Musings of a Christian Geek about the Word, Geek Culture, Science, Music, Movies, and anything that is deemed noteworthy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Who Am I? Part 2

Part 1
Part 3

Well before we get into full blown testimony mode, let’s dig into how we became Christian in the first place. The description and requirement for salvation is outlined in Romans 10:9-10. “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” To quote Charles Dickens, “This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.” This is the description and beginning of our salvation, we must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God has raised Him from the dead.

The sad reality of this verse is that many churches do not teach the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the key to salvation. Many churches stop at the death of Christ and gloss over the resurrection. Other churches do not even get that far and just tell people to accept Jesus. Recently, a televangelist of a mega church said to confess your sins and accept Jesus in your heart and you are born again. However sincere and ear tickling this sounds, it is not biblical.

Now that we have seen, in the Word, what is required to be saved or born again, let’s delve into what exactly being born again actually means. The concept of rebirth with God’s seed has not always been an easy one to grasp. Even somebody as scripturally inclined as Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin and a Pharisee, had a hard time with understanding. His conversation with Jesus Christ is as follows, in John 3:1-11:

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 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?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 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.” Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.

You might be saying now, “If Nicodemus couldn’t get it then how can I understand it?” Well, as God has said through Paul on a number of occasions, “I would not have you ignorant,” God shows us exactly what being born again is all about. Let’s start in the epistle of 1 Peter where the phrase “born again” actually appears, 1 Peter 1:22-23: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spiritin sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” Before we move forward let’s define the word, “seed,” as it appears in the text.

Random House Dictionary defines seed as offspring or progeny. This literally means we are God’s children or offspring when we are born again of his seed. We see this is true by looking at Romans 8:16, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans eight goes on to even mention us with Christ in verse 17: “and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” This is one heck of a reality. Just by uttering and believing that Jesus is Lord and that He rose from the dead we become sons and daughters of God and, not only that, but we become joint heirs with Christ.

Now back to 1 Peter 1:23, “…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible…” What is so important about the difference between corruptible and incorruptible seed? Well, we will need to have a little history lesson. Romans 5:12 is our primer for the lesson at hand: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” This one man who caused sin to enter the world is the first man, Adam. Through his disobedience by eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he brought sin and death into this world and with them, corruptible seed. Every man passes down sin to his children, which, in turn, leads eventually to death. As we see in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death…” This is why man’s seed is considered corruptible.
Continuing on in Romans 5:14-19:

“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

This passage from Romans clearly shows us a dichotomy between corruptible seed and incorruptible seed outlined in 1 Peter 1:23. Corruptible seed is the seed given to us by Adam through disobedience which leads to death and destruction. However, incorruptible is the seed of life and righteousness given to us by the ultimate act of obedience by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23, further expounds on this concept, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Thus, not only is incorruptible seed the seed of life but it is the seed of eternal life, where we will live forever with God almighty and His marvelous Son, Jesus Christ.