“Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”
— John 3:3(NRSV)
BEING BORN FROM ABOVE
C.S. Lewis, the great English writer of the twentieth century, had spent his late teens and early twenties angry at God. As he stated, “I was angry with God for not existing.” An atheist for an extended period of time, he continually wrestled with God. He found the church boring and religion a chore. His belief was that if God existed, he would not have designed a world “so frail and faulty as we see.”
Lewis was a member of the Oxford University community, surrounded by people like Yeats and Tolkien. He wrote his own conversion story, where it states: “You must picture me alone in Magdelen [College, Oxford], night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him who I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted God was God, and knelt and prayed; perhaps that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” The searching had ended. Encouraged by his friends, like Tolkien, he was changed and reborn.
“The acceptance of God comes from something done within us through the compelling force of God.”
Nicodemus, a leader of the ruling class, came to Jesus late at night to talk about faith. As a member of the ruling class, Nicodemus went at night so that his associates wouldn’t know about the visit. Jesus changed the paradigm for Nicodemus, by talking about being born from above. What Jesus was talking about was starting over, being different, desiring to be different, and accepting God. The acceptance of God comes from something done within us through the compelling force of God. This new birth is from God, unmerited but generously given. Jesus asks us to accept it, without benefit, this new way, this committed heart.
“Many nights during World War II, C.S Lewis spoke to the people of London on the radio to soothe their hearts, while bombs rained down.”
Both Nicodemus and C. S. Lewis went on to become strong Christians. Lewis wrote Mere Christianity and was instrumental in helping the English people during the bombing of London in World War II. Many nights during World War II, C.S Lewis spoke to the people of London on the radio to soothe their hearts, while bombs rained down. Nicodemus came out of the closet and acknowledged Jesus publically. He was at the Crucifixion and worked with Joseph of Arimathea to provide the burial tomb and spices.
“God pursues us. We fall and fail, but God’s chase is never ending.”
Life gets in the way of God, as it did with Lewis and Nicodemus. God pursues us. We fall and fail, but God’s chase is never ending. Once we give in to our gift, we are quickly whisked to life as another being. We are still “frail and faulty,” but our lives have changed.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
How does God pursue us?
What has been our journey in faith?
Why does God love us?