Sunday, December 30, 2012

On Being Born a Second Time.1

Do not marvel when I tell you that you must be born anew.
Truly, I tell you: 
      unless you are born anew, 
you will not see the kingdom of God.
Except you are born
     of water and 

     the breath of God, 
you will not enter into the kingdom of God.
--Jesus


Two criteria for entering the Kingdom of God:

I.  
Water or natural birth.  
The first birth gives existence.

All things are possible with God, but all things are not easy


It is easy for him to be, for there he has to do with his own perfect will: it is not easy for him to create—that is, after the grand fashion which alone will satisfy his glorious heart and will, the fashion in which he is now creating us. 



In the very nature of being—that is, God—it must be hard—and divine history shows how hard—to create that which shall be not himself, yet like himself. 

The problem is, how far to separate from himself that which must yet on him be ever and always and utterly dependent, that it shall have the existence of an individual, and be able to turn and regard him—choose him, and say, 'I will arise and go to my Father,' and so develop in itself the highest Divine.



II. 
Spirit or God-Likeness.  
The Second Birth gives Conscious Desire

It is the absence in the man 

      of harmony with the being whose thought is the man's existence
       whose word is the man's power of thought

It is true that, being thus his offspring, God, 

      as St Paul affirms, 
cannot be far from any one of us: 
were we not in closest contact of creating and created, 
      we could not exist; 
as we have in us no power to be, 
         so have we none to continue being; 

but there is a closer contact still, 

       as absolutely necessary to our well-being and highest existence, 
        as the other to our being at all, to the mere capacity of faring well or ill.

For the highest creation of God in man is his will

   and until the highest in man meets the highest in God, 
    their true relation is not yet a spiritual fact. 

The flower lies in the root, but the root is not the flower. 

The relation exists, 
         but while one of the parties neither 
  • knows
  • loves 
  • nor acts upon it
 the relation is, as it were, yet unborn. 

The highest in man is neither his intellect nor his imagination nor his reason; 

all are inferior to his will, and indeed, in a grand way, dependent upon it: 
   his will must meet God's-a will distinct from God's, 
   else were no harmony possible between them. 

Not the less, therefore, but the more, is all God's. 


For God creates in the man the power to will His will. 


It may cost God a suffering man can never know, 

 to bring the man to the point at which 
he will will His will; 
but when he is brought to that point, 
and declares for the truth, 
that is, for the will of God, 
he becomes one with God, 
and the end of God in the man's creation, 
--the end for which Jesus was born and died,--
is gained. 

The man is saved from his sins, and the universe flowers yet again in his redemption.


With his mind and heart he cries:


'Father, hold me fast to thy creating will, that I may know myself one with it, know myself its outcome, its willed embodiment, and rejoice without trembling. Be this the delight of my being, that thou hast willed, hast loved me forth; let me know that I am thy child, born to obey thee.'



adapted from various MacDonald sermons, especially Life