Do you think 'born again' Christians come across as obnoxious, self righteous, hypocritical and weirdly fanatical about non-essential things? I do too. I am one and am guilty of all those things and more. Throw in pride, sinful desire, coveting, greed, gossip, vanity, hateful thoughts and hurtful words. I could go on. Sinful self-centeredness is the general category. Thank God the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. Not an excuse to sin more, a reason to want to praise the glory of God's Grace in Christ and want to please God in our lives. Real born again believers are painfully aware of how far they fall short of God's glorious ideal.
We claim to have been born again by the Spirit of God because of our faith in the finished work of Christ at the Cross, the Gospel truth that Jesus took our place and paid for our sins and rose from the dead. But our observable lives don't always match up with our profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. All true believers feel this disconnect. God is not broken, we are. And Jesus is in the process of making all things new and setting all things straight.
The term 'born again' has been misapplied and misused a lot. The Bible says that all who truly know Jesus have been 'born again'. ie born spiritually (1 Peter 1:3). The Bible tells us that Jesus knows who His real children are (2 Tim. 2:19) and God is at work in them to will and work for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13) and He is making them more like Jesus (Rom. 8:29) even if they seem not that much like Him at this point. All true believers really want to please Jesus and love people, but often stumble and fall. And are very aware of it (Rom. 7:21-25). As Jesus paid for our sin and worked for our salvation, we are to 'work out' (not work for) our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). We must walk in the victory we already have in Jesus (1 Cor. 15:57). We are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and must walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).
We must trust in what Jesus did at the cross and make God-pleasing choices in life and trust God to change us by His Spirit and through His Word. We must do what the Bible says by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we walk by the Spirit we will not carry out the desires of the flesh (Gal. 2:16). We must focus on the Author and Perfecter of faith, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only perfect One, who is to be the focus of our lives, together will all who call on the Lord from a pure heart. We need other believers to comfort, correct and challenge us. We are weak but Jesus is our strength (2 Cor. 12:9-10). We can do nothing apart from Jesus (John 15:5). God transforms lost sinners into fruitful servants of Jesus.
There's so much more that can be said and needs to be said. Jesus is our everything and we must trust completely in him.
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