Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Birth: Why?

John 3:1-8

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
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.”    NIV  Bible Gateway.com

   The most horrible mistake people can make is also the one they can never correct - namely, living without God, only to die later and face the Savior whom they rejected. Choosing to live in denial about who Jesus Christ is does not change the reality of what will happen one day. God has gone to great lengths to put His truth into written form and protect it down through the ages so we could spend eternity with Him. It is foolishness to ignore His words.
   Nicodemus, a Pharisee and teacher, might have made this mistake, had he followed the thinking of his colleagues. He was a member of the Sanhedrin - the ruling council that tried to discern false teaching and make sure God's law was upheld. Realizing the signs Jesus performed were beyond the ability of a mere man, Nicodemus came at night to ask questions. The Lord simply said that "unless one is born again" he could not see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). This must have come as a surprise to the Pharisee, who had been confident of his own religion and morality.
   Are you like Nicodemus? In other words, does comparing yourself with others make you feel pretty good? Do you, like some people, believe good deeds and religious behavior can earn you a place in heaven? No matter how much you wish this to be true, the Bible teaches otherwise: We've all come into the world with a sinful nature, and our sin has separated us from God. Simply being good doesn't bridge that gap or change the fact that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). There's only one way to salvation - through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
Stanley, Charles F. "New Birth: Why?" In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living November 2016. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries. page 27. 

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