Monday, 28 May 2007


I’ve been thinking recently about chicks being born (See previous blogs)and for that matter the birth of human babies along with their spiritual parallels. Is being ‘born again’ always an instantaneous action as many evangelicals believe? Certainly there are examples of this in the gospels and Acts as one has only to think of the woman at the well in John 3 and the Philippian jailer in Acts. But is it not true that before a child or chick is born there has been a lot going within the mother or egg. Ask any mother: she knows well before the child is born that that she is going to give birth ( apart from the odd exceptions). There was a physical process going on within the mother. Even before conception there was the relationship between the man and woman. They had to meet up for the first time and develop that relationship. They wouldn’t have always known each other. If they had never met up the child would never have been born. In fact if the same process had not happened for their parents they would never had been born- and we can go as far back to our first parents and to God our Father who first breathed life into them. If one of the relationships had not occurred previously we would not be here. Without the Grandparents the grandchildren would not be here.

Back to the spiritual parallel. Paul writes to the Galatians:
'My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you'.
He had obviously laboured previously for them and because they were going back to their old ways he had to labour for them again. It was therefore a process.
When looking back on his own life he wrote:
'But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles'.

God set him apart from birth, yet the process continued until after his Damascus Road experience when he met Ananias who prayed for him. (Acts 9)
Jeremiah writes:
'The word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations'.

Paul also records elsewhere that we were chosen before the foundation of the world.

If we look back on our own lives we may be surprised to see how God was working: despite our rebellion and sin. And for those we seek to bring to God we should not be surprised that God has already been at work there. In fact be very surprised if He hasn’t been. Don’t also be discouraged if you experience opposition or problems. Be faithful and strong in God: He is working his purposes out. Don't give up on yourself OR somebody else: He hasn't.

Note that the video above is used purely as an illustration for this blog. It is not a family video: despite the name.


Anonymous said...

Yes its true most evangelicals like to put a time or date on their conversion or perhaps its not genuine.

Andrew Kenny said...

When did the disciples become 'Christians':when they gave up all to follow Him;When the Holy Spirit decended upon them at Pentecost;When Jesus breathed on them and declared 'receive my Spiit'. THey continually had to make decisions each day as disciples.Even when they blew it, when they deserted Christ they were still able to make the decision to repent and come back to the Lord.I reiterate that it is both a crisis and a process.Even as older Christians we are still being changed and still must wrestle the world,the flesh and the devil. We must beware if we think we stand ;lest we fall.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

From the Orthodox viewpoint, salvation, σωτηρια, is a process leading to (what can be translated only very poorly as) divinization, θεοσις. Sometimes Orthodox apologists (modern ones) like to contrast this Orthodox understanding with the simple evangelical Christian's view of being "saved," and they often do this in a way that to me is sectarian and divisive. True Orthodoxy is 100% ecumenical because of its utter humility, recognizing in everyone who confesses Christ the essential unity of faith, and ignoring denominational boundaries.

I know that salvation is a process, because there's a passage in Paul that says, "We must be content to hope that we shall be saved—our salvation is not in sight—we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet. It is something we must wait for with patience." (Romans 8:24-25, Jerusalem Bible) But I also know that at a certain moment, the Lord called me, and I accepted His call, and from that point forward I knew I had been born again. The process of salvation had started in me years before, but at a specific moment, the Lord made Himself known to me in such a manner that nothing can ever separate me from Him now. Hence, yes, I also believe "once saved, always saved." Yet, I am still a Greek Orthodox follower of Jesus.

When thinking on these things, on salvation, on the new birth, on the life of grace, we must never limit God, nor let our pre-conceived notions or denominational biases hedge us from the Truth. The Word of God in its simplicity can be understood, believed and practiced by all, even a child (especially a child!). It's only when we get so immured by our knowledge and wisdom that the Truth becomes less than the naked Word, that we play with it as we play a game of handball in a closed court.

Go with God, my brother!

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