Recently I was asked on a blog on which I have been posting that is not my own: “what do you mean by being ‘born again’? What does that mean to you?”
Following is my answer
Ok —, since you were a fundamentalist and are now an evangelical I thought you knew what I meant? So I am assuming that you don’t believe that being born again is as you were taught it, and therefore not to be a valid experience in the life of the believer. So I’ll begin by pointing out a few of Jesus’ statements.
Matthew 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Luke 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Mark 12:36 David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.”’
John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 14:16-17 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
John 16:13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Now if one annualized these Scriptures it is not hard to see that the Holy Spirit was intended to have an active role in the life of the believer. So now having considered that fact I will ask you to consider what this means to me in my experience based on the following scripture:
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
I was raised going to church — a lot. I heard Hell fire sermons. I was tried and convicted from many a pulpit and found wanting. I walked the isle
In church, I raised my hand after Billy Graham films, but nothing happened. I began to think that I was not among the chosen. Later in life at around 20 I started to believe that faith meant that I would never know for sure but still I must believe — that is what faith meant — right? Then I started reading the Bible for myself, the scriptures had a certain draw, something I could not explain. I developed a hunger to know what is God’s truth. By now I’m 25 years old married and a father. I now know what it means to love a son. I’m one evening sitting — of all places — in my living room reading The Cross and The Switchblade, and I am overcome with God’s love for me (it’s like He is right there with me), I hear Him say “Jerry only I can do for you what you have been trying to do for yourself.”. I wept, and for the first time I am loving God not trying to figure Him out. I knew that He loves me. I now fully understand the price He paid to purchase me. For the first time I had no more doubts about what it meant to be born again, something had changed inside me, I was sorrowing over my part in placing His son on the cross, and I felt a cleanness that I had never before felt. I wanted to tell the world about this newness this freshness, that came as a result of my accepting God’s love and returning it back to Him. The scriptures are now not just drawing me they are coming alive to me. I could go on but I’ll through this back to you for comment.
This experience of being born again is one that each of us will experience but not necessarily in the same way as I did, there may be other avenues to finding the born again experience but Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is where God met me and changed me in the inner man.