In John 3, amazed by Jesus’ words, Nicodemus starts two questions the same way,
Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?
Joh 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
This is all outside Nicodemus’ understanding.
His religious world is shattered by the truth of Jesus’ words conveying the air of impossibility which is at the heart of the salvation of mankind.
If we’d read the Gospels properly – we’d be asking ourselves “how can anyone possibly be saved?”
It’s not until we start to come to terms with the impossibility of salvation that we begin to have hope of seeing it happen.
When we realize, “this requires divine intervention!”
Mat 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
Mat 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
There is hope, real hope, living hope, powerful hope.
We rejoice because it depends not one bit - not one little bit - on inadequate, unfaithful, hypocritical, selfish, prideful, awkward, lazy, cowardly me!
We rejoice because it all depends on Almighty God!
Of course it does:
Rom 9:15 For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Really, the whole theological issue between Calvinists and Arminians comes down to this issue.
Really, at its heart, the issue, just like the heart of the
issue that Jesus confronts Nicodemus with, comes down to one question:
“can you change?”
An Arminian says you can change, you can seek God.
A Calvinist says you cannot change, you cannot seek God.
Which of those 2 seem most like what Jesus is saying to Nicodemus, you must be born again ?
In John 3, Nicodemus gets an answer, despite not asking a question.
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
It sounded like a riddle to Nicodemus, who answered,
"Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
Think about it, if you’re Nicodemus.
With his morality and unblemished life, with his position as a teacher in a proud nation, this Jesus says, "You are all wrong; you must be born again."
He’s not some tax-collector, some villain, but Jesus knows all men, and He knew this Pharisee.
The mind of Nicodemus was clouded with Pharisaisms, and so many obstacles, a jungle of religiosity.
To penetrate all his wrong ideas about “keeping the rules” and “being good”, Jesus makes a plain – and eternal – statement.
“You must be born again.”
That “you” is each and every one person who has ever lived.
If you would see the kingdom of God, you must not merely “try harder”, or “change my ways”, or “clean myself up”.
You must be born again.
Why is this so crucial?
Because you are -
. a sinner
Rom_3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
. an enemy of God
Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
. a child of wrath
Eph_2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
. without hope
Eph_2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
. unable to please God
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him:.
. spiritually dead
1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Surely that’s an exaggeration?
Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
We are all born exiles and utterly alienated from the kingdom of God.
God and us are apart until He brings us together.
All without exception, not just certain baddies, must be born again.