On Being Born Again

rodney howard browne

Nicodemus was a Pharisee – a learned man of the law and a member of the Sanhedrin. Nevertheless, Jesus told him that the only way to enter the kingdom of God was to be born again.

Many people today are like Nicodemus. They’re religious. They’re moral. They compare themselves to others and feel pretty good. They reason, “Somehow this loving, gracious, wonderful God will make it possible for all of us to end up in heaven.” This is absolutely false. Jesus said, “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again'”(John 3:7)

Our sins separate us from God. Being good cannot close the gap because no matter how good we try to be, we all sin. It is our nature to be sinful, and we cannot change our nature.

The great self-deception is thinking: I can perform well enough to be acceptable to God. The only way to be acceptable to God is to be born from above, by an act of God. Then the soul and spirit are radically changed forever. We experience a regeneration, a giving of divine life to our spirit. We become a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You may be performing well. You may be serving God, reading the Bible, giving, and praying. But has there been a radical change in your soul – a time when you came into a personal relationship with God? Do you have a new nature through the work of the Holy Spirit? If you cannot answer yes to these questions, you need to be born again.

When We Are Fearful

rodney howard browne

All through the Scriptures, God encourages us not to be afraid or anxious because as His children, we have no basis for fear. Of course, there are reasons for us to be very, very cautious about what we do and where we go, but God’s people are not to live in a state of fear and anxiety.

If you think about it, you can identify at least six fears that are basic to all mankind. They are fear of criticism, illness, old age, death, poverty, and losing a loved one. Although these are universal worries, they are in reality symptoms of something deep inside that feeds our fears.

Some of the root causes are:

** A basic sense of inadequacy. Because of distorted thinking, we often feel incompetent to tackle some challenges or incapable of accomplishing certain tasks.

** The tendency to set unrealistic standards for ourselves. We can go through life trying to measure up to lofty expectations that are self-imposed rather than ones set by God.

** An innate sense of unworthiness. It’s amazing how many people will not succeed in life because they just don’t feel they deserve it.

In the midst of all our fears, we need to remember God’s promise. He says, “Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). We need to look up at Him and not around at our circumstances.