Thursday, March 28, 2024

You Must Be Born Again (John 3:1-21)

“… unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Paul makes a profound proclamation at the end of his discourse on lawsuits between believers. He reminds the Corinthian church that fornicators, idolaters, homosexuals, etc. will not enter the kingdom of God. Then he says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” In other words, the Corinthians had been born again, cleansed from their sins, and sanctified, set apart to be a holy people in obedience to Christ. Because this is the path all must take to enter the kingdom of God, we will explore what it means to be born again in the next six studies.

First, we must understand that it is absolutely necessary to be born again in order to inherit the kingdom of God. “To inherit the kingdom of God” means to be adopted into the family of God as a coheir with Christ, to reign with Him as the son or daughter of the King, to be a subject in His eternal kingdom where holiness is the rule and righteousness reigns. In our natural state, we cannot be a part of this kingdom because instead of being righteous, we are unjust. Instead of being holy, we are wicked and ungodly. Instead of being subjects to the laws of Christ’s kingdom, we are subjects to the laws of darkness. Instead of being slaves to righteousness, we are slaves to sin.

As we learned earlier this month in our lessons on the image of God in man, man once walked with his heavenly Father in paradise, pure and innocent. But because Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, they were cast out and plunged into the depths of sin and depravity, dying a spiritual death. As a result, all human beings since have been born into sin, into spiritual darkness. Their hearts are hard, cold, dead. Only by God’s power and by His grace can their dead hearts be made alive again. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ ” (John 3:5–7).

Read the passage for today. Why is it so necessary that a person undergo spiritual rebirth in order to be saved? Why can we not simply conform to the external commands of the law? What is it that God does for us to make us acceptable in His sight?