There’s a key foundation upon which our freedom rests. Before you can experience true freedom as Jesus intended it, you must have a personal relationship with Him. That relationship is the unbreakable, uncompromising thread that holds together every truth that makes up real freedom.
Some who are reading this may not have that relationship. The last thing I want to do is neglect that core concept and lead anyone into a false sense of security, putting them on the path to destruction with a lot of comforting words and no eternal substance (see Matthew 7:13, 21-23).
Jesus said “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. For God did not send His Son into the world to comdemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
Unless you’ve been living in a cave your whole life, you’ve heard this quote before. But you may not have known that Jesus said it Himself. He did, in a conversation with a man named Nicodemus, a religious leader who was trying to wrap his head around this concept of eternal life.
Jesus told Nicodemus “You must be born again.” Nicodemus’ response was essentially: “Huh???”
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase ‘born again’ thousands of times, and maybe your own response was the same.
Here’s the crux of our situation: In our natural state, we are incapable of having a relationship with God. We can’t even know how to relate to Him. Now, we can debate the fairness or unfairness of that, or discuss the conclusions some would draw about a God that would let that happen. Or we can step through it, try to understand it, and see what can be done about it.
- He is a perfect God.
- He chose not to force anyone to love Him but allows us to think and act for ourselves. As a result, we have done things that have separated us from Him. We are disobedient, rebellious, and antagonistic, among other things.
- Because He is perfect, He can’t just let that slide. Because to let it slide means to compromise, and to compromise means imperfection. And imperfection cannot be any part of a perfect Being.
- But, in the midst of all this, He still loves us beyond our comprehension!
So, in review: a perfect God, who loves His creation immensely, yet recognizes that embracing them in their imperfection is impossible. How does He reconcile that?
Here’s how: He sent His Son “that the world might be saved through Him.” As God in the flesh, Jesus was able to live a perfect life (something no one else has ever accomplished). He then died for our mistakes and offenses (so the price was paid and justice was satisfied), was buried in a tomb (evidence that He was actually dead), and then after three days got up and walked out of that tomb on His own power (proving He was able to deliver on His promises to save us). See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
Because of this series of actions, we can have a relationship with God. The imperfect can now be embraced by the Perfect, because One who was perfect stood in our place and took the punishment due for all our imperfections.
One simple thing He asks – trust Him.
It comes down to a simple conversation with God – one that says, in your own words: Jesus, I believe You; I trust You; I put my faith in You; I want You to save me and allow me a relationship with You. One simple prayer, and it’s done (see Romans 10:9-10, 13).
That’s what “born again” is about. It’s bringing to life that spiritual part of us that was dead (alienated from God) by trusting in His work, not ours. It’s the ultimate chain-breaker. It’s Square One of living out Christian freedom – except the best thing about this Square One is you never have to go back to it. Once you’ve been there, it’s all on Him, and He never breaks a promise.