Born to Give Us Second Birth
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
We both love Christmas carols. They’re so much a part of Christmas. In fact, Martin still gets a tingle down his spine in singing “Yea, Lord we greet Thee, born this happy morning” each Christmas Day. While we perhaps see fewer carol singers in Britain than we once used to, thankfully some still continue, whether for community fund raising, or advertising Christmas services, or for collecting a few coins by youngsters who hardly know the words! Whenever we hear them, there’s always something quite moving – like when we hear young children singing “Away in a manger” or a soloist singing “Silent night.”
Martin in particular really loves carols. But, while he sometimes leads worship at his local church, he’s never yet had the courage to choose a carol for the congregation to sing outside the Christmas period! However, he did once break up a Bible study with a quiz which had a “carol” question. The study was on “being born again,” focusing on the discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus was one of the “leading lights” of his day as far as religion went; but he still needed to be reborn spiritually – radically changed inside by God’s Spirit – in order to see the kingdom of God. Martin’s question was this: “Which Christmas carol mentions the new birth?” No one could think of the answer – well, at least until he told them! It was Charles Wesley’s carol, “Hark! the herald-angels sing,” in which the last line of one verse is “Born to give them second birth.”
Christmas reminds us, not just of Christ’s birth, but also of our own need to be “born again.” So, as carols start to ring in the air once again, now is a good time to stop and ask: Have I responded to Jesus’ challenge that I need to be born again? If I have, am I living in the good of that? And if I haven't, then what is there to stop me?
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:18)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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