What does it mean to be “born again”?

In John 3 Jesus told the Pharisee Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” This statement confused Nicodemus and lead him to ask how it was possible for an adult to experience another birth. Jesus’ words continue to cause confusion today. At times people are offended when told of the need to be born again. Yet, Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Jesus cleared up Nicodemus’ confusion by explaining that being born again is having a spiritual birth. Just like each person must have a physical birth to have physical life, so every person must have a spiritual birth to live spiritually. Jesus says the spiritual birth is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8) in which He imparts spiritual life to thsoe who are “dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) The giving of spiritual life is entirely the work of God the Spirit. No person gives themselves spiritual life. No minister, church, family or organization gives spiritual life to a person. Only the Spirit gives spiritual life. (John 3:6)

Spiritual life is only received through faith. The most famous verse of the Bible, John 3:16, is Jesus’ instruction Nicodemus about how to be born again. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The verses before John 3:16 say, “The Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish.” (John 3:14-15) A couple verses later Jesus said, “He who believe in Him is not condemned.” (John 3:18) The only way for a person to be born again is to believe Jesus is God the Son who died on the cross to take away sin and give life. A person is born again when she places her faith in Jesus to give her spiritual life.

Being born again is necessary because all are spiritually dead. No one naturally has a relationship with God and the life of fellowship with Him. Instead, all people are “alienated from the life of God.” (Ephesians 4:17) When Adam and Eve sinned they were immediately separated from God. They died spiritually. Just as one who is physically dead cannot give physical life to himself or another, so one who is dead spiritually cannot produce life. Adam and Eve had no means to make themselves alive spiritually. All their offspring were spiritually dead. “In Adam all die.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

Being born again is the reception of spiritual life from the Holy Spirit through belief in Jesus as God and Savior. None are born again by their religious works, charitable deeds or moral goodness. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” (Titus 3:5) When a person believes Jesus and trusts Him to give him eternal life, then God the Spirit resuscitates the one who was spiritually dead and gives him spiritual life. The one who by faith receives Jesus is born again.


Was King David Forgiven of His Adultery?

King David was one of the greatest leaders in all of Israel’s history. He contributed more to Old Testament worship than any other individual and his influence is still felt in the New Testament church today. David is known for great victories, like defeating Goliath, bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem and securing Israel against her enemies. However, David is also known for some colossal failures. Most notably, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and ordered the death of her husband.

The Bible says in several places that sin will not go unpunished. For example, Proverbs 6:29 says that the man who commits adultery will not escape without punishment. In Exodus 34:7 God tells Moses He will “by no means clear the guilty.” The book of Numbers describes the sacrifices for unintentional sins, but then says the person who sins knowingly and willfully will be cut off from Israel. “His guilt shall be upon him.” (Number 15:31)

King David suffered terrible consequences for his adultery and murder. The son born of his adulterous union died in infancy because of David’s sin. David’s family suffered for many years because of David’s sin. One of David’s sons led a rebellion that caused David to flee Jerusalem and started a civil war in Israel. David, his family and the entire nation suffered because of David’s sin. The terrible things David suffered suggest he was not forgiven for his adultery.

Yet, even though he sinned greatly David continued to write Scripture. The majority of the Psalms of David were written after he committed adultery and murder. At his death David was called “the anointed of the God of Jacob and the sweet Psalmist of Israel.” (2 Samuel 23:1) David had an incredible relationship with God after his terrible sin. This suggests he was forgiven for his adultery. Was David forgiven of his adultery and murder or not?

David suffered terrible consequences of his sin during his life. However, earthly consequences of sin are not the same as God’s eternal punishment. The wages of sin is not a bad life, but eternal death. (Romans 6:23) Those who are the children of God, as David was, will be chastened by God to bring them to repentance and to show God’s holiness. They will endure earthly punishment for severe sin but will not suffer God’s eternal wrath. On the other hand, those who are not the children of God often escape any severe earthly consequences of their sin, but they never escape God’s eternal wrath. The punishment David suffered should not cause any one to doubt he was the child of God. Instead, his punishment is confirmation he was the child of God. (Hebrews 12:5-8)

God’s forgiveness of David shows that forgiveness is never based upon the merit or deeds of the person. Forgiveness is always the gift of God freely given to those who trust Him for forgiveness. An adulterer and murderer who brought great shame on the name of God and did great harm to the innocent people he was supposed to protect was completely forgiven of all his sin. David was not forgiven because of any good things he had done. Romans 4 uses David as an example of salvation by faith apart from works. “But to him who does not work but believe on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works.” (Romans 4:5-6) David proves that salvation is not earned, but given.

God’s salvation does not give people what they deserve. God forgives men by giving to Jesus what He did not deserve, death, so sinners could be given what they do not deserve, life. No one deserves to go to heaven, therefore, salvation is entirely and always a gift of the grace of God completely apart from the deeds of the person. If you believe Jesus as your Savior your sin will be forgiven and you will have eternal life, no matter what you have done.

Does the Bible say anything about Pangea?

Pangea is the name given to the super continent believed to be the single landmass from which the present day continents broke apart. Evolutionary science says Pangea existed two to three hundred million years ago. The continental plates slowly drifted apart and into their present positions. As they continue to move they will eventually bump into each other to form a new super continent.

The existence of Pangea seems plausible to those who look at the map and imagine the continents as pieces of a puzzle. The American continents appear like they would fit snugly into contours of the African and European continents. If the Bible is true one would expect to find in it some mention of a fact as significant as the existence of an original supercontinent. Does the Bible say anything about Pangea?

First, the Bible can be true and not mention the original shape of Earth’s landmasses. The Bible does not claim to speak about every subject known to man. Much that is of great importance to humans is not addressed in the Bible. Scripture does not teach basic mathematics. The Bible counts, but it says nothing about the relationship of Pi to the circumference of a circle or about the principles of Pythagoreans theorem. These are incredibly significant facts used in many professions and that affect the construction of many structures. Also, huge portions of natural history are ignored by the Bible. Though Scripture speaks of ants, locusts, goats and badgers, the Bible says nothing about kangaroos, armadillos, monkeys or dolphins. The list of important things the Bible does not talk about is much larger than the Bible itself. However, the Bible makes no claims to be the source of knowledge about every thing in this world. The Bible claims to tell everything people need to know about how to be right with God and how to live in the way God requires. The Bible can be true and also be silent on many things of importance to humans.

Second, the Bible does speak of an event which suggests how a super continent could have existed in the beginning and how the continents could have moved to their present location. Scripture does not say God created the world with one, massive super continent, but Genesis 6 through 9 describes a worldwide flood which could have broken that continent into several pieces.

The Bible says that during the flood the fountains of the great deeps were opened up. (Genesis 7:11) Some creation scientists speculate those fountains were underground reservoirs of water which pushed through the earth’s surface and began to push the continental plates apart. The movement of water from under the ground and the pressure of the water pushing through the cracks in the crust combined to speed up the movement of the continents. This drift would have continued during the flood and gradually slowed down after the flood waters were gone.

To be clear, the Bible does not describe Pangea or the spread of the continents. The Bible says the fountains of the great deep were opened up. From that statement some creation scientists have deduced a possible explanation for continental drift and the break up of the single super continent. Though the Bible does not answer all our geological questions, Scripture does tell us everything we need to know about salvation, eternal life and how to please God with your life. Everything the Bible tells us is important and trustworthy, even if it doesn’t tell us everything we want to know.

Did the Pope move the Sabbath to Sunday?

Certain Christians observe a Saturday Sabbath. Some, but certainly not all, who do this also believe church leaders illegitimately determined to move the Sabbath to Sunday. Those blamed for this include the Pope and the Catholic church. The facts of Scripture and history do not support these claims.

The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week as established by God (Genesis 2:3) and commanded for the Israelites. (Exodus 20:8-10) Christian’s meeting together on Sunday to worship God traces back to the very first day of the church’s existence. On the day of Pentecost 3,000 people believed the gospel, were baptized and added to the church. The first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus is the day the church began. (Acts 2:48) Pentecost is always a Sunday. The Day of Pentecost the final day of the Feast of Weeks, which is a period of seven weeks that begins with the Feast of Firstfruits. Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week and on the Feast of Firstfruits. Seven weeks later the nation of Israel celebrated Pentecost. On the Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection the Holy Spirit filled 120 disciples, the apostle Peter preached in Jerusalem, three thousand people were saved and the New Testament church began. Since that Sunday the church has met together on the first day of the week.

The New Testament tells of a regular church gathering on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7 speaks of the first day of the week as the day when Christians met together to celebrate communion. In First Corinthians 16:2 the apostle Paul spoke of the first day of the week as the day when the church came together. The New Testament shows that the church has met on Sunday since its beginning.

This claim is supported by the writings of the early church pastor Ignatius. Ignatius died around 110 AD, which makes his writings some of the earliest Christian writings outside the Bible. Ignatius said of Jewish converts to Christianity that they, “No longer observe the Sabbath, but live in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up against by Him and by His death.” The reference to the Lord’s day as the day on which our life has sprung up refers to the day of Jesus’ resurrection. Jewish converts stopped observing the Sabbath to meet together on Sunday. From the earliest days the church has met on Sunday in honor of the resurrection of Jesus.

The decision for the church to gather on Sunday was not the decision of any person, apostle, prophet, pope or church leader, but the result of God’s work to start His church on Sunday. Christians meet together on Sunday because on that day the Savior rose from the dead and on that day Jesus first filled His people with His Holy Spirit.