The Necessity of Being Born-Again
2nd Sunday of Lent:
Readings: Genesis 12:1-8
Christ shows us the way of life through principles in the Scriptures, and reveals to us “secrets” or keys to how we are to live our lives. For most of us, we have assimilated the things we learn from the world, but Christ came to show us the way.
The Gospel today tells us that Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night. Nicodemus was a pharisee, a member of the elite, ruler of the Jews, separated from an ordinary life. Why did he choose the night instead of daytime to come to Jesus? He was most likely a very busy man and had to finish his business during the day. Or, he may have chosen the night so that the other pharisees would not see him. He then calls Jesus, “Rabbi,” recognizing that Jesus comes from God. He had a sensitive spirit and addressed Jesus as a teacher. It does not necessarily mean that he is a believer, he just recognizes that God is with Jesus. There were 3 instances that Jesus mentions, “Truly, truly I say to you.” This would indicate that a thing is indeed the truth. “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Jesus is talking to us as well that we need to really understand the things of God. He is not a dictator. He gives us a choice of life or death. How can a man be born again? Asked Nicodemus. “Shall I go back to my mother’s womb?” Nicodemus was analyzing Christ’s statement according to his human thinking.
But what is being born again?
It means; to start all over again. Or being “born” a 2nd time- born from above. Christ’s meaning of “born-again” is that a man is born of God. It is by the grace of God. John 1:13 “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” When we are born of the flesh, we see things through the eyes of the flesh. When we are born of God, we can go back and really see that we have been born in the image and likeness of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
John 3:31 “The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.”
God is the source and should be no. 1 in our lives. We should see things spiritually. All things work together for good. If we are of the Kingdom, we should not be anxious. When we have Christ in us, even in the midst of turmoil, we would have peace. We must be born again to be in God’s Kingdom. John 19:11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” We must begin to see the Kingdom with a spiritual understanding of the truth. Jesus said, “unless one is born of the water and the spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Water is the source of life. The center of the earth is water. Oceans are there to preserve and maintain; to give salt and sustenance. Water is cleansing. And Baptism is symbolism that once we are baptized, we have new life. We are not born of the flesh when we are born-again. The necessity of this new life, this new birth, should bring about a radical change. We must have the life of God within us, not evaluating things according to the flesh but according to the spirit. John 3:11 “Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” We are being challenged by this each time Jesus says, “truly, truly.”
1 Peter 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:22 “Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth so that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart.”
James 1:18 “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Christ wants us to understand the power of spiritual things in this new life, not to be controlled by the old. People perish for lack of knowledge. Jesus was not only talking to Nicodemus, He is talking to us. When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we should pray with conviction. The Spirit of God gives us authority. What the Word of God says, we should respond with “yes” and “amen.” Our task in being born again should be progressive. There should be growth. We have hope in Christ if we are born from above.