Translated by：Evie Xiao
In reply to a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus，a member of the ruling council, Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth; no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again....” (John 3:3. NIV). When Nicodemus further asked how a man could be born again, Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit....” (John 3:5. NIV.)
一個 “見” 字、一個 “進” 字，深深地震撼了我。主耶穌簡潔明暸地告訴我們，若非重生，人甚至無法 “見” 神國；若非重生，甚至無人能 “進” 神的國。或說，除非人在耶穌裡被聖靈重生，是無法在神的國度裡生活的——因人無論在什麼情況之下，都沒有辦法活出一個聖潔、敬虔的生活。
Two words in the above message strike me; they are “see” in His first reply and “enter” in His second. Jesus tells us clearly that no one can even “see” the kingdom of God unless he or she is born again, and no one can “enter” the kingdom of God unless he or she is born of water and the Holy Spirit. In other words, unless we are born again in the Holy Spirit and in Jesus Christ, we cannot live in the kingdom of God--under no circumstances can we hope to live holy or godly lives.
那麼何為 “重生” ？查爾斯.寇爾森在《重生》一書裡給了我啟發。四十年前所發生的 “水門事件”，引發了一連串醜聞，並最終導致了美國前總統尼克松的垮台。而身為尼克松曾經的顧問，這一切成為了寇爾森追尋、思索自己人生意義的契機。極具諷刺意味的是，寇爾森沒有在他最成功、最有權勢的時候，找到他的生命意義；而當他在民眾面前信譽掃地，當他鋃鐺入獄之後，他——重獲了新生。
What then is “born again”? Light has been shed on me after having read a book called “Born Again” written by Charles W. Colson. Almost 40 years ago, against the backdrop of the explosive Watergate scandal, Charles Colson revealed the story of his own search for meaning during the tumultuous investigations that led to the collapse of the President Nixon administration. A convicted former special counsel to the president, Colson paradoxically found new life not with success and power, but while in national disgrace and serving a prison sentence.
在服刑的日子裡，寇爾森匆匆地記下了 “水門事件” 的始末，以及自己身為 “水門走狗” 是如何在主裡重生的整個過程。而正是這些筆記，成為了《重生》一書的大綱。
Colson describes the day he sat in his prison cell and began jotting down notes of the events that brought about the fall of a president and the rebirth of his former “hatchet man”. Those notes developed into his book.
寇爾森回憶道：“我只知道，我有一個不得不說的故事。我希望這個故事，能夠對別人有所激勵、有所幫助。” 寇爾森本可寫就一本尼克松時代的回憶錄，可他非但沒有接受出版社誘人的邀請，反而在禱告中，確定了自己要寫的是有關對於生命意義的失而復得。寇爾森在書中如此寫到：“神似乎在告訴我，國家屬靈的復興始於個人，始於每一個人生命的更新。想做事，先把自己交託給我，我將指引你的路。 ——這就是當時在我腦海裡縈繞的話”。
Colson recalls, “All I knew was that I had a story I must tell, a story that might bring hope and encouragement to others.” Colson could have written a book about Nixon years for he was given a very attractive offer. But the more he prayed, the more he was convicted in unexpected ways to write what he had discovered in his own life. Colson wrote in his book “...God seemed to be saying that the renewal of our national spirit can begin with each person--with renewal of individual spirit. If you want to do something, submit yourself to Me and I will guide you were the words implanted on my mind....”
Perusing the Preface, I found the following passage beneficial in helping our further as well as better understanding of the meaning of rebirth:
The butterfly is nature’s most visible illustration of rebirth. Once drab and earthbound as a caterpillar, the butterfly emerges from the cocoon in beautifully radiant colors, soaring upward into the sky. Free --BORN AGAIN-- just as each of us can be when we are, through Christ, born again in the Spirit. (Colson).
Now the question is, “What are the possible changes in our lives people can behold after we have been saved and born again?”
彼得前書二章九～十節說：“你們是被揀選的族類，是有君尊的祭司，是聖潔的國度，是屬神的子民，要叫你們宣揚那召你們出黑暗入奇妙光明者的美德。你們…現在作了神的子民。” 這些話雖是彼得對猶太人說的，但同樣能應用在今天的基督徒身上。保羅也催促信徒要把他們的身體獻上，當作 “活祭” -- 在靈裡敬拜神，在信徒的家庭、教會、社區及在世上活出基督的樣式。應用到我們的日常生活中，就意味著：
• 存謙卑的心，與你的神同行（彌6:8）。跟神建立個人的關係，保羅將之稱為“以基督的心為心”（腓2:5）。 “在你一切所行的事上都要認定他，他必指引你的路。”（箴3:6）
• 用我們的真心敬拜神 “拜他的必須用心靈和誠實拜他”（約4:24）。
Apostle Peter says, in 1 Peter 2: 4 (NIV): “... you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light….Now you are the people of God .…” The above words that Peter was telling the Jews are truly applicable to the lives of today’s believers. Paul urges believers to offer their bodies as “living sacrifices”–the spiritual act of worship-- the good ways of life believers should lead in their families, in church, in society, and in this world. In our daily practice, these would mean:
• Pray consistently and praise God through Jesus. (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).
• Be generous and do good things to others. (Romans 12:13, NIV); (Galatians 6:10, NIV).
• Have a grateful heart always for all things and for intercession for others. (1 Timothy 2:1, NIV).
• Just and be compassionate to others (Micah 6:8, NIV). We must live our lives by doing justly with ethics in all life; love mercy with consideration for others, when justice has not been done; walks humbly with God.
• Be humble and walk with God (Micah 6:8, NIV). That to walk with God is to experience your personal God. Paul calls this the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5, NIV). If we follow God’s precepts, all our ways will be made straight. (Proverbs 3:6, NIV)
• Be honest in worshipping God. “in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24, NIV).
一旦我們受洗歸主，我們就受洗歸入祂的死，成為新造的人，得以 “見到” 和 “進入” 神的國度。聖靈內住我們心裡，使我們的生命得以更新。即使我們仍然活在這個世界，但卻不再屬於這個世界，而是成為世上的“光”和“鹽”。這世界也會因著我們堅定不移的信心，及在耶穌基督裡的勞苦而有望變得更好。毫無疑問，我們應當相信“美麗優雅的蝴蝶”會過上一個比“束縛於地面的褐色毛蟲”更美好的生活，因這一切都是神的創造。
Once you are baptized into Christ Jesus, you have been baptized into His death and reborn a new person so that you can “see” and “enter” the kingdom of God. Your life will be transformed and guided by the in-dwelling Holy Spirit. Even though you are still in this world you are not of this world, and you will be the “light” and the “salt” in this world. The world will, therefore, be changing with hope for better because of your steadfast faith in and hard labor for Christ Jesus. No doubt we ought to believe that the “beautiful radiant color butterfly” must have a better life than that of the previous “drab and earthbound caterpillar”. All is God’s creation.
Let us pray -- Heavenly Father, Thank you for your amazing grace that has saved our souls. We long to worship you in spirit and in truth. Lord, save us and transform us so that we can see and enter your kingdom and we’ll live our lives in abundance and in glorifying Your name. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.