How to be Born Again

John Calvin said of the Rebirth, “By the phrase born again Jesus means not the correction of one part, but the renovation of the whole nature. Therefore, it follows that there is nothing in us that is not sinful, for if Reformation is necessary in the whole and in each part, … More

Born Again

Nicodemus was a Pharisee who was a member of the Jewish ruling council (v. 1). When he came to Jesus, he said that no one could help being impressed with the signs and wonders that He did (v 2). Being a Pharisee meant he lived by the strictest possible religious rules. Jesus didn’t say anything about the signs and wonders but replied, “I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God’s kingdom” (v. 3)!

Then Nicodemus asked, “How can a grown man ever be born a second time” (v. 4)? Jesus simply answered, that before you can get into God’s kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit (v. 5). He was simply stating that people can’t enter the kingdom by living a better life , but only by being spiritually reborn. Humans give life to their children but only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God (v. 6).

He goes on the tell then not to be surprised when He says that you must be born from above (v.7). Just as you did not control your physical birth, so you cannot control your spiritual birth (v. 8). It is a gift of God through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:16; I Cor. 2:10-12; I Thes. 1:5-6). The Spirit like the wind cannot be seen or explained (vv. 8-12). You can only see its effect which is invisible but powerful. Nicodemus came “by night,” and he was still in the dark! He could not understand the new birth even when Jesus had explained it to Him. In the religious circles in which he traveled, he was a recognized authority (v. 10), yet he did not know Christ. This Jewish teacher of the Bible knew the Old Testament throughly, but he did not understand what it said about the Messiah (vv. 10-11). He was a man of high moral character, deep religious hunger, and yet spiritually blind. Jesus explains to Nicodemus for the first time his need for rebirth. At first he understands this as a physical rebirth which would be impossible but then he understands how it is a second birth into spiritual life.

Application

I need to discuss with my family the different ways people today try to avoid the light of God’s truth. It is important that I allow God’s searchlight into every area of my life.

John 3:1-12 (English Standard Version)

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

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