GOD AND SALVATION
Why do they say that we must be reborn?
In many places some people tell us that it is necessary to be reborn in order to become real disciples of Christ. By being reborn, they mean the necessity of living a special religious experience. We are invited to imitate those who have lived such a religious experience, in order to be "reborn" or "born again".
But to have such a religious experience of Jesus, to give ourselves totally to Him, to receive what they call "the baptism or the effusion of the Holy Spirit", is not to be reborn as we, Catholics, understand it. We, Catholics, believe that we were reborn the day of our baptism, which for most of us happened soon after our birth.
The Lord taught Nicodemus that he must be reborn of water and Spirit to be able to enter God's Kingdom (Jn 3: 1-21). The Lord Jesus sent his Apostles on a mission and He called upon them to baptize (Mt 28: 19, Mk 16: 16). These are the reasons why we have been baptized. Baptism made us truly reborn. We are, as baptized Catholics, already "reborn " according to Jesus' will. We must be conscious of this and use all the graces of our baptism! In the sacrament of baptism we are reborn once and for all into a spiritual and eternal life.
By the rebirth of baptism we obtain salvation. Afterward we must remain faithful to the Lord! Saint Paul addresses the "reborns" of his time and calls them to work firmly for their salvation (Ph 2: 12).
There is a difference between a religious experience, no matter how intense it might be, and the sacrament of baptism as it was instituted by Jesus. The sacrament of baptism is the "rebirth" Christ wanted for our eternal salvation.
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