The experience of the new birth

Richard Wurmbrand, in his book, 'Tortured for Christ', recounts a beautiful experience that occured when he shared the gospel with an official of the Russian army.

He says that he began to read him the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus' parables. After listening to them, in an outburst of happiness, the Russian began to dance around the whole room, exclaiming: " What wonderful beauty! How I could I have lived without knowing anything about this Christ"!. Wurmbrand was surprised. It was then that he made a mistake. He read to him about the passion and crucifixion of Jesus, without having prepared him for it. He wasn't expecting it, and on hearing the reading he fell into an armchair and began to cry bitterly. He had believed in a Saviour and now his Saviour was dead!

Observing him, Wurmbrand felt embarrassed at never having shared in Christ's sufferings in the way that that Russian official shared them. Then he read him the account of the resurrection. He didn't know that his Saviour had resurrected from the tomb. When he heard this wonderful news, he hit his knees uttering quite a rude word (although in that moment Wurmbrand considered it acceptable, and even holy). it was his crude way of expressing himself. He rejoiced again, shouting for joy: " He lives! He lives"!, and he danced, overcome by happiness.

Wurmbrand invited him to pray, but he didn't know how to pray. He only fell to his knees next to him, and the words that sprang from his lips were: " Oh, God, how magnificent you are, If You were I and I were You, I would never have forgiven you your sins. You are truly magnificent and I love you with all my heart"!.

The experience of the new birth is wonderful. Inside the human being the quickening of his spirit takes place, the exercising of the faculty which communicates with God is renewed. What was dead, revives; and becomes conscious of God in a new way, not as if He was a distant and severe God, but as the loving Father, so close to us.

Life changes, the physical senses even discover an unusual beauty in the things that surround them. The flowers are more beautiful, the sky becomes bluer. In the heart there is a new beat of fullness and joy. It is the man who returns to God, is received into the Father's breast and the caresses of His loving hand reach into the soul.

But the new birth is not only a wonderful experience, but a necessary one. Whoever has only been born once, will die twice. They will die physically, and their soul will perish in hell for eternity. Only those that have been born twice will only die once - only the physical, transitory death.

Whoever has not been born again cannot see the Kingdom of God. This birth is not by flesh and blood, it doesn't have anything to do with biological parents. It is a birth from on high, of God, by which God engenders His children, by means of the Holy Spirit.

The will of God is that all men be born twice, because they will only possess eternal life in this way. Are you among those blessed ones? Have you had the experience of that Russian official?

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