“Verily Verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).”
These were the stunning words of Jesus to Nicodemus. Nicodemus represented the best of mankind. He was a pharisee and a good moral man. Faithful in church attendance, teacher of the scriptures, and a generous person. Yet he felt the need to speak to Jesus.
Was he looking for affirmation or desiring to gain something he did not have? Apparently something was missing in his life and he saw it in Christ. We would have expected a “that a boy” from Jesus for all his good works. Instead, he received a direct message that we all must consider. The most moral man cannot obtain Heaven on his own merit; it takes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save us.
Why was it so important to be born again and why did Jesus use this phrase? The recent births of my two boys has caused me to revisit these words from the savior. They were both major events and transformational. Our lifestyles, mindsets, priorities, and really everything has changed. Just as a new birth is life-changing, so is the “born again” experience. Although good works are important, Jesus taught us that we could not earn Heaven. We can not spiritually improve ourselves but must be transformed from above. God is the greatest donor of all time as he has given new hearts to millions. When a person sincerely accepts Jesus into his or her heart, the marvelous process will begin. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17).”
There also must be a connection to the absolute dependence of a helpless infant. A baby relies on others to meet all needs. Similarly, we cannot meet our own spiritual needs. Only God can forgive sins and the cross is the path to salvation. The Lord feeds us spiritually through his word and teaches us how to live the new life. Finally, the relationship is the most important factor of the “born again” experience. A baby could not survive on his or her own. Neither can we without Christ. “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me (John 14:6).” In other words, without this relationship, we cannot make it to heaven or have the abundant life. Regardless of our moral standing, we all need Jesus as our personal savior.