After a discussion last night in our small group I have been thinking about being born again.
The discussion began with someone asking how to respond to a person who says they are a Christian but because of grace--God's forgiveness--they can continue living as they did before they were saved. Could it be the person is not really saved? Wouldn't a person who really understands the love of God want to do everything with Him in mind, to please Him in all their actions?
We agreed in theory this is what would happen, but we also agreed that God looks on the heart and therefore some who are doing things we are judging as not appropriate for a Christian actually have the intention and desire (but because of past hurts or other factors do not have the ability) to do what pleases God and He judges them accordingly. We decided we are not to judge but to pray for them to come to spiritual maturity.
I began thinking about the natural birth process. These are just my ponderings. I haven't put it all together yet. I don't know if it even fits, I'm just thinking and sometimes I need to think out loud to know what I really believe.
I do believe in the natural order that life begins at conception, but it must grow and mature in the womb before it is able to be born into the natural world. When it has become a viable life--one that is able to live without the insulation and nourishment of the womb--it is born into the natural world where it still needs care to bring it to maturity.
In the spirit could the moment we give our lives to Jesus (what we often call salvation) be compared to conception? Could it also be in the spiritual world that we have a time of growth where we are nourished and brought to an understanding of what it means to walk in the spirit with Jesus as Lord before we are actually ready to be born again? Could being born again actually be what we have often called the baptism in the Spirit?
There has been much discussion in many different circles about whether we can lose our salvation. In the natural, once we are born we can't go back to the womb, so it would seem that once we are born again, we can't go back to life before we were born again. But if we turn away and live a life rejecting God, does that mean we were never really 'born again?' Could it be our spiritual lives were aborted before we actually were mature enough to be born again?
Some consider falling into sin as rejecting God. I don't believe that is always the case. We are weak and often do things contrary to what we believe or desire. Obviously, we can totally turn away from God, but even then He looks at our hearts. Often people turn away in great discouragement, not because they choose evil. Is there also a parallel in the natural world that some people die before their time? Could our rebellion cause us to die before we reach maturity?
As we discussed last night, it is not our place to judge, but to pray we all come to the maturity in Christ that God desires for us.
What do you think? I would love to hear your ideas.