“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man beborn again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7)
Jesus is very clear in what He offers mankind with regard to salvation. He says we must be born again, not just “turn over a new leaf,” but “born again,” a new person.
Although Nicodemus was a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, he was having trouble understanding this. Satan is still hard at work confusing mankind about Jesus’ words in this passage.
People down through the centuries and in our day are plastering Band-Aids in critical areas of their lives, thinking this will square them with a holy God. None of us will enter Heaven because a Band-Aid was used to supposedly make us righteous. Let me explain.
People commonly believe that if they just fix that problem in their lives God will be pleased and welcome them into Heaven with open arms. If they just live a good life, God would never refuse a good person, but God says,
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
Someone may say, “Oh, but I’m not like that at all.” However, Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) that even though we may not commit an act of murder (for example), if we have unjustified anger in our heart toward someone, we have committed murder in our heart. The same is true with adultery (for example). We don’t commit the act, but we lust. Therefore, we have committed adultery in our heart.
At our very best, we can never satisfy what God requires to be saved; i.e. absolute righteousness.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
We must be righteous, even as He is righteous.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The Apostle Peter says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)
We must be born again from above, and that can only come by truly believing in Jesus. That means we believe and accept who Jesus says He is and what He has done. We must realize that only Jesus can cause us to be born from above, thereby becoming a child of God.
Sometimes folks prefer to self-diagnose their physical ailment, and then attempt to cure themselves with home-made remedies. We might try that physically and get away with it, but it will never work spiritually. If we continue to “do it our way,” we will die in our sins, regardless of how good we think we are. We will meet Jesus on judgment day as our Judge, and He will say, “… I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23)
Thousands, perhaps millions of people call themselves “Christian” thinking a change of character will save them, turning over a new leaf (which never lasts), but God says there must be a transformation from old to new.
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” (Colossians 3:10)
Born again Christians are no longer Jew or Gentile, but a new people, made possible solely by faith in Jesus Christ.
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” (Ephesians 2:15)
[This translation may be clearer: “He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.” (Ephesians 2:15 NLT)]
One final thought, if we are born again and are thereby a new creature in Christ, why do we still sin as a child of God? The Apostle Paul explains.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6)
[This translation may be clearer: “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6 NIV)]
We still sin because our new nature still resides in unredeemed flesh. When we are resurrected by Jesus Christ our old flesh (body and old sin nature) will be gone forever and we will be given a new body that corresponds with our born again spirit.
The Apostle Paul said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
If we have examined ourselves, as Paul stated, and found ourselves to be wanting, let us throw away the Band-Aids and rely on the only cure for our soul, Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html