Thursday, September 16, 2010

I keep waking up in the morning

That's a good thing to have a problem with.
Unless one's quality of life is a one or two on a scale where one is practically zero and ten is being on top of the world in all areas of importance in life.

Maureen and I have been watching a new series on Showtime. It's titled "The Big C." Cancer is never a good thing, I don't really care how one looks at it.

No one in this household has cancer. If they do, it's not common knowledge. Gail had cancer a number of years ago but her doctors now classify her as "in remission and cancer free." Medicine has made great strides in treating it. Maybe it is correct to state that a "cure" has been found for certain kinds affecting certain areas or organs of the human body. I'll go with that for now.

There are a great many events in life that has the ability to sap all the joy from simply living daily life and being diagnosed with terminal cancer is only one of them. There is an older woman in the aforementioned TV series who had lost her husband to colon cancer and she is one for whom cancer has had a very destructive affect. She became a lonely, bitter, survivor and it is from her lines in this series from whence the title of this composition was borrowed. There was another string of words preceding the title that I have heard many, many times but it had nothing to do with a great, mind numbing loss in life. That was "I'm ready to go...but"

In the religious realm, most individuals hope to be able to say those four words, dropping the "BUT" and meaning it with all their being. For we of that ilk, it is a claim that one must be absolutely sure about before it can be stated with total confidence. One doesn't arrive at that point by simply thinking it over in the mind. It is a spiritual milestone, an event that one cannot ever doubt or deny and still continue to use that claim as they communicate with the world around them.

Jesus said it this way. "You MUST be Born-again." He's the authority for me personally.

From the book of John, chapter 3, verses 3 through 8 (New King James version)
3Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

1 Peter 1:23 (New King James Version)

23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

To the best of my knowledge and relying upon countless word searches involving many translations of the New Testament; Matthew through Revelations, what you see above here is the only three instances of the words "born & again" appearing together in said testament.

These two instances, where the two words appear together, in the Book of John, are used by certain denominations of the Christian Church to imply that there is a vast difference between being "Saved from all sins" through and by the redemptive process made possible by Jesus; God's only Son and "being Born-Again" through and by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said explicitly in John, chapter 3, verse 3 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

If Jesus meant what He said, then all one suffers loss of by not being born again is the ability to "see the kingdom of God."

From that point on, many sermons have been preached on the subject and many various interpretations of what the scriptures are really saying has been rendered to the church as teaching and doctrine.

Question: Is seeing the kingdom of God the same thing as being part of the kingdom of God?

Many scholars will tell you that the kingdom of God is within each and every one of those that believe and have the presence of the Holy Spirit residing inside them.

Seeing the kingdom of God aside, Jesus said that in order to be qualified as born again, one must have been born of water and the spirit also. To this believer, the water birth is achieved by being born of a woman. For approximately nine months, all human beings are immersed in and protected by the water present inside their mother's womb. Some may believe that the water part of that process is the water involved in baptism. Either way; I'm covered and qualified and thus, I confidently profess to any that will listen, I have been born again and "I'm ready to go."

The thing is ... I keep waking up in the morning and each time I must make my way through that day, serving Jesus Christ, loving those around me and praying that others will be able to see Christ in me as a testimony to the fact that I have been born again.
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1 comment:

  1. “Have you been born again?” the Fundamentalist at the door asks the unsuspecting Catholic.

    Yes, they believe in Jesus. And yes, they try to live Christian lives. They probably have some vague awareness that Fundamentalists think being “born again” involves a religious experience or “accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savoir.”

    The Catholic Church has always held, being “born of water and the Spirit” refers to baptism, and then it follows that being “born again” or “born from above” means being baptized.

    Clearly, the context implies that born of “water and the Spirit” refers to baptism. The Evangelist tells us that immediately after talking with Nicodemus, Jesus took his disciples into the wilderness where they baptized people (John 3:22).

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