It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on infinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. — C.S. Lewis
Christians love to debate the craziest stuff. Here's a favorite: What comes first: faith (our assured belief in something unseen) or regeneration (God making us righteous and just)? A group called “Calvinists” insist that regeneration comes first. They look at passages like Ephesians 2 and ask, “You know, if we really are dead in our spirit, how can we have faith? We have to be regenerated by God first before we can have saving faith and live in Christ.” Hmmm. Good point. Another group called Arminians say, “No, no, no, no. Look at John 3:16. You have to believe first and then you get eternal life.” Makes sense.
Frankly, this argument has been going on for at least a thousand years. I have thoughts about it. But I'm far more concerned that the “which comes first” question causes division and could hamper people from entering the Kingdom. Even Nicodemus, the well-educated Pharisee that came to Jesus in the night, got tripped up on the timeless, supernatural aspect of being born again:
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel's teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” (John 3:9-12)
If you ask me “which comes first?”, I tend to answer, “Yes!” There must be faith. There must be regeneration. Once again, this is God's work; we can't manipulate it. It's a gift given in God's timing and in God's way.
How about you? Do you get caught up in the “chicken or the egg” debates? It can scramble your mind if you aren't careful. I'm not yolking about that (sorry). OR, are you blown away by the testimony of Christ that says you've actually been hatched into a new life in Him?!
Jesus, stun me with awe and wonder today. Don't let me get tripped up with things that my mind cannot comprehend. Rather, free my soul to experience being “born again.” May the reality of my spiritual rebirth be the Truth that propels my life today in all I think, say, and do. Amen.