Wednesday, October 06, 2010


     I just finished reading HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN by respected evangelist Billy Graham. The book was published in 1977 by Word Books.  That's right, thirty-three years ago!  Of the new birth, Graham writes: "Some have thought of the new birth as a single event in time, while others use the term to speak of all God wills to do in our lives.  Ultimately, there is a mystery about the new birth; we cannot understand everything about it, for our minds are finite." I found this to be an interesting quote. Graham points out that humans try to fill the void in their lives and souls with many things including fame, alcohol, eastern religions, and academics.  Of intellectuals, he writes: "They would like to save themselves, because pride nourishes self-esteem, making us believe we can manage ourselves without God." What a grave error this is! Graham believes that we should not reject the Gospel just because we don't fully understand it. There is much in life we accept but don't fully grasp. He writes: "If the human mind could fully prove God, He would be no greater than the mind that proves Him."
     Graham tackles the question of the eternal destiny of those who have never heard of Christ: "I am convinced that when a man sincerely searches for God with all his heart, God will reveal Himself in some way.  A person, a bible, or some experience with believers will be used by God to reach the one who seeks." This answer will not satisy everyone, but I think it is pretty decent.  Graham believes there are false religions who will use Christian terms such as 'messiah' and 'salvation', so we have to be on the lookout.  He believes, as do I, that there is only one way to heaven: "Nothing could be more grossly wrong than the old cliche that 'any religion will do, as long as you're sincere'." He reminds us that Abel brought God a blood sacrifice that pleased Him, while Cain did not.
     Sin is what separates us from God. It is 'living for self'.  He writes: "Sin is like cancer.  It destroys step by step. Slowly, without our realizing its insidious onslaught, it progresses until finally the diagnosis is pronounced; sick to death."  There is hope though.  God sent His innocent and pure, only Son, Jesus, who was fully God and fully man at the same time, to redeem us.  Graham proclaims: "The only human hope for peace lies at the cross of Christ, where all men, no matter what their background of nationality or race, can become a new brotherhood." The resurrection of Christ is key to the Christian faith. If Jesus did not rise up after three days, then our faith is worth nothing, and is 'folly'.  If we believe in this tremendous event there is much to be gained: "If you trust the resurrected Christ as your Lord and Savior, He will be with you when you die, and will give you life with Him forever."
     In order to come to Christ, we must repent of our sins and change our lifestyle.  Johnny Cash is an example of someone who did this. Only God can help us do this.  (Anyone who is a Christian knows this is a lifelong process in many ways in my opinion).  When we become a Christian, we are forgiven of our sins, past, present, and future.  We are adopted by God, and filled with His Spirit.
     To conclude the book, Graham prescribes three things to help a new Christian grow in their faith. These three things are spiritual food if you will. They are Scripture reading (the Bible), prayer, and Christian fellowship (church, small prayer groups, etc).
     Having been a Christian since 1986, I found HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN, to be a good refresher on the basics of the Christian faith.  It was also a good reminder of how salvation works and what follows.