Born again into a living hope
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
It is a privilege to share with you a little of the Good News of God’s Plan of Salvation from the Bible. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, Verse 3: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He said again in Verse 6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Why does the Lord Jesus Christ describe birth as the picture of Salvation?
Birth is a universal experience. Birth involves life. Birth involves two parents. In our case, as Christians, it would be the Word of God and the Spirit of God. And birth determines nature and it involves travail – there has to be travail. Travail means painful work, exertion, agony or labor. The mother still has to cooperate with the way God made things in order to give birth to the child.
Our Lord Jesus Christ had to travail on the cross that we might be able to experience the New Birth. The Prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 53:22: “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied…” Just as the mother enters into travail to give birth to the child, so our Lord Jesus Christ gave His Life for us on the cross.
Jesus talked about it in John 3:14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” The words “lifted up” means crucified. Nicodemus knew that was what Jesus was talking about. The Lord Jesus Christ would have to be nailed to a cross and lifted up between Heaven and Earth.
For Jesus Christ to be able to give Life to us He had to give His Life for us. And we know the reason why: “… the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23). And God had to deal with sin before He can impart this New Nature to us. So birth involves travail, we must never take the New Birth for granted, we must never look at it as some cheap thing, it is not cheap. The New Birth is expensive: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, …” (John 3:16a).
There is such a thing as the travail of the heart of the sinner. There is such a thing as conviction. Each person who is born again has to realize his need for a Savior. He has to realize that he is a sinner deserving eternal death, and this ought to bring some travail. There ought to be some travail. There ought to be some conviction. Our Lord makes it very clear that “… whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16b). Salvation is “…by grace … through faith, …” (Ephesians 2:8a). I think too that there ought to be a travail on the part of the Church. As you and I travail in prayer for the lost, they then will come under conviction and they will travail in conviction and then they can find the Savior Who travailed for them on the cross.
In Galatians 4:19, Paul talks about being in travail again for those Galatians, some of whom were being led astray by false religion.
When they were saved initially, it was because of Paul’s travail, as the evangelist, as the missionary. God used the Word that Paul preached, and they came to know Christ as their Savior. And so it is that birth involves travail.
Let me request or suggest this to you – PRAY for the lost souls. We’re supposed to pray for all men and this includes the lost. Isaiah said in Isaiah 66:8: “… as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” I don’t sense today on the part of the Church a burden to pray for lost souls.
There is another reason why birth is a picture of Salvation. Birth involves a future. There are two places where you will not find a policeman waiting to arrest somebody. One is a cemetery. You cannot arrest a dead person. And the other is at the nursery at the hospital.
You cannot arrest a baby. Why? A baby has done neither good nor evil, a baby comes into this world having only a future. Now this is true of us as Christians.
The Apostle Peter wrote in his First Epistle: “Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3 NIV).
When I was born the first time, I wasn’t born to a living hope, I was born to a living death. When I was born the first time, I was born into a sinful world with a sinful nature and there was no real hope for me. When I was born again through faith in Jesus Christ, I discovered that I was born unto a living hope. You see God has planned for His children a marvelous future, not just in Heaven, that’s true, we have a home prepared for us in Heaven. In fact, Peter describes that in that same chapter, First Peter 1:4-5: “To an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We are a part of a glorious future. There is no living hope here on Earth. But we have a living hope. Our living hope keeps growing, a living hope has roots to it, it gets bigger and more beautiful and more wonderful. That’s the kind of hope we have, it’s an inheritance incorruptible.
But there is more to it than that. You see when you are born again into a living hope, it doesn’t mean just blessing in heaven, it also means blessing here on earth until you get to heaven. That means when the person is born again into the family of God, God has a perfect plan already laid out for him. Never be afraid of the Will of God.
When you are born again, that birth involves a future and that future includes today and tomorrow and next week until that time when God calls you home or Jesus Christ comes to take us home. That’s why we don’t have to be afraid of any day. A Christian can wake up any morning and say: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24).
Remember to pray for America and for our leaders. Pray for our brave men and women in service.