Religion vs. Reformation

In the recent election, a survey was conducted and the question was, “Are you a born again believer?”… Over 70% of America answered YES to this question. As much as I want to love this statistic, there is NO way this is true. It also went on to say that every president since Carter has been a “born again” believer. Again, as much as I love that answer, our country paints a different picture. IF we are that full of born again believers as a nation, then why, since Carter’s time in office, have MILLIONS of babies been disposed of in the name of convenience and “rights”?… Why do we have the struggles with poverty and hunger right here in our nation as we do? Why then, is the United States the leading nation for profits in the Sex slave and porn industry? It doesn’t take long when doing research on this to find that the problem is the understanding of what it is to be truly “born again”. This word comes from a greek word, ?????????, which means “Born from above”. Webster’s Dictionary would define it to be “created again”. It’s very clear that when scriptures talk of regeneration, it’s an understanding that we are dead to who we used to be and alive in Jesus. NO middle ground here. The word we see this culture getting regeneration confused with is “reformation”. Webster would define reformation as “making better, creating something better”… The very thing Paul warns the church in Philippi to stay away from – the “I’m not as bad as I used to be” mentality. It’s very easy in this culture to compare our lives to others and think we are “doing pretty good.” The more we press into that, the more we distance ourselves from the reality of our need of Jesus and nothing but the blood of Jesus! Hell is full of folks who spent their whole lives trying to recreate a souped up, better version of themselves.

In the text of John 3, we see a man, Nicodemus, who spends his WHOLE life “reforming” himself. He used his ability to follow all 613 Jewish Laws as his ticket into Heaven. Yet, Jesus implodes everything he had been taught. Jesus’ message is loud and clear in the ENTIRE text we read: “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME”!!!!! It’s not about religion, it’s not about rules, or anything else. NOTHING but the blood of Jesus!!!

We then see how ole Nick just couldn’t put the pieces together. The text tone shows that Nick couldn’t frame it up, so we saw Jesus do what he still does today: He meets Nicodemus right where he was at! Jesus knew he wasn’t getting it, and doesn’t condemn Nicodemus for it. He simply helps him understand by telling a familiar story from Numbers 21. We looked at the story of the snakes biting and killing the people in Numbers 21, but how God told Moses to make a snake out of bronze and put it on the staff and that anyone who looked at his staff would be healed from their snake bites. Jesus was able to tie this story into what He came to do. HE clearly quotes Numbers 21, saying, “Nicodemus, sin has entered into the framework of humanity. We have ALL been bitten and I am the only remedy to that sin!!” Jesus, though the rest of the scriptures, continued to unpack this reality: “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!!!” For God so loved the world, HE gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life… Are we living a life in that acceptance, or are we working for it? How we answer that question dictates whether we are walking in freedom or not! Are we reformed or regenerated? How would Jesus call you out today?

Soli Deo Gloria!

Ryan Hurt