What is the proof and guarantee that we are born again? This is where it is also necessary to have a clear answer.
If you were to ask serious Christians this question, I think the vast majority would say that the mark of being born again is that we have a radically different attitude towards sin. And while I think that is not incorrect, I think that the Christian’s changed response to sin is the second part of the answer. Many of us miss the very important step that comes FIRST
Let me illustrate with a story that we are familiar with: The story of the lost son in Luke 15:11-32. I’d like to use this story as a parable of what it means to be born again.
All of us have squandered the inheritance that the Lord has given us. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But when we come to our senses, we realize that God is not a hard taskmaster, but rather a God who loves us like a father does. And even the angels in the house of God are satisfied and filled up, while we, who are His children, hunger and thirst in when we are apart from God.
So we decide to return home, like the younger son did. And our hearts are repentant, knowing that we are not worthy to be called children of God. And as we approach God with the full knowledge of our sins, we find that the love of God overwhelms us and drowns out our cries. The great promises of God’s love for us shout out that we are His children, and that we are seated in the heavenlies with Jesus Christ.
And this is all truly wonderful. But even as we take all of this in, we are still not yet born again. We can know all the facts of God’s love and His goodness towards us, but as long as we stay outside, we have not been born again. We must enter the Father’s house of love with Him. And we must humble ourselves and ACCEPT the feast that the Father wants to throw for us.
Think about that! We have sinned and we come home truly feeling unworthy, but we find a feast in our honor. And our pride and our human sense of justice revolts against this party. We don’t think that it is righteous or fair that a feast be thrown for us – we who were such sinners and offenders of God.
This is what prevents a lot of people from being born again. They know all the facts of God’s love. And they are truly sorry for their sins. But their human logic and sense of human justice prevents them from humbly accepting God’s love and mercy that is beyond all human comprehension.
So what then is the point when the younger son was born again? I believe it was when the younger son walked back with his father into the house, and celebrated with the father.
I love how the story ENDS for the younger son. This is the last verse written about the younger son: And they began to celebrate (Luke 15:24).
This is the end of the story for the younger son. THEY (the father AND the younger son) began to celebrate. The son that was lost but now was found must also celebrate. He must fully accept and embrace the celebration for his own return. Romans 11:33 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
And that night, as the prodigal son went to bed after the massive celebration on his account, what was the prodigal son thinking? Psalms 9:10 (The Message) – The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked.
When the younger son rose the next morning, he woke up with the assurance of his father’s acceptance. And with the peace of that assurance, he would live that day seeking to be utterly loyal to the father. He would hate all that the father hated, and love all that the father loved.
This is how it is with us too. When we accept the Father’s unfathomable rejoicing and love over our return, we are brought to rest. And it is from this place of rest, that we get up and seek to honor the Father and His love with our obedience and loyalty. We seek to love (through our obedience and submission) the One who first lavished his love on us beyond comprehension.
Paul talks about a two-sided seal of God that must be the foundation over our lives: 2 Timothy 2:19 – Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
A seal is something that grips us and acts as a guarantee and a sealant! As we see here, the seal has TWO parts to it; God’s part and man’s part. Our duty is to embrace both sides of God’s seal.
God’s Part: The Lord knows those who are His:
What a wonderful assurance to live with: God knows me. Our pursuit in knowing God will take all eternity. But the fact that God knows everything about me should bring me great rest.
God knows all of my past. God knows all of my mistakes that I have made and I will make.
There is nothing that will surprise God about me.
Very simply, God knows me.
And His everlasting love for me, even as He knows everything about me, is what brings me rest.
Our part: Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness:
This is our response when we encounter the magnificent love of God. We will stay away from all sin. How else would we respond to the infinite love of God? This limitless love will compel us and keep us in the paths of love. And our staying away from sin is not the restrictive chains of the fear of punishment. Rather, it’s the natural and obvious response to the great love of God.
This is how Adam and Eve were meant to live with God on this earth. They were created on the second half of the sixth day. And the first thing they did was to rest (on the seventh day), even before they set out to do the God-given task of cultivating the Garden of Eden. God wanted Adam and Eve to first rest in the full acceptance and embrace of His love. After all, they were the only two of all of God’s creation that were made in His creation, and breathed on by God. Adam and Eve should have marveled at this great privilege. This was to be the fuel for all their labors for Him. But sadly, they despised this great love and listened to the lies of the devil that God did not love them.
Dear family of God, let us not make the same mistake. The very beginning of our lives as being born again and being new creations is a massive celebration. God celebrates the new birth of every Christian with great joy, just like any human parent celebrates their newborn child with great joy. Let’s never forget this of our loving Father. And as rest in His love, it will be most natural that we respond with a love for Him. A love that draws close to the One who knows us, and a love turns away from every bit of sin and wickedness.