Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Th at which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes fr om or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” ( John 3:1-8)
Have you been born again?
You say you’ve been baptized? That’s good.
You’re a member of the church? Excellent!
You believe in Jesus, go to church regularly, tithe, read the Bible, pray, and work at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving? All well and good.
But have you been born again?
“Born Again Christian” has sometimes been used as a way to put down evangelicals, making us out to be “holy rollers,” or what used to be called “enthusiasts,” Christians who are too excitable, too emotional, unbalanced, probably not very smart. That’s how many people think of born again Christians, including many pastors and members of mainline and non-evangelical denominations and churches. Jesus makes it very clear, however, that unless you have been born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus asks him the very sensible question, how can you possibly be born again?
The answer to that question is simple: you can’t—except by a supernatural spiritual miracle from God.
You can’t go back into your mother’s womb a second time and be born once more as an act of will. A dead person also can’t come back to life as an act of will. But Jesus can call the spiritually dead person back to life, and that awakening or regeneration (“new birth”) is what takes place when you are born again. Of course, when you are born again, you are not aware that this is happening. Some people will have an “ah ha!” moment of conversion when they are born again that they will always remember. But not everyone will have an experience like that, at least not one they can pinpoint. Nevertheless, everyone who has been born again will have a telltale mark that can never be erased:
A sense of sin and unworthiness that leads us to cling in loving gratitude to Jesus Christ as the only one who has secured our pardon and accomplished all that is necessary for our salvation.
Do you have it? It’s called saving faith. If you do have it, you can thank God for it, because it’s a gift from him to you. It is that supernatural spiritual miracle I mentioned before. God gave you a gift by sending his Son to die for your sins. Since Christ had already died for you, he applied that gift to you by calling you back to life, so that you will live forever. The first inward sign of the new birth to the person who has been born again is saving faith, which always accompanies the spiritual new birth itself.
Other articles inside the full issue
- Psalm 19:1-6
- Report on Baby Bottle Boomerang and Kenya drought relief
- New “Show Me Jesus” curriculum in Children’s Church
- Nursery church begins for 2s and 3s
- Upcoming street fairs, litter pick-up events, and work day
- New women’s book study
- Librarian’s recommendations
- And more
Chapel Chimes is the monthly print and digital newsletter of New Hope Christian Church, Monsey, New York.