Thursday, April 22, 2010

Are you a Born Again?


Are you a born again”? Recently a young man asked me. I said, “Yes I am a bornagain”. Looking at my neck he asked the second question: “Then why do you wear a rosary on your neck”? I said to him that I love Mother Mary. The third question he asked: “Who is your pastor? Which is your Church”? I said I am a Roman Catholic. Again he asked: “how did you take your baptism?; did someone immerse you in a river or in a pond”? I said, “I immersed myself in the living water”. “Living water?! What is that”? He asked. I said the living water is the Word of God. I immersed myself in the Word and IT cleansed me and sanctified me. I received the power of the Holy Spirit.

There are many around us looking for some prey, so that they can catch them and misguide them by misinterpreting the Word of God. Many catholics are falling in their trap. They teach that to get salvation one should be baptized again by immersing in water, because Jesus has said “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved’’ (Mark 16:16). They teach that only adult baptism gives salvation. Jesus was baptized only at the age of thirty.

When you hear such explanations what will be your response? Sometimes many keep quiet. It is a chance for them to mislead you because you are ignorant. Jesus was baptized only at the age of thirty; it is a fact. However, it may be noted that the Jewish people never had the custom of baptizing infants or adults. It was only John the Baptist who started to give baptism with water. So Jesus was baptized at the age of thirty. But when he was an infant his parents had completed all the practices required by the Jewish custom. Accordingly Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21) and presented in the temple (Luke 2:22).

Centuries ago our forefathers who were pagans were baptized as adults by some unknown believers and they became Christians. When they had children the latter were baptized in their infancy without their knowledge. If Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day and was presented in the temple on the 33rd day according to the custom of Moses what is wrong in baptizing a child? It may be noted that Jesus was circumcised and presented in the temple without his permission.

Through baptism one enters the kingdom of God, that is, he becomes a member of the kingdom of God. That membership entitles him to enter the kingdom of heaven after death. So by giving baptism to a child you are safeguarding its salvation. Baptism assures salvation, that is, entry into paradise, provided one leads a holy life. When a child is baptized he becomes eligible to enter heaven. Suppose the child dies without obtaining baptism where shall the soul go? Since that child is not a member of the kingdom of God it has no guarantee that it will be saved.

Jesus said “To enter in the Kingdom of God one has to be born by water and spirit” (John 3:5). The Holy Sacrament of baptism enables you to enter the kingdom of God. By baptism one is born by water and spirit. When Jesus was baptized he was immersed in the river of Jordan. When he came up from the water the Holy Spirit descended upon him. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. When a child is baptized with water and oil the Holy Spirit comes upon him. His body then becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Those who oppose child baptism reject the Holy Spirit. It is God who creates every human being. It is His will to make everyone holy and his dwelling place. The Catholic faith is that with baptism the Holy Spirit makes the body of a child His holy temple.

We read in the Bible that one day some people carried a paralytic before Jesus. Seeing their faith Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven”. Then he said, “Stand up, take your mat and go to your home”. (Mark 2:1-12). Jesus healed the paralytic not because of his faith but because of the faith of the four people who brought him there.

A child is carried by four people to church for baptism, his parents and godparents. It is because of the faith of the parents that the Church baptizes the child. If Jesus healed the paralytic by seeing the faith of the four who carried him, what is wrong in baptizing a child when he is brought by his parents?

A child inherits all the good and bad qualities of parents. And he is an heir to the parents’ wealth as well. If a child inherits the character, image and wealth from parents can’t he inherit their spiritual wealth through child baptism?

Jesus said “You must be born from above’’ (Jn. 3:7). What is the meaning of born again? Born again experience happens in one’s inner being, not outwardly. We all are born of flesh. “What is born of the flesh is flesh” (Jn. 3:6)! Those who are born of the flesh are led by lust of the flesh. A child of God should not be led by the flesh, but by the Spirit of God. The Word says, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God’’ (Rom. 8:14). To become a child of God, a spiritual being, one should be born from above. “Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them. They cannot sin” (1 Jn. 3:9).

Those who have been born of God do not sin. How can one be born of God? God is the creator of all. He created them in His image and resemblance. But men through their sins rejected God. They became children of the devil. “Those who commit sin is a child of the devil’’ (1 Jn. 3:8). “The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way’’ (1 Jn. 3:10). So those who commit sin are the children of the devil. The devil makes them his children, not to love or save baptismbut to kill and destroy them. God wanted to redeem the children from the slavery of the devil. Those who have sinned are dead before God. So He wished to give them a new birth. For this God sends out His Word and saves everyone. “He sent out His Word and healed them and delivered them from destruction’’ (Ps. 107:20). It is the Word of God that gives a new birth to a sinner. By hearing and believing the Word of God one becomes a child of God. “But to all who received him who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God’’ (Jn. 1:12). To receive him means to receive his Word. Those who receive the Word and allow the Word to become flesh in their heart receive Jesus. They are born of God. They are led by the Spirit of God.

At the age of thirty-two I received the Word. I gave my heart to Jesus. Before that Jesus was not in my heart because the Word was not there. Though I was born in a Catholic family, I had never experienced Jesus in my life. But when I heard the Word in a charismatic retreat it changed my life. The Holy Spirit came into my life. In the year 1988 Lord touched me, changed me and anointed me. From that day onwards I have been experiencing the love of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I have completed 22 years of life with my Lord. God used me to preach the Word and to spread his kingdom. Thousands of people have changed their lives through my service. I received the anointing of the Holy Spirit not by immersing myself in water or changing the Church but by receiving, believing and obeying the Word of God.

I am born again by receiving the Word of God. I am born from above by the Word of God. Now I know I am a child of God led by the Holy Spirit. I participate in Holy Mass with a firm faith and I get life by receiving the Holy Communion. Holy Mary is my mother. She guides me, my family and this ministry. God uses me in a mighty way to anoint many people with his Holy Spirit. All these happen because I am born from the Word of God. The wrong interpretation of the Word by other Churches destroys the plan of God. The Catholic Church should teach people the Word of God. Jesus said, to enter in the kingdom of God one should be born of water and Spirit (John 3:5). Those who have entered the kingdom through baptism do not see or experience the kingdom because of their sins. They are spiritually blind. They cannot see the glory of the kingdom. Jesus says, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above” (Jn. 3:3). Those who have entered the kingdom must see the kingdom. Therefore allow the Word to change their lives. The Word is the cleansing water. It will cleanse the heart and soul. Once it is cleansed by the Word the Holy Spirit will come into the heart. This is the real Born Again experience.

Through this one becomes a child of God. Then on the Holy Spirit leads him. He is the helper and teacher. He reveals the mysteries of the kingdom of God. May every Christian come to the light of Jesus through the Word of God. I repeat, it is not the water but the Word that renews our life. God bless you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our body is created from the dust so its dust. If it is dust, our brain is also dust. Whatever comes, produces from brain r dust. Whatever comes from the good Soul/spirit r from heaven and it is existing.