Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Born [again] Identity

I am always trying to find frames to accentuate the Message. A current one in use is the Bourne series of movies. They provide an action-packed storyline for a man who wakes up to discover himself in the middle of a dark ocean...

Taking the tiles of these, I have framed the Born [again] experience described in the New Testament.

The first installment is the Born [again] Identity. Who am I as a "born again" individual? The actuality is that much like Jason Bourne, we awaken to find ourselves adrift and wounded. Someone has attempted to destroy us.

Born [again]...what?
1 Peter 1.1 - 2.3 details what it means to be Born [again.] We are chosen, set apart and infused with "the divine nature." God deposited His seed, the Word, into us and now a new life is growing. We are being made new, the old is gone and the new has come. He has given us the right to become His children (John 1.12.)

How does this happen? We believe [TRUST] Jesus and receive Him. He is infusing us with His life. Imagine a vase filled with water colored with blue dye. Imagine placing a white carnation into that vase. As the carnation draws life from the water, it also takes on its color. As we believe/receive, the life of Jesus not only sustains but stains or marks us with His identity.

Born [again] what?
In the front leaf of a New Testament, I keep a series of Evangelism tools to lead someone the last few steps into a personal relationship with God. One of these tools, entitled The Life, shares this opportunity in a style used on the continent of Africa. 1. God gave man the Life (John 1.3-4) 2. Man lost the Life (Romans 5.12-13) 3. Jesus restored the Life (John 10.10 4) Man can receive the Life, again (John 5.24) 5. The Life is EVIDENT (1 John 2.3, 6; I John 3.10, 14)

Having the Born [again] Identity does indeed make a difference in one's life and living. 1 Peter lists some of the benefits include hope (1.3), heaven (4), power (5), perspective in trouble (6-7), joy (8), buy out from sin (18) and full-fillment (18.)

Born [again] what?
Wesleyans believe that the cross is not the end of the work of God, but the beginning. What was completed in Jesus' death and resurrection is now being "worked out" in the lives of those who believe.

Peter calls those with the Born [again] Identity to prepare for action, be self-controlled, to stop being conformed to evil desires, to be holy, and to love deeply (1 Peter 1.17-22.) He further calls us to rid ourselves of attitudes and actions that destroy us and those around us (1 Peter 2.1.) Lastly, he calls us to grow in our relationship through internalizing the Word.

In a culture of those living life-styles that are contrary to Scripture and yet claiming to "know I'm born-again," we need to bring our Born [again] Identity into conformity with the description in the Bible.

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