Ever notice how people react these days, to the question of “Are you saved?” The meaning and ‘punch’ of what that question meant has become blurred through time and one horrific life event after another.
Whether watched over the news or experienced in your personal life, if you have been “saved” you may wonder why you are still struggling and in pain and/or confusion about what you thought would change in your life after you were ‘saved.”
The hidden lie behind ‘being saved’ is actually a very subtle and quiet assumption that comes with being human. “If I’m saved, I’m SAVED – right?”
Saved from what? Believing that a new convert understands what “being saved’ means, is an error that needs to be corrected. Assumptions can be deadly, and in this case, eternally so.
Jesus said to Nicodemus “… Ye must be born again.” Nicodemus was confused and asked Jesus how he was supposed to crawl back into his mother’s womb to be born … again. And Jesus continues to explain that being born of the flesh is one thing, being born of the spirit is quite another.
Therein lies the problem. It’s the perception that Nicodemus held, which is a common human perception. Only being able to comprehend what it is that we understand and see ‘in the natural” or in our natural state on this Earth. We know what we see, what we feel, what we eat, what we smell, and we perceive them only in that context. The context of here and now.
Running parallel to that are those things which cannot be seen – as in the wind, which Jesus uses as an example. We can see the effect of it, for good or bad, but we can’t see IT.
Our desire that being ‘saved’ is a once-for-all event, a catch-all occurrence and then all of our problems will disappear is a trap that is not addressed often when “getting a person saved.”
Jesus said, “you must be BORN AGAIN” – new birth. New beginnings. Out of death and into life. Out of darkness and into the light. It is just as much a birth of newness and life as a newborn baby entering this world.
And just as a new born baby must be fed, diapered, loved, watched over, attended to, taught and guided, so a new baby in Christ must be mentored in the same manner.
But because this spiritual birth happens in an adult body, or a child that is well on his or her way to growing up, the fact that their newly born spirit is still in infancy is easily over-looked.
The cares of this world choke out the new life and what the person is familiar with in their natural state, clouds over and confuses their new birth experience.
“…. work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 Points out the need to actually WORK on our salvation.
Taking responsibility for our choices and actions, to tend to our growth and the renewing of our mind is our own responsibility. We are not “saved” from responsibility.
There is no magic wand … there is NEW BIRTH. Old things passing away, all things becoming NEW. The past is forgiven and a clean slate lays before you. There is still a harvest that occurs in our lives which you need to understand.
Just as a baby is born into a family doesn’t pay off the mortgage, so a new birth of the spirit doesn’t solve your Earthly problems. Expecting that of yourself – or of anyone else who is “saved” from spiritual death is foolishness.
Unfortunately this very assumption is more common than you know, because the responsibility of working out your own salvation was laid to the side in the hope that everything that was bad in a life, will suddenly become good. Millions of disappointed people have left the church or fallen to the way side because of this mistaken and assumed belief.
For those who are asking, it’s actually a huge relief that the responsibility lies with you – and that God has provided a way of salvation for you in this world. His Holy Spirit guides, comforts and teaches you how to renew your mind, how to make better decisions, how to forgive.
That means – perfection is something we walk towards. Not something that happens over night. Breathe … and be realistic. Do the work, one moment at a time, notice your choices and thoughts as well as the world around you that was created from your upbringing and the choices you’ve already made.
Now take steps to change them – while you heal and while you renew your mind (which got you to where you are now, in the first place)
There is plenty of grace for this journey. Forgiveness abounds, all that is needed is for you to receive it and walk it out … one step at a time.
Here’s a great post with a magnificent illustration in a video that will give you the perfect metaphor for visualizing this miraculous process of being Born Again.