The term "born-again" comes from the story in John 3 where Jesus tells the Pharisee Nicodemus, "unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Billy Graham defines "born-again" as "someone who has repented of their sins and turned to Christ for their salvation and as a result has become part of God's family forever." Once a person makes the commitment to follow Christ, he is instructed in John 13 to follow the example of the Master in love, forgiveness, grace, humility and service to bring hope and healing through practical generosity and respect for others.
Loving God and your neighbor, Jesus taught, is the foundational bedrock of the Christian life. Born-again Christians are familiar with Jesus' commandment in John 13:35 to be recognizable by how well they love others in the same way that He demonstrated his love for them. Jesus explained to his disciples that this love even extends to your enemies, charging Christians to do good, bless and pray even for those that cause them the most grief in life without expecting anything in return.
From this love, then should flow kindness. Ephesians 4:29 appeals to Christians to be very careful of what they say: " Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification." Even when a Christian witnesses another's sin, she is not to take on the role of "righteousness police" but try to bring correction in love, kindness and gentleness and let God handle the rest. Darwin Park Community Church (DPCC), an evangelical church in the UK, explains: "The point of discipline is to help another person become more like Jesus, not to punish them for behaving badly."
Born-again Christians believe that as God has freely bestowed the gift of His love, grace and forgiveness upon a Christian who then reaps the benefits and blessings, so he is to pass on the same blessing to others who have wronged him. DPCC describes grace as, "giving people what they don't deserve: it's undeserved favor. It cannot be earned. . . . We owe God nothing for it." So a born-again Christian is not supposed to make others work for acceptance, but rather to follow the advice often heard in the church: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Humility and Service
Jesus set a high standard of service for his followers to live up to in Matthew 20:28: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." After shocking his disciples by washing their feet, Jesus told them, "A servant is not greater than his master," and directed them to follow his example of humble service to others, not be afraid to take on lowly tasks to benefit and bless others. The Bible admonishes born-again Christians to look out for each other's best interests as they would wish to be treated, regardless of social status, without playing favorites or putting on airs that denigrate another.
James 1 and 2 boldly declare that a religious reputation is worthless if Christians do not put hands and feet to their faith with practical generosity that meets the needs of real people where they live. Dr. Daniel Brown of Commended to the Word, a ministry of The Coastlands Foursquare Church in Aptos, California, puts it this way: "Jesus demonstrated God's heart by actually doing things for people in God's name [because He] loves people; and He wants to use [Christians] as His agents on earth."
- Christianity Today: How to Treat One Another
- Convent Avenue Baptist Church: Jesus Teaches Christians How to Treat Each Other
- Darwin Park Community Church: Freedom in Christ Session #11: Relating to Others
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: What is Your Definition of a Born Again Christian?
- Commended to the Word: What Would Jesus Have Me Do?
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