Snoop Dogg says he is “born again” (http://music.yahoo.com/news/snoop-dogg-becomes-snoop-lion-readies-reggae-cd-161013663.html) and we as Christians cannot help but look at this publication with a raised eyebrow and speculation. Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr is best known as Snoop Dogg (formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg) and now usi…
ng his new “born again” name Snoop Lion, is not professing to be a born again Christian but simply “born again” as the reincarnation of Bob Marley. Snoop will now be producing Reggae rather than rap. As much as I would love to hear Snoop becoming a born again Christian that’s simply not the case. I grew up listening to Snoop and I would love to hear Snoop joining the 116 clique with Tripp Lee, Lecrae, Tedashii, Sho Baraka, etc… that too is not the case.
We should take a minute to think about what happens in the new birth. Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:7, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” And in verse 3, he told Nicodemus—and us—that our eternal lives depend on being born again: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” So what does it mean to be born again? I love how John Piper puts it: “The new birth is not like the makeup that morticians use to try to make corpses look more like they are alive. The new birth is the creation of spiritual life, not the imitation of life.” Although the new birth is a new life that is initiated, completed and sustained in and by the Holy Spirit we must remember that is a complete inward change and not an improving of the old.
To be born again means to be forgiven and cleansed, but to be forgiven and cleansed is not enough. If you are still reading this you probably already know that or you have never heard of such a thing. But its true. We need to be new and we need to be transformed and not just a change from rap to reggae. We need life! We need a new way of seeing and thinking and valuing. That’s why Ezekiel (not the rapper) speaks of a new heart and a new spirit in verse 26 and 27: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
The promise is that this with be a heart, mind and soul that is; new, warm, touchable, responsive, living and not like a hard, cold, unmoldable stone. The Holy Spirit will presses himself up into the new heart and gives spiritual, moral shape to it according to his own shape.
What happens in the new birth? In the new birth, the Spirit unites us to Christ where there is cleansing for our sins, and he replaces our hard, unresponsive heart with a soft heart that treasures Jesus above all things and is being transformed by the presence of the Spirit into the kind of heart that loves to do the will of God (Ezekiel 36:27).
If you have this new birth rejoice and be glad because you are a child of God and having not deserved mercy you have been chosen to be a vessel of mercy rather than a vessel of wrath (Romans 9). Do not be ashamed to talk about your new birth with others. Do not be ashamed of the good work of the Holy Spirit, but rather use today’s headline about Snoop to engage into a conversation with your unbelieving friends, family, and co-worker about what it means to be born again and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ who alone can give life and real change.