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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
March 19, 2011

[NOTE: This message was originally published February 23, 2002.]
Jesus answered:
     I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God's Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don't be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. Only God's Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going.

John 3:5-8 (CEV*)

This is a key teaching of Jesus, and one not easy to grasp. This passage is an explanation, coming after the person questioning Jesus (Nicodemus) was confused by Jesus' initial short answer.

The hallmark of the true church of Christ is that people are transformed. As Paul explains it (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15), we each actually become a "new person." We don't make a profession of faith and become saved, and then go on living the same life we did before. If we are truly in Christ, our whole perspective and way of living is changed.

No ritual, adherence to a set of rules or following of a human-created system can produce this change. "Only God's Spirit gives new life." We need to set aside worldly understandings and logic, and let the Spirit remake us as the persons God would have us be. This can be scary, but ultimately it is the only way to true joy and fulfillment.

I pray that we each may resist the temptation to second-guess the Spirit, and allow the Spirit to fully transform us.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2002, 2011 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 26-Mar-2011 21:04:52 EDT