trip over it the way Naaman tripped over the cure for his leprosy. Do you know that story? It is found in 2 Kings 5:1-19. Naaman was an Aramite military officer who had an Israelite slave in his household. He also had leprosy, and his slave suggested he go to Elisha in Israel for healing. Naaman expected to be cured with actions and words worthy of his official status. Instead, Elisha sent a servant to tell him just to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. How easy is that? It was so easy and delivered so casually that Naaman could not accept it. He was ready to go home with his leprosy unchanged. It took the pleading of another servant to persuade him that it was worth his attention. He finally changed his mind, did what was required, and his leprosy went away. The cure was so simple and seemed so unworthy of his status that he almost didn’t get cured.

Dealing with the “way” you are born is just as easy, and just as easy to dismiss. The “way” you were born is sinful, no matter the sin. Every sin is equally vile before God, so your sin is not worse, and absolutely not better, than the sin of anyone else. The way to fix it is to receive Christ into your heart and let him cleanse and forgive all your sin. Of course, that means that you would need to recognize that you are sinful and recognize that you need forgiveness. Jesus explained it to a man who came to him one night, sure that he was righteous and didn’t need to be cleansed of his sin. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, and Pharisees knew that they were not sinful like other people.

Jesus said to Nicodemus,

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:3-7 NIV84)

The cure if you are “born that way” is to be born again.

It is that simple. Jesus explained it:

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Here is the clear truth. You were “born that way,” that is, you were born sinful. If you have not received Christ into your heart, then you are condemned for being sinful. God is holy and sovereign, and he has the right to say so, but he does not want it to be so. He wants you to be set free from the “way” you were born, and he paid the price himself when Jesus died on the cross.

What can you do about it if you were “born that way?” You can trust Christ and be cleansed of your sin. Your life can be redeemed and you can live a fulfilling life that never ends. It really is that easy to deal with the problem if you were “born that way.” Don’t miss it and miss out because it seems too easy.

That is what to do if you were “born that way.”