Born Again

 

Born again? Can a man be born again? That is what Nicodemus asked about 2,000 years ago.

(John 3:1-7 NIV)  Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. {2} He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." {3} In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." {4} "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" {5} Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. {6} Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. {7} You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'

 

Nicodemus was understandably confused when Jesus said a man must be born again. But if he had thought for a moment perhaps he would have understood and agreed. Nicodemus was truly interested but was not getting it.

(John 7:50-52 NIV)  Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, {51} "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" {52} They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."

 

Apparently Nicodemus did catch on later. According to Holman’s Bible Dictionary, his name means, "innocent of blood." And so he was.

(John 19:38-40 NIV)  Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. {39} He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. {40} Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

 

But what was Jesus talking about. The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 15:41-44.

(1 Pet 1:17-23 NIV)  Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. {18} For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, {19} but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. {20} He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. {21} Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. {22} Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. {23} For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

 

 

Now tie this in with 1 Peter  17-23.

(1 Cor 15:41-44 NIV)  The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. {42} So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; {43} it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; {44} it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

 

This is very exciting stuff and what nearly every human being craves. A new life. A new existence. A fresh beginning. It’s like being born again only this time into the kind of existence God wanted for us from the beginning.

 

You might say being born is a three-step process. One is conceived, then comes the time of gestation, and finally the time of birth. That is what the previous two verses were telling us. There is a time when we accept Christ, there is the time when we live for and with Christ, and there is the time when we receive our actual salvation when Christ returns.

 

I find this verse rather interesting in the current context.

(1 Cor 13:11-12 NIV)  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. {12} Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 

To some extent, “knowledge” is inherent in all life from the moment of conception. And a child is aware of the, “Outside” world even before it is born. It learns things such as its mother’s voice. Children learn at a fantastic rate from the time of their birth and the entire world is an adventure for them to explore. As maturity comes on it brings more understanding yet full understanding is beyond our grasp regardless of how long we live. But, when we are, “Born again” we will come to a point that might be much like when we first were born. That is, we might again experience the tremendous rate of learning we had as children but perhaps to a much greater extreme. I can scarcely imagine what that adventure will be like!

 

So, can a man be born again? Yes, our Lord couldn’t have been much plainer. Not only can a man be born again but also he must be born again to receive the promises we are longing for. The promise is entering the kingdom of God and all that goes with that.

(Rev 21:3-4 NIV)  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. {4} He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

 

These are the people that have been conceived, and developed in this life, and finally have been born again and entered the real world of immortality in the presence of God. These are the children of God!