Church Life in The Philippines – The Born Again Experience! by Daisy Angeline Lavilles

Church Life in The Philippines – The Born Again Experience! by Daisy Angeline Lavilles

The Holy Bible, in John 3:3 says, Jesus answered and said to Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be BORN AGAIN , he cannot see the kingdom of  God.

What does it mean to be born again?

The phrase born again is not a physical experience, nor an emotional one, but a spiritual rebirth. We all came into the world as babies when we came out of our mothers womb, and live as humans in the physical realm. However, being born again is in a spiritual realm, and is experienced by people who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. One who is born again enters into a personal relationship with Christ, living according to His Word and Will! He turns away from his past sins and commits to live a clean, holy life. It is not a religion, but a personal relationship with the Lord. Becoming born again is a personal choice, open for everyone to receive.

How is a person born again?

Jesus answered Nicodemus about his question, and said , Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot  enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5). This Bible verse refers to baptism in water followed by baptism with holy spirit. (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4). The first person to be born again was Jesus. John the Baptist baptized him in the Jordan River, after which God anointed  him with Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus was born again as a spiritual son of God with the hope of returning to life in heaven. (Mark 1:9-11) God fulfilled this hope by resurrecting Jesus as a spirit creature. (Acts 13:33).Those who are born again are also baptized in water before they receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, 41). They then have the assurance of everlasting life in heaven, which God will fulfill in the resurrection.(1 Corinthians 15:42-49).

Why does a person need to be born again?

In the Book of Ephesians  2:1, Apostle Paul declared to the Ephesians, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” . To the Romans, Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I believe that sinners become  spiritually dead; but when they receive spiritual life through faith in Christ, the Bible likens it to a rebirth, they are born again! Forgiveness of their sins and having a close relationship with God are strong convictions that born again Christians hold on to.

How are born again Christians saved?

In the book of Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” God’s gift of rebirth is not through our human effort or merit, but comes through God’s mercy alone. Titus 3:5 tells us, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. So, being justified by God’s grace, we become heirs of the kingdom of God and are qualified as His  children  by right of new birth. Declaring, believing , trusting and having faith in Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial lamb and paid the penalty of sin when He was crucified in Calvary and died on the Cross, and resurrecting on the third day, makes one a born again Christian.

What is the origin of the Born Again Movement, or sometimes called Charismatic movement in the Philippines?

The Born Again Movement was introduced in the late 1930s  and became popular in the 70s and 80s which is considered the golden era of Born Again Movement in the Philippines.  Traditional /mainline Protestants, Evangelical Protestants, and Catholics alike began to embrace this phenomenon.  First, there was the Cursillo movement, which was introduced in the Philippines in 1963 by the United States missionaries. Then, there was the Life in the Spirit Seminar, or LSS, designed to introduce a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual and Healing Crusades were held in many places, attended by thousands of Filipinos. Still present today  are  the Marriage Encounter Seminars, Couples for Christ, Handmaids for Christ, Cell groups, Bible study groups, etc., all of which were founded to enrich the spiritual lives of people. As Filipinos were hungry for programs that would help strengthen their faith, many new denominational and non-denominational Christian fellowships  were  organized all over the country, which later grew their memberships to become full-fledged churches.

Whatever name it is called, Born Again, Charismatic, Revival, or any name or title, one thing is burning in the hearts of Filipinos: the desire  to worship the One and Only True and Living God  by giving praise, honour, thanks and to serve the One who gave up His life for us all, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! To God be  all the glory!

by Daisy Angeline Lavilles

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