Unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God!
The Lord Jesus spoke these words to a Jewish rabbi by the name of Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a teacher of the law.
Nicodemus came to the Lord Jesus by night in fear of being seen by his fellow rabbis who resisted Jesus' teachings which were in conflict with their own teachings.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. John 3:1-2
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Obviously Nicodemus questioned the concept, having difficulty understanding how one could be born again.
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? John 3:4
Jesus explained that one had to be born from above of the spirit: for that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:5-8
This revealing interaction with Nicodemus leads into the central teaching of the entire Bible:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:16-21
Adam sinned and sin passed on to the entire human race: The natural state of humankind is sinful.
We are not sinners because we sin; We sin because we are sinners
A change has to transpire; a transformation must take place: You must be born again!
Religions that accept the Bible as their authoritative text understand the need to deal with Adam's sin-often referred to as original sin.
The Bible draws our attention to the sinful nature of man from the moment Adam and Eve sin against God by disobeying his command and giving heed to the serpent which is later identified as satan himself.
According to the Bible, man's heart is altogether wicked.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
King David, whom the Bible calls a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), says:
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:5-10
Paul teaches: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 and, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
According to the Bible, there is nothing in man's power that can cleanse him of his sin:
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Jeremiah 13:23
Religion attempts to deal with the issue of original sin by various man made institutions and ceremonies which erroneously claim to cleanse man of original sin and bring him into communion with God.
In mainstream Christianity infant baptism is one of these ceremonies which leads people to believe that they have been cleansed and brought into communion with God. The church cannot deny the Biblical teaching that we are born sinners and claims to deal with sin with infant baptism.
The Bible says that without blood there is no remission of sins: Jesus, the lamb of God, shed his blood on the cross as the sacrificial passover lamb which cleanses humanity of sin and brings each born again believer into intimate communion with the living God being indwelled with the Holy Spirit. (Refer to "He came to die for our sins" April 2009)
In Genesis we see how when Adam and Eve sinned, God took on the role of High Priest sacrificing an animal to deal with sin. Adam and Eve then put on the skin of the animal to cover their shame. There has to be a conscious decision to receive the work that God has done for us. Atonement for sin is by blood alone and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11 22
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hebrews 9:22
There must be a decision to put on Christ and to be dressed in the garments of righteousness, to be covered by the blood of the lamb of God who died for the sins of the world, to be sacrificed with Christ, to be baptised into his death and raised with Him in his resurrection into newness of life.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:3-7
There is a before and after. We who were once sinners are now saved by grace.
The natural state of the heart is wicked; however, God promises to give a new heart to those who seek him earnestly.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Let us not trust in our own understanding and let us not be deceived by false knowledge and worldly teachings. Proverbs 3:5-6 | 1 Timothy 6:20-21
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12
You must be born again. Being born into a culture and into a religion does not make you a child of God. That which is flesh is flesh and the flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:5-14
Religion does not cleanse sin nor does it bring you into communion with God: We are not born again by the will of man.
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) Galatians 1:1
Saul--who was later renamed Paul--was a religious man who kept the law and the commandments and was highly respected by his peers and by the community. He was zealous for God and fiercely resisted the believers in Jesus who he considered to be heretic.
The Lord Jesus appeared to him while he was on his way to Damascus to arrest those who believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Jesus asked Saul: Why do you persecute me?
Saul had an experience with Jesus and he was transformed. He was born again. He fell in love with the living God and his life changed. He who once persecuted believers in Jesus became persecuted himself.
Read about the conversion of Saul of Tarsus a.k.a the apostle Paul in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 9.
Paul counted everything as dung for the knowledge of Jesus his Lord. He fell in love. He was captured by Jesus' glory. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was baptised. He was born again. There is no culture or religion that captures the essence of an intimate relationship with Jesus.
His peace passes all understanding. Jesus is alive.
Religions teach that we are saved by our good deeds, a teaching, which in fact goes against the whole concept of grace. According to the Bible, salvation is the free gift of God so that no man will boast of good works. Ephesian 2:9
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 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.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:1-9
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28
If we receive salvation for free in return for what Jesus did on the cross-Jesus paid the price-then it follows that nothing we do could purchace salvation. If it could be purchased with good deeds, it would not be a gift: it would be payment for our work.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:4-5
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Galatians 2:16
The wages of sin is death, but the gift us God is eternal life. Romans 6:23 Jesus paid the price on the cross and purchased us from sin with his blood. For you are not purchased with corruptible things but with the precious blood of Jesus the lamb of God.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Peter 1:23
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ephesians 1:7
Once a person calls out to Jesus for forgiveness he is washed by the blood of the lamb and is indwelled by the Holy Spirit who then teaches that person how to live a life for God.
Most people can tell you the month, day and even the hour at which Jesus came into their lives.
If someone asked you when you met your husband or wife, could you not answer accurately? If you were asked when your son or daughter was born could you not give the day and the hour?
When you fall in love with Jesus you know when it happened. A conscious decision needs to be made to know God. Seek God and you will find him. Jesus is alive. Ask him to guide you. If you are afraid of being mislead into believing a lie, call upon God and persist in asking him to reveal the truth to you. He will answer: Seek and you will find, Ask and you will receive, Knock and the door will be answered. Those you seek him will all their heart will find him.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:8-12
The main point of "you must be born again" is that an obvious change must take place: both the person that is born again and the people around him will notice the change: The change is obvious. A new creation is born All old things have passed away; behold, all things have been made new.
Religion cannot bring about this change, neither can the mysteries and ceremonies that religion offers: you are not born again when you are married, not when you confess to a priest or rabbi and not simply by being born into a religion.
You must confess your sins to the High Priest and finisher of our faith, Jesus the Messiah who gave himself for your sins.
Confess your sins and ask the Lord to come into your heart. The Holy Spirit will come into your heart and reign from there teaching you all truth and leading you in the way of righteousness and life.