Thursday, May 22, 2008

Born Twice #10: What are the effects of New Birth?

CHRIST CHURCH NYC Sermon (From 18th of May 2008)
This is the final post. Read all posts HERE (from the bottom)

And what effect does New Birth have on a person's life?

Well, there are millions of wonderful effects -- being rescued by God is but one of them.

But one mentioned here in John 3 is that a person in Christ has the chance to be radically honest about their life and sin. They can radically pursue a New Life, starting up their life in a fresh way. V17- They know that Jesus did not come bent on condemning them. But on saving them. And they have Jesus as a demonstration of this.

And because they can rest in the knowledge that they are loved and accepted by the one who matters most, they can let their lives be 'exposed'.

Oscar Wilde once said:

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

A person in Christ is able to take off their mask, and still tell the truth. At least, they ought to!

They are able to say to God - 'Tell me how you want me to live my life. I've been determining how to live my life. But now, you determine it.'

V20-21 - A Christian does not have to avoid the light. But they can come to the light, knowing that what they do will be acceptable to the God who has dealt with their life.


NOW -- I can't take away the cultural cringe factor, and the ‘alien factor’ may remain. But it's important to know that a Christian is not just a sincere person, nor a person who simply contributes to society. And pays her taxes. And is nice to other people. They may be all of that.

But a Christian is a person who says: What happened to Junior last Monday, that has happened to me - I have been anew born from God.

And that has changed and shaped and colored everything!


Are you still reading?
Comments? (Thanks Benjamin -- I will respond soon!)

Pic on Flickr by !!sahrivi!!.

1 comment:

Benjamin Ady said...

Hehe--I love being comfortable enough with the computer that I can tile windows vertically so I can type this and look at the post at the same time. =)

That's very kind of you to put "Thanks Benjamin -- I will respond soon"

So ... A *person* can be *born* without ... *knowing* they've been born (in a sense--I mean to say ... a newborn doesn't have the categories or vocabulary to either be *aware* that they've "been born" or to tell it to anyone else. So does the metaphor work that far for a Christian? I mean can one be a Christian and not "know" it, much less say "What happened to junior last Monday has happened to me."?

We can push that a bit far. It's arguable that everyone alive has been "born" in the "first birth" sense (I mean you have to count caesarian births and so forth). But they would say that *many* different ways. A Latino, for instance, might say "He estado nacido" (*maybe*--I've probably screwed that up, since I'm constructing it translatively, whereas there is *probably* an expression/idiom for it which I don't know) whereas an English speaker might say "I've been born" or even "I've been delivered".

In fact even among English speakers from different countries, they might say it in such different ways that they wouldn't understand each other.

I mean to say that ... oh dear ... I lost track of whatever I was saying. Oh well. Sign of old age, or early dementia, or something.

"There are millions of wonderful effects"

(My brain goes "and three ugly ones". sorry)

"*because* (emphasis added) they are loved and accepted by the one who matters most, they can ..."

You seem to be positing that there is some sort of universal "one who matters most". This is arguable on a sort of meta-level, but leaving that alone, on a personal level, they love and acceptance of Megan has done a lot more for me in terms of the "I can ...." department (including the whole exposure thing you referred to) than the love or acceptance of *anyone* else, ever, including the universal one whose existence I have accused you of positing.

How's that for a nearly paragraph long run-on sentence? The Authorized version translators would be proud of me.

I think you may have used the word "radical" and it's variants exactly *one* too many times in the sermon. In the tradition of "Inconceivable". But I could be wrong about that. Did you notice the misuse of an apostrophe in the penultimate sentence?

Later. You rock. Zeta-congratulations on the birth of your beautiful new child.