Good People Can Be Born Again

Nicky was a good man. He was enlightened and educated in the things of God. He knew God was a miracle-working God, and even as a Jewish Pharisee, acknowledged that Jesus was sent from God. He desired to know more about Jesus, so much that he came to Jesus to learn more about him. He certainly did not want his Jewish colleagues to know that he had a personal intrigue to know more about Jesus, so he went to Jesus at night. Nicodemus, in our modern culture, by pursuing his interest in Jesus could have gone to Bible College and become a fine pastor or even a college Bible professor. With his Jewish background and knowledge, his teaching would be rich and good, tying the old covenant in with the new. However, Jesus ignored Nicodemus’ enlightenment, his knowledge, and the fact that he was convinced that he, Jesus, was of God. Instead of acknowledging and commending him for his fine knowledge, Jesus abruptly said to him, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). They conversed about being born again. Jesus explained to him that it is by the Spirit of God that a person is born again, and so enters into the kingdom of God. He continued with good news of how God so loved the whole world that he gave his only begotten Son so that people would not perish in their sins, but have everlasting life (John 3:16, 17). He said this to a very good man, one who, as a Pharisee, vigorously shunned sin and sought to live a righteous life. Jesus used birth as a metaphor of entry into spiritual life. A baby is conceived and grows in the darkness of a womb before it is ever born into the light of the world. Being enlightened and going to church is not the new birth. Being convicted of sin and doing good religious things, even teaching about Jesus and trying to live a good life is not the new birth. All that is well and good, but it is not the entry into eternal kingdom life. It is not just an intellectual assent to the Spirit. New birth is a life-transforming yielding to and fellowship with the Spirit in view of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. This is when we are supernaturally infused with the very life of God. When this occurs, the Lord Jesus Christ becomes our focus. We commit our life to follow him. In this operation of God we are born from the darkness of the fleshly womb into the spiritual light of the kingdom of God. Jesus becomes our total and only peace with God. Our good Bible works are shown to be vain and useless in the light of what he did for us. We love him because he first loved us. With the new birth, good people can come to really know Jesus.


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