RED RUN POST
One helping leads to another
I remarked in the Blue Run introductory post that Pentecost changed the disciples and formed the church – but they had already had a Holy Spirit impartation when Jesus breathed on them John 20:19-22 esp. v.22.
Unlike Oliver in the Charles Dickens classic story, if we have gratefully received what is given, we are invited come back for more! In fact, if we have been a little bit open to the Holy Spirit, we will find it a whole lot easier to open ourselves to more of Him. We become more free each time.
It's like giving someone a sip of fresh water and then they're thirsty for more! It's the way it works. That's why we need to be changed and renewed – and to go on being changed and renewed.
What Jesus explained to Nicodemus
The first time we are born again, it is a new birth. It is a particular kind of new birth – a birth 'from above'. The word usually translated 'again', anothen, has two meanings and it can be translated 'again' or 'from above'. However, note that John uses this word five times, twice in connection with Nicodemus' question (John 3:3 and 3:7) and three other times in other contexts where it is clear that the meaning is "from above".
So says the detailed translator's note in the recent New English Translation, which renders the answer Jesus gave to Nicodemus like this:
John 3:3 and 7 (NET)
Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God... "Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’"
An event or the start of a relationship?
You may have thought of this as a once-and-for-all experience. Similarly, some Christians who are clear about the need for a salvation encounter with the Saviour, have a narrow view of salvation as a single event in their lives.
But "born from above" speaks of being related in a different way, adopted even, by heaven, and in heaven a day is like a thousand years. The values of heaven are not about calendar events but the span of eternity.
I want to look at this more broadly. It is a very important event, but also a start of a relationship in which the Lord will bring us back to Him again and again for what He does best – salvation. Why does He allow the difficulties and the pain and the disappointment and the sense of failure in our lives at times? Because He loves us too much to allow us to cruise along and vegetate and not grow.
We possibly could come to Him, dependent and with the need of further salvation, and we could experience Him in a fresh way every day – but we need reminders that we are in it together. The challenges and bumps of life do just that.
Lord, thanks You that I am yours. I recognise the need to be Yours in a deeper way, and to be renewing that heavenly connection and perspective that comes only from You. I give You my life afresh today. May I know that new creation and newness of life that comes from above, as I acknowledge my need and come to You through Jesus, my Lord – again. Amen.