3 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.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [John 3:1-3, ESV]
Jesus interviewed various people from diverse social, religious, and ethnic strata – and His purpose was to demonstrate one common theme: they all need spiritual life and salvation from Him.
John chapter 3 is one of the clearest passages on what it means to be born again. The only way we can be ready to face today is by being ready to face eternity.
Being a Christian, being someone who goes to heaven instead of hell, is not a question of who’s good or who’s bad; it’s a spiritual question of who’s dead and who’s alive. Nor is this about being “religious.”
Apart from faith in Christ, a person is spiritually dead and all the religious activity in the world cannot overcome that spiritual death.
Only faith in Christ, which is God’s free gift, can raise the spiritually dead to new life in Christ. When a person has this faith, they see and taste and believe in a spiritual sense. This is evidence of new life from God.
One of the first lessons we can learn from the example of Nicodemus is that it’s possible to be very religious and still be very lost and spiritually dead to Christ. John demonstrates this in chapter 3. Nicodemus has impeccable religious credentials.
What about you? Do you consider yourself a religious person? Are you proud of your religious affiliation… of your denomination… your church… your virtue? Do you trust in this for salvation?
In the next several blog entries, I want to explore the way in which Jesus probes beyond the religious exterior of Nicodemus to reveal this very religious man’s need for true salvation. And by so doing, we will see our own daily need for Christ as well.
For His Glory,