The New Birth
Pastor Steve Ellison
Early in Jesus’ ministry a very rich and powerful man came to visit Jesus by night. John 3 tells the story. We are not told why Nicodemus came at night so we can only guess. Maybe Nicodemus was afraid of what his fellow Pharisees would say about him consulting with Jesus. Perhaps one or both of them was busy during the day. Maybe this was the first time Nicodemus caught Jesus alone, though the disciples are present at least for the end of the chapter. Even though we do not know the reason, we can be sure that it is important or the Bible would not have mentioned it.
We are also not told of the purpose that prompted Nicodemus to come to Jesus at all. The story begins with Nicodemus approaching Jesus and giving Him a compliment. Jesus immediately began to address Nicodemus as if he had asked a question. John 3:3-8 records the conversation, “Jesus answered and said to 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? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and 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. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." NASU
This passage is mysterious if we try to figure out all the particulars. However, the basic meaning is very clear. It upholds the overall teaching of Scripture that every person is in trouble. Every person needs redeeming. No one is right before God without a mighty work of God in their life. Even though we cannot observe it or explain it, we know that if we are to be right with God, this mighty work of God must take place. Every person who ever lived was born. Every person (with a couple of notable exceptions) who has lived has already died or will die (unless Christ returns first). In addition to the required birth and death for every person, each person chooses whether to have a second death or second birth. It is not possible to experience both a second birth and a second death, but God has decreed that every person will either have a second death or a second birth. The second birth and the second death are spiritual matters; however they do have physical consequences.
The second death is being thrown into the lake of fire at the end of time. There is no indication that this second death is ever completed. It appears that the act of dying the second death continues throughout all eternity. The second birth which the Bible describes as a new birth from above has eternal consequences as well. God’s grace is a marvelous thing. He allows us to choose whether to have a second birth or a second death. The new birth adopts you into God’s family making you joint heirs with Christ. The second death drops you into the lake of fire to suffer eternal separation from God. The choice is yours. Which will you choose? ..……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org