Summary: For some this decision eventually turned into a commitment for Christ, which meant that after accepting the redeeming power of Christ they moved on to working and being involved in the ministry in one way or another according to their God given calling, g
What does it mean to be born again?
The New Birth - John 3:1-9
Too often in our Christian walk we go about our business without truly understanding the commitment that we made on that faithful day, the moment, the place, the time when you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, and hopefully, the Lord of your life.
You see there was a time when we were lost but through the saving blood of Christ, most likely because someone shared the love with us we came to accept Christ in our heart. We came, if you will, to make a decision for Christ, to turn from a life of sin to a life of righteousness, from serving self to serving Christ.
For some this decision eventually turned into a commitment for Christ, which meant that after accepting the redeeming power of Christ they moved on to working and being involved in the ministry in one way or another according to their God given calling, growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, there are those that never moved beyond their decision for Christ into a life of faithful obedience and active involvement in the work of God’s kingdom.
It would be good for us if we would remember what Jesus said in John Chapter 15 about the branches that do not bear fruit…”every branch that bears not fruit…is cast into the fire.” Fruit-bearing is not an option for the truly born again person, it is a requirement.
What is more unfortunate is that there are those who have made such a commitment for Christ but still do not understand the full scope of a life dedicated to serving Christ. They still do not comprehend what being born again is all about. Real salvation demands sacrificial commitment and active involvement as a worker in the Lord’s Vineyard.
There was a man name Nicodemus who was. for all intent and purposes, a good man. A Pharisee who was a leader in His community. He did everything that was expected of Him as a Pharisee, yet the answer to what it means to be born again simply escaped him.
Too often when we don’t understand something we simply move ahead, accepting things as they are, but Nicodemus questioned it and Christ gave him a wonderful explanation, an explanation that we all need to clearly understand today.
Let us read and break the passage down for today as we go deeper into its meaning.
You see our Lord began with what familiar; birth being a universal experience. Birth relates to a new beginning, to the origin of life. Then he uses the word “again” which means “from above.”
In simple terms he was telling Nicodemus that he must experience a supernatural spiritual birth from above, a spiritual birth that had nothing to do with his physical birth into the world.
Nicodemus had come to the Lord Jesus with a mask on. He says, “we know.” Who is we? The Pharisees, one of the two major Jewish sects, the other being the Sadducees. He comes as a member of the Pharisees, and in all probability, a member of the Jewish council.
Nicodemus came secretly to speak with Jesus. What motivated him to come? “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.” (John 3:2) Nicodemus got no further with his introduction because Christ saw right through him and dealt with the real reason for his coming. Here is a man, who is religious to his fingertips, and yet our Lord told him he couldn’t see the kingdom of God except he be born again. Clearly, Jesus is establishing the fact that God’s interest is not in religion but relationship.
Nicodemus couldn’t understand what Christ was talking about concerning this spiritual birth. The reason was that he had no spiritual capacity to comprehend it.
So often, people claim to be followers of Christ - they claim Christianity - but can they also spirituality? Can you? Can we honestly claim that the Holy Spirit is dwelling and leading our lives? If not, then perhaps a true new birth has not taken place in our lives.
Nicodemus could only think from the human perspective, a physical birth, but Christ wasn’t talking about a natural birth. He was talking about how a man could be born “from above” or “born again.”
Often passages such as this one are used to validate the denominational issues surrounding water baptism but as we can see in Chapter 2 of the Book of John, water is symbolic of the Word of God. Jesus himself later on said: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17).