In the family of Christ, it is sadly true that many amazing phrases no longer carry the impact rightly due them. Key among these, in my opinion, is the prhase "Born Again". We say it so often that we no longer stop to stand in awe of what that truly means. An alternate wording that may catch our minds attention a little better is "Regeneration." They both describe the same event in a Christian's life, but the term "Regeneration" has a way of making you stop and go "hmmmm".
This is what my mind stopped to do - to mull over the implications, ramifications & indescribable beauty of what it means to truly be regenerated by Christ.
Quoting Needham from his Birthright book:
"For it is God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone
in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be
made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from
us." (2 Cor 4:6-7).
One of the earliest writers on this passage, Chrysostom, the Golden Mouth
(AD 400), contrasted this passage with that moment in creation when God brought
light into existence:
"Indeed he said, 'let it be and it was:' but now he said nothing, but
himself became Light to us. For he said not, 'hath also now commanded,' but
'hath' himself 'shined.' . . . For seeing he had spoken many and great
things of the unspeakable glory, lest any should say, 'And how, enjoying so
great a glory remain we in a mortal body?' he saith, that this very thing is
indeed the chiefest marvel and a very great example of the power of God, that an earthen vessel hath been enabled to bear so great a brightness and to keep so high a treasure. And therefore as admiring this, he said, 'that the
exceeding greatness of the power may be of God and not of ourselves.'"
God did not say, "Lets some light shine into David," No! "God himself
has shined in our hearts"! We are not only "children of the light," but we
are the people in whom God dwells as the light. Not a fading light as with
Moses, but a glory that transforms us "into the same image from one degree of
glory to another" (2 Corinthians 3:13-18).
All emphasis mine.
Did you see it? Did it grab you by the shoulders and shake you? If it didn't, then you missed something totally amazing and shocking and nearly unbelievable.
All too often, we who know Christ go on and live as if Christ is WITH us rather than IN us. There is a huge difference between the two. I still haven't got it completely but I feel as if I'm on the edge of a cliff. On the one hand, I believe I'm bound by the laws of gravity and stepping over the edge will, naturally, lead only to death. On the other hand, I've just been told by God Himself that He has made me different from the rest of the world and that, if I would just step off the edge, I would find I could FLY!
To grasp, even only at its basest level, the concept of God Himself residing in me - granting me the power to do ANYthing He desires - is thrilling and terrifying all at once.
To bring this (reluctantly) down to earth - to day-t0-day living is humbling, challenging, terrifying, encouraging, emboldening, and so much more that I cannot fully express. God calls us to be holy - to yield the members of our body to righteousness - to live in the freedom from sin that He died to give us, and He has "given us all things pertaining to life and godliness." See that? ALL things - we have EVERY thing we need to LIVE and to live GODLY - to live in constant and consistent obedience to Him.
I dunno about you, but I've gotta soak in that for a bit. I'll come back later to hit on the dichotomy this reality presents.