“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.’” John 3:3
Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus recorded in John 3 is the longest personal conversation Jesus had with any religious leader recorded in Scripture. The subject matter is quite fascinating. This educated religious scholar, Nicodemus, wanted to talk theology; but Jesus wanted to talk about birth certificates. Jesus told this man – and us today – why we better know that we have a spiritual birth certificate.
Nicodemus was no ordinary Jewish man. He was a Pharisee; and no one was more religious than they were. Pharisees followed all of the religious rules. Then Jesus turned his world upside down with these words, “No one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.” If you had been there, you would have seen the blood drain from Nicodemus’ face. You see, if there is one thing Nicodemus thought he knew, it was that he was right with God. The problem was, Nicodemus knew about God without really knowing God.
Nicodemus made the same mistake that so many people today are still making. He thought that good works, going to church, trying to be a good person, and doing your best is what God wanted from him. Nicodemus’ focus for godliness was on himself…what he could do for God instead of what God wanted to do in him through Jesus. From the very beginning – even in the Old Testament before Jesus was born – salvation has always been by grace through faith. How do we know this? Because even Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness before God ever gave the Law to Moses. When Abraham believed God, God counted him righteous (Genesis 15:6). Salvation has never been about what we do for God…and it never will.
Your goodness will never be good enough for God. You may be very religious compared to other people. You may be "better: than most other people you know…more honest and kind. But this is the truth according to Jesus: If you have not been born into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus, you do not have a relationship with God. Without a spiritual birth certificate, you are not part of the family of God. This is why Paul wrote in Romans 8:15, “You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by Whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
God, Thank You for giving me the Spirit of adoption through faith in Christ. By Your grace, through faith in Jesus, I know I have been born again into Your family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.