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A New Identity

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3

Have you been born again? This is a question that you may have heard or even may have asked someone. A term that has been used to signify someone being "saved" by God. But to truly understand this term we need to take a look at the context in which it was given.

Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He was a Pharisee. The word Pharisee means "one who is separate". This group came into being during a time of great struggle in the history of Israel and committed themselves to being pure for God. Like many groups, they started great, but then got twisted up. By the time Jesus came, they had fallen into grandiosity and self-praise and were the major opponents of Jesus' ministry. However, Nicodemus came to Jesus out of a sincere desire to discover who He was.

Jesus came right to the point of the problem. It was in Nicodemus's identity. Like all of the rest of us--he was broken. He was "locked in" to who had chosen and trained to be. A Pharisee. A ruler. A leader. Understanding this is the key to the passage and the key to a relationship with God. We go through this life looking to be someone. We carefully paint a picture in our minds of who we want to be and then we project that identity to the world. We gain knowledge, we plan, we seek, we take action, and we work hard to establish our identity. The real problem is that we have done all this without God. God comes to us, and He tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. In other words, let go of who you are and everything that you are grasping for in this world and live for Him.

This new identity does not come from self-will, but from surrender to God's wonderful love and mercy. He doesn't ask us to make our new identity. He ask us to trust in Him. The "New Birth" comes by trusting in His Son Jesus and believing that He is the Way. God sends His Spirit to create in us a new identity. The most wonderful identity ever--a child of God, Redeemed. Beloved, Forgiven. This is the very identity that we were created for, and when we find it we will know that we have been Born Again.

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