Thu, May 24, 2018 03:07 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-06-20 life & times
The Pastor's Pen . . .
You must be born again
by Pastor Jack Ward

Tomahawk Missionary Baptist Church

A young businessman was rushed to a hospital in serious condition. A doctor predicted that he might die. Not a religious man at the time, he did, however, turn on a radio and heard a Christian song being played: "God Will Take Care Of You." He said that he couldn't get that song out of his mind. He began to pray, and as he did, he heard a group of nurses having a brief worship service in a nearby room. He struggled up out of bed and joined them. While there, he committed his life to Jesus Christ; he was born again.

That man eventually recovered from his illness. Thereafter, for the rest of his life, he reminded others of his faith in Christ. He referred every business and every personal decision to God, was resolute in his ethics, living by the teachings of Jesus. You've heard of this man, who told all of this in a book about his life. His name was J. C. Penney.

What "born again" means is literally to begin all over again, to be given a second birth, a second chance. The one who is born again doesn't all of a sudden get turned into a super-Christian. To be born again is to enter afresh into the process of spiritual growth. It is to wipe the slate clean. It is to cancel your old mortgage and start again. In other words, you don't have to be always what you have now become.

Such an offer seems too good to be true. But if you seek to be other than what you are now, if you want eternal life hereafter, the invitation "you must be born again" is an offer you cannot afford to refuse.

Not only is the offer "you must be born again" an offer you cannot refuse, it is an offer with no compromise. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" are the exact words that Jesus said in John 3:3. Jesus is saying that unless you experience this new birth by faith in Him, you cannot expect to go to heaven. You have no hope of heaven apart from faith in Jesus Christ.

Are you putting your hope in the good that you have done in your life will be good enough that God will let you into heaven? Do you hope that God is merciful when you die? Is your hope based on the fact that God will be fair? By the way, did you know that God is not fair? God does not do what is fair, He does what is holy, righteous and just. Don't look for God to be fair with you, you wouldn't like the result.

But thanks be unto God that He is merciful. God is gracious. But the time of mercy and grace is now. After death, God can only judge you. Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement." If you wait for God's mercy after you die, it is too late. If you wait for God's grace after death, it is too late. Today is the day that you need to accept God's gift of mercy and grace. You cannot expect God to show you mercy after death, for after death there is only judgement.

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