The term born again Christian has almost become a cliché in the world, but what does it really mean and have we, the church, lost some of its meaning? David Pawson states in his book, ‘The Normal Christian Birth,’ that there are four elements in our Christian initiation, namely:
• Repenting towards God
• Believing in the Lord Jesus
• Being baptised in water
• Receiving the Holy Spirit
The four elements may occur very close together or over a period of time and all are necessary. And as Pawson points out, Christ’s finished work on the cross is sufficient, in and of itself, to save the world from sin. Nothing can be added to it. Through His death burial and resurrection, He has accomplished everything that needed to be done for us for our salvation. He has made atonement for sin and reconciled us to the Father. But the gospel demands a response! It must be personally appropriated and applied. A person may be entitled to an inheritance, but will not possess it until it is claimed. Their claiming of it in no ways implies that it has been earned.
Of the four elements, faith, or believing in the Lord Jesus, is the most important and it is this faith that leads to the other three elements. As a convicted sinner we must identify with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
It is further pointed out in the book that the whole process of being initiated into Christianity took time:
• For the 12 apostles it took years.
• For the Ephesian disciples it took months.
• For the Samaritan converts it took weeks.
• For the apostle Paul, a few days.
• For the Philippian jailer, hours.
• For Cornelius’ household, apparently minutes.
Clearly the speed of the process is not important, but the completion of the process is vital. Over the next weeks we will look at the scriptural requirements for being ‘born-again.’ These are the four elements mentioned above.
Birth affects life! David Pawson testifies that he was ‘badly delivered,’ and possibly many of us were. He says initiation either took years to be completed or has remained incomplete. In many cases, the umbilical cord to the past has never been cut and tied off and some have never been washed. Others never had hands laid on them in order to breathe in and cry out! Some are barely alive and soon abandoned.
Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit of God will lead us into a greater understanding and a great increase of the measure of Christ within for this is the will of the Father.Post published in: Faith