Read: John 3
John 3 is perhaps one of the most known chapters in the gospel of John. It is here that a religious leader comes to inquire of the Savior. In an odd turn of events, Jesus redirects the discussion to that which is most needful: the necessity of being born again. On two occasions in the dialogue, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he cannot see or understand matters related to the Kingdom of God unless he is “born again” (3:3, 7). Literally, the phrase is “born from above.” The idea is that fallen people, lost in their sin and dead to sin, cannot and will not see the Kingdom of God unless the Spirit of God gives them “birth” (new life). The means of this new birth are contained within the sovereign will and action of God the Holy Spirit. Although Nicodemus, as a law teacher, should know and understand these things, he is confused by the expression, although Jesus goes to great lengths to explain it.
Before the Spirit of God birthed us, we were like Nicodemus. Lost in our sin, blind and deaf, we could not understand matters related to God’s Kingdom. We needed our eyes and ears opened to the truth of eternal life that comes only when the Spirit of God changes the dead heart of man. As Christians, we should not let a day go in which we fail to give thanks for so great a work of the Spirit in giving us life. Though many in the church today resist God’s sovereign right and will in the salvation of people, the analogy used by Christ (birth) only strengthens the fact that salvation is entirely the Lord’s doing. Just as we did not choose the day or hour of our birth or the parents we would have, the economic status of our family, etc., We cannot choose life unless the Spirit of God gives it. Just as the wind blows where it will, and we cannot ascertain the source, so is the work of the Spirit. He saves who he will save all to the praise of God’s glorious grace.
Questions to consider:
- How does the new birth parallel our human birth? What does that say about the doctrine of election and the doctrines of grace?
- What attitude should all Christians have when it comes to salvation? Humility before God should be the response. Too often, however, the ugliness of pride worms its way into our lives, sullying the beauty of the work of the Spirit in making what was dead alive.
- Spend a few moments reflecting on the events that led you to Christ. Consider God’s providential care in bringing you to that moment, and thank him for it.