John 3:1-8 KJV
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 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.
3 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.
4 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?
5 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.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 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.
What exactly does it mean to be "born again?” What is salvation?
Simply put, salvation and being “born again” mean being reconciled with God. As we have studied in other lessons, God is without sin and cannot tolerate sin. After the age of accountability, as long as we remain without Christ as our Savior, we are therefore separated from God and we know that unrighteousness will not inherit the kingdom of God.
However, through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are cleansed of all unrighteousness in God’s eyes and therefore reconciled to Him.
We are “born again” in the following sense.
2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
JESUS TELLS NICODEMUS HE MUST BE "BORN AGAIN"
In God’s master plan, at the appointed time, He sent His Son to live and die on this earth, ushering in the New and final Covenant with mankind.
Under this New Covenant, Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to God except through Him.
In other words, we are only reconciled with God, if we have accepted Jesus as Savior, repenting of our sins and having His blood wash and cleanse us of all unrighteousness in God’s eyes.
In our scripture above, Nicodemus surely had great curiosity about Jesus and told Him that we know you come from God, because no one could do the miracles that you do otherwise.
Jesus then gets to the “bush”, that Nicodemus is beating around. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus was confused to say the least. He asked “how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
A few verses later, Jesus says “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Don’t be confused. The meaning of “water” is debated by theologians. In our view, Jesus could have been meaning one of two things in John 3:5.
He could be referring to our physical birth (naturally which is first) and then our spiritual new birth.
Or, he might not have been referring to water literally, but simply the need for spiritual cleansing. The words “water” and “spirit” are both used in this manner in the Old Testament and even in the New Testament.
Take a look at Titus 3:5.
Titus 3:5 KJV
5 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;
We believe that this is what Jesus was meaning in talking about being born again. He saved us by "the washing of regeneration", or spiritual cleansing through His blood.
Baptism is an ordinance or rite that Christians observe as a sign of obedience and profession of faith. However, we know that baptism is not a requirement of salvation and entering the kingdom of God.
Why do we believe this? Because we are saved by grace, and not of works or anything we can do.
Remember the thief on the cross? It was the sincere belief of the thief that caused Jesus to tell him “this day thou shall be with me in paradise.” Nothing else was required.
WHAT WE MUST DO
All it takes for us to be reconciled to God, is acceptance and belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died and gave His blood on the cross of Calvary, as atonement for our sins. Along with acceptance and belief in Jesus, we must sincerely confess and repent of our sins, being willing to forgo our sins and live according to the teachings of Jesus and Word of God.
In short, as we humbly bow before God, we must confess our sins in sincere repentance, accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, in surrender and commitment to Him.
When we are saved, we are washed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, cleansing us of all unrighteousness in God’s eyes.
Then, after accepting Jesus as your Savior, a life of spiritual growth and closeness to God begins.
If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, there is no better time than now. It is God’s gift of grace to you, if you will only accept it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
John 3:14-16 KJV
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 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.