Aug 12, 2020, 12:30 PM
Jesus told Doctor Nicodemus who came to consult Him clandestinely one night. Jesus -- without mincing His words – said to him: “You must be born again!” Much was being said about Jesus in the camp of the Pharisees, the custodians of the Law (meaning the Scriptures) to which Nicodemus belonged. But his conviction was contrary to the common view people had of Jesus’ persona. “Rabbi,” he uttered in his opening remarks, “we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with Him.” (John 4:2) That was neither just an overstatement nor flattery. The doctor was speaking his mind.
Jesus retorted: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 4:3) Unfortunately, from the words Doctor Nicodemus fumbled, it was clear he did not understand where Jesus was coming from. Being ‘born again’ is certainly not the act of going back into one’s mother’s womb. It was a question of understanding the processes one has to go through in the spiritual realm. Such deep thoughts are spiritually discerned and Doctor Nicodemus was spiritually short-sighted to fully comprehend. So Rabbi began to teach him.
Many like elder Nicodemus are completely baffled by Jesus’ words: “You must be born gain!” Other very enthusiastic believers have sought to run away with the idea and have made this into a movement. ‘To be born again’ is the fact of being aware of your new status in Christ when you make the choice to follow Him. When we decide to part with our wicked ways and live a righteous life, it is a sign of a drastic change. We take it upon ourselves to live a new life that is not marred by sin. We begin to live for the truth because Jesus says the truth shall set us free. (John 8:33)
It marks the start of a new life that could be lived to the full. Hitherto we were living unfulfilled lives – living by our own standards and norms in total disregard of God’s laws and precepts – and Jesus warned that we need to change our perspective in life. The Pharisees were oppressing the people of Israel with their interpretations of the laws which they themselves failed to adhere to. They were hypocritical in their behaviour expecting obedience from the masses and seeing themselves as exceptions.
We go through many changes in this life from childhood to adulthood. These transformations register a marked progression in our lives. they stand as lampposts of the journey we have undertaken. In like manner, in our spiritual walk with God we must make a change from the lukewarm attitude with which we honour God with our bodies to a fully-consecrated commitment to the things of the spirit.
We are spiritual beings with human bodies. God’s spirit lives within us so we can stay tuned to the things in the Spirit realm. Everything operates first in the spirit realm before manifesting itself in the physical domain. It is important for us to know these things and not allow the enemy deprive us of this privilege. It is time we become sensitive to the spiritual things that hover around us. Our spiritual eyes must be opened. To this end, we must spend time with the word of God to feed our souls – not just occasionally, but daily.
Someone who is not ‘born again,’ says our Lord Jesus will not qualify for heaven. Remember our passage on earth is merely a dress rehearsal. Our bodies will not be elevated to heaven; they will stay buried in the earth from which they were made – until His second coming . It is our souls that would ascend to heaven. After Jesus resurrected from the dead, He put on a transformed body that permitted Him to go through walls and not be easily recognised. That new body would be our ticket to heaven when the trumpet will sound at the last call and the dead will be raised incorruptible.
Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour makes you born again – a child of God and you cease to operate in the flesh but in the spirit. You become sensitive to the things of the spirit. Your spiritual antennae will become receptive to spiritual things. That transformation, this new phase in your life is evident to all. The old sinful habits that you used to be identified with have been thrust out of the window. You cease to indulge in sin anymore because the Spirit of God now lives in You. You have become a new creature. Besides you enjoy some inexplicable peace. The spirit will shed off the influences of this world. The devil will have no dominion over you anymore. The tenancy agreement is broken. You become separated from sin. You have been set free. Jesus becomes your Master.
Interestingly, Jesus did not say we must think about being born again. No! It is an instruction and we must comply. You see, when a child is born, it changes from its environment and bursts forth into a new one. We change at puberty; we change when we father and mother children. These however are natural changes that are effected outside of our own volition; they come as part of a natural process. Being born again is a decision we have to make. This body we carry has been corrupted with sin at birth. “In sin did my mother beget me” revealed King David. Every part of our body is riddled with sin and an unconverted sinner cannot enter heaven with it.
God has given us the opportunity to change our outlook on life. Life is not about amassing possessions on earth and leaving them behind when we die. It is not about having fun either. Life on earth is about preparing for the next phase which is eternal life. Man in his her present state is carnal and is operating in the flesh. He/she has been wired to operate in the spiritual and except we make the change we will be like birds with wings that cannot fly.
We should be wary of falling victim to the snares of the enemy and miss heaven – the place reserved for the spiritual man. Otherwise we may be heading for eternity in heaven. Heaven is intended as our resting place not hell. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is admirable and praiseworthy -- think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
No one can enter heaven on his or her merit. The ticket is that first we have the right mindset by accepting Jesus, the Messiah as Lord and Saviour – the One who has gone to prepare a place for us and who would come back to get us. Amen!