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The grace of rebirth

Text: John 1: 1-18

Focus: John 1:12

John begins to describe broadly how God created everything: Everything came into being through Him (vs. 2-4) and He is the light that shines in the darkness (vs. 5).

But then John shifts his focus to man as a being. Man is the exact opposite of God because he is full of sin. The world did not recognise this glorious and holy God, who is the source of light.

And worse yet, Jesus came to them and even then, they did not accept Him. The Jews rejected Him. Actually they were the cause of His crucifixion. They orchestrated his death.

Still, there is hope, because God ordained it so that there are a group of people who will accept Jesus as their Saviour. But it was not of themselves (vs. 13). They had to be born again from God (also see the conversation with Nicodemus in chapter 3: 1-21).

So, what we learn here is that the fact that we believe is not an achievement. We have no reason at all to look down on people who do not have the privilege of being able to see this light. Every human being is deeply dependent on God's grace. It is He who allows us to be born again.

The wonderful thing about being born again is that it works from the inside out. It begins in your heart and changes your actions, and not the other way around (also see Prov. 4:23).

Artificial rebirth begins with deeds, but when your heart doesn’t change. This is when you try to live a good life out of fear or to show that you are worthy.

Typical of this artificial rebirth is that when someone asks you if you are a Christian, you will say that you are trying to live a good life (therefore the emphasis is on what you do). So, your life and destiny still depend on what you do.

The problem with such a life is that your heart doesn’t change. It is all just for appearances, and therefore the result is arrogance. You will feel superior to people who do not live their lives as “good” as you do. And if you are not good enough to your liking, you will feel that you can never forgive yourself.

On the other hand, rebirth begins in your heart because it comes from God. The Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see this light. You will recognise and see Jesus in all the glorious colours of His love. Your heart will be warmed because you are dealing with the indescribable love of Christ. Every time you read the Word or hear how Jesus was crucified out of love for you, your heart will experience this warmth.

This change / warming of heart then leads to changing actions. The real rebirth begins in your heart and then affects your actions. It is then that the fruit of the Spirit (also see Gal. 5: 22-23) will become more and more visible in your life.

The light of Jesus' salvation must shine in our hearts through the Word and the Spirit because it brings a change of heart.

Study the Word and reflect on the glory of your salvation in Jesus Christ.

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