GENTRY “... Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ... Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:3,5 Read v. 1-8
When Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night, Jesus told him that unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). So also today, unless one is born again, he isn’t able to see or understand what the kingdom of God is.
When Nicodemus questioned Jesus about how a grown man could be born again, Jesus told him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5,6). It wasn’t enough to be a descendent of Abraham and to be a part of a strict religious sect of the Jews; a spiritual rebirth was needed.
(Titus 3:5) and “the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). It is the gracious working of God’s Spirit through the water of baptism to offer and guarantee to the penitent sinner the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation which Jesus purchased with His own blood, shed upon the cross (cf. Acts 2:37-39; 22:16).
The Pharisees had rejected the counsel of God and did not repent and receive the baptism of John the Baptist for the remission of their sins (cf. Mark 1:4; Luke 7:30).
Nicodemus needed to see and acknowledge his own utter sinfulness before God and be baptized into the name of Christ for the forgiveness of his sins, and God’s Spirit would work in him a new spiritual life and make him a part of God’s eternal kingdom.
And, of course, nothing has changed today. Jesus’ Word is still true. Unless you acknowledge your utter sinfulness before God and turn to Him and receive the forgiveness of sins which Christ won for you upon the cross, and which God offers and gives through the word of the Gospel and Christian Baptism, you cannot enter into God’s eternal kingdom.
That is why, when Jesus gave His great commission to go into all the world and teach (MATHETEUSATE) all nations, He commanded His disciples to baptize them “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost....” (Matthew 28:19).
That is why Peter, on the day of Pentecost, said to those troubled in their hearts over their sin and rebellion against God: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).
Messiah Jesus won forgiveness for all by His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross; only in Jesus is there forgiveness of sins and life everlasting! He offers this forgiveness and life through faith in His name. He offers to wash away all your sins and raise you up to new life in Him.
In the words of Ananias to Saul, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
O dearest Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and have not lived according to your holy and perfect will for me. I have broken your commandments and deserve everlasting punishment in hell for my sins. Graciously forgive me and wash away my sins for the sake of your holy and precious bloods shed upon the cross for me. Amen.
[The Still Small Voice, Gentr y, Ark.]
News, Pages 8 on 10/28/2009
Print Headline: WEEKLY DEVOTION: How is one born again?