“No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
John 3:3 (NIV)
What wouldn’t we give for a fresh start, a new beginning? The good news is that a new beginning is exactly what Jesus gives us. In fact, he gives us a new birth.
Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish high council, knew that Jesus’ statement could not be taken literally, so he asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old?… Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (v 4).
Jesus explained: “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (v 6). For physical life, a person needs a physical birth. For spiritual life, a person needs a spiritual birth.
Nicodemus, and Judaism in general, focused on the physical. They were concerned about purity laws, time and place, rules and rituals. Although they knew that God was Spirit, they expected his kingdom to be a physical kingdom like the kingdoms of this world, with geographic territory, agriculture and the enforcement of laws.
The Holy Spirit, like wind, cannot be seen, but the results of the Spirit’s work can be seen. The Spirit changes people, and the change, although sometimes slower than we would like, is evidence that the Spirit is working.
This new birth, this life in the Spirit, is God’s gift to us. When we are “born of the Spirit” we enter nothing less than a new life, a life in Jesus, a life led by the Spirit, a life in fellowship with the Father.
If we believe in Christ, we have fellowship with him and the Father. But if we do not put our faith in Christ, then we “stand condemned”, as John 3:18 puts it, because, we haven’t accepted the only rescue that there is — God’s own Son.
Jesus said in John 6:40, “…my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Father, thank you for the new start I have received from Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Thank you that the Spirit works in me.
Study by Joseph Tkach