Grace For The Journey
As we began our worship time together this last Sunday, our church family recognized and celebrated with seniors who are graduating for high school and their families. We rejoiced in their accomplishments and had a time of prayer, committing ourselves to continued prayer and partnership in their lives. In just a week or two there will be other young people who will graduate from a college or university. We are thankful for this time of celebration and commitment.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible speaks about the need of God’s people to prayer and partner with young people and their families in teaching them the good and right way to go. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 12:23-24, “Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
Each student is in search of a degree that will help them in the field they have chosen to pursue. But did you know that there is a degree that is available to everyone, one that transcends the degrees conferred by a high school, college, or university? And you don’t need to enter into massive debt to pay the tuition to obtain it; that debt has already been paid in full by Another. The degree I am speaking of is a divine degree: a BA from the College of Christ – Born Again! The Bible says in John 3:7, “You must be born again.”
This verse comes from the familiar New Testament passage in which Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader, came to Jesus under the cover of darkness, asking some deep questions. During their conversation, Jesus said, “Verily I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).
Nicodemus’ response made it clear he had no idea what Jesus was talking about, “Nicodemus said ot 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?” (John 3:4) Obviously, Nicodemus did not understand what it means to be “born again.” Or, if he did not understand the meaning of the phrase, he certainly did not realize why the rebirth is necessary. Let’s look at both of these issues.
“Born again” means “to be born from above by the Almighty.” In the school of Christ, everyone who has – by grace through faith – placed their trust in the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is “born again by the Spirit of God.”
Here are a few passages of Scripture that define this Divine Degree . . .
John 6:40, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” All this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith – and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
These verses give us a basic understanding of the meaning of “born again.” We must know why it is necessary. Again, God’s Word helps us understand this . . .
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Ephesians 2:1-2, “And you He quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”
Colossians 1:21, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.”
Every one of us was born in sin, and that indwelling sin separates us from God and makes us blind and indifferent to the things of God.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Our condition was utterly hopeless and helpless; we were dead and blind in our sins, and not able to receive or know the things of God.
But the Bible doesn’t just present the bad news . . .
It also presents the great, Good News!
As a matter of fact, in Romans 5:8, we read the two most glorious words in all the English language: “But God.” Listen to what the Bible says . . .
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
2 Corinthians 4:6, “For it is God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Titus 3:4-5, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration an renewing of the Holy Spirit.
We could do nothing to save ourselves . . . but God in Christ offers eternal salvation to all who will transfer their trust from their own self-salvation efforts to Christ’s atoning work on their behalf.
Of all the degrees we could pursue through higher education, the only one that truly matters – the highest, most exalted one of all – is the divine degree from the College of Christ.
And here is the greatest news of all:
Unlike every other degree that must be earned
Through your disciplined effort and financial commitment,
Your BA from the College of Christ is simply received by grace through faith.
There is nothing you must do, indeed, nothing you can do to earn this divine degree.
Simply by trusting in Christ alone – by faith alone – through grace alone – to the glory of God alone – you will receive the most important degree in the world: your BA from the College of Christ . . . Born Again!
Now that is something worth celebrating!
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”