John 3: 3-8 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Today we celebrate my husband’s birthday. Jeff is a wonderful man, and the day God welcomed him to this earth is truly a day worth celebrating. I’m thankful for my husband’s birth, and I try to make his day very special because he is such a blessing to me. Birth is the beginning of life. Oh what a wonderful thing to celebrate. A new born baby coming into this world is a special gift from God. But there is something even better than that to celebrate, and that is to be born again. The expression sounds strange even to my ears, and old Nicodemus really didn’t understand the concept the first time Jesus used those words when speaking to him.
In John 3, Nicodemus was seeking counsel from Jesus. He had concerns about his own soul and salvation. When Jesus told him that he had to be born again in order to see the kingdom of God, Nicodemus was thinking, “how in the world? I can’t go back in my mother’s womb and be born a second time.” It made no sense to him. Jesus went further to explain what He meant, and He explained that one must be born of the Spirit. The first time we are born of flesh and blood, and our physical bodies are born into sin. That’s human nature, but by God’s divine plan, we have been given a way to be born again in the Spirit. Jesus died on the cross to take on the sins of the whole world. He died and was resurrected as a propitiation for our sins. Because sin is within us and within the world, we were separated from God. Sin separates us from a relationship with God. Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected to bring us back to God. God doesn’t want to be separated from us. He wants a close relationship with each and every one of us. He loves us so much that He sent His son to die so that we may be forgiven of our sins and thus be made right before our Father.
By our first birth, we are corrupt and sinful, but when we choose Christ, accept Him as our Lord and Savior, and ask forgiveness from our sins, our sins are washed away. We become new. We are born again. This new birth causes us to change spiritually. We aren’t automatically transformed into a perfect new being. We will never reach perfection, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it. We begin to have a new nature, new principles, new goals, and new affections. We slowly transform into a child of God as we begin to daily strive to live like Christ. We can not change on our own. We must first have a heart change. The Holy Spirit moves within us to make that change of heart. The Holy Spirit does something in us and to us that we can not possibly do ourselves, and it is the absolute best change that can ever occur!
Third Day’s song “Born Again” speaks this truth. “Well today I found myself after searching all these years. And the man that I saw, he wasn’t at all who I thought he’d be. I was lost when You found me here. I was broken beyond repair. Then You came along, and You sang Your song over me. It feels like I’m born again. If feels like I’m living for the very first time, for the very first time in my life.” To be born again means that we are truly living for the very first time. When we are born again, we have the Holy Spirit within us, guiding us, encouraging us, and taking us to places that we had never dreamed possible. We become children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We become brand new.
Have you been born again? If you can’t answer that question with an emphatic yes, please don’t let another physical yearly birthday pass by without making the decision to follow Christ. It is the absolute best decision you will ever make! If you’ve already made that decision and have experienced the new birth in Christ, shout it from the roof tops. We need to spread the gospel in our homes, our towns, our country and the world! The time is now. Spread the Good News!