John 3:1-7 - Hope for Restoration
Your biggest problem is you were born in sin, so God's solution is for you to be re-born.
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Read John 3:1-7
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 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.”
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 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?”
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter 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 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 8
Q. But are we so corrupt
that we are totally unable to do any good
and inclined toward all evil?
A. Yes, unless we are born again,
by the Spirit of God.
Heidelberg Q&A 8 elaborates more on our corrupt human nature and asks if we can do any good. This question gets at how severe and embedded the problem of sin is. It is not as if we need to clean up a bit, but it affects everything all the way down—from desires to thoughts to actions.
But it does not leave us without hope by only answering the question, “yes.” God is not at fault for our problem of an evil and corrupt nature, but He uses His Spirit to regenerate / recreate us.
John 3 illustrates this supernatural work of God and where the often used phrase “born again” originates.
Nicodemus came at night because he did not want the other Pharisees of the time to see him giving respect to Jesus. He knew Jesus was speaking with power and authority, though. He thought maybe Jesus would give him a method he could use or a rule to follow, but instead, Jesus revealed that life only comes from the Spirit of God.
Jesus is teaching that all humans are essentially dead and in need of new life. And much like our first birth, it is not something we can take credit for but is a work of God.
Do you celebrate your birthday because of something you accomplished when you took your first breath of air, or is it a way to celebrate your years of life and what you mean to friends and family?
Similarly, you can celebrate your second birth through God’s gracious Spirit, not because of anything you did to make that happen, but because of the new life that God has given you, which is everlasting life.
The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead works in you so that you can share in that supernatural resurrected life and be made a renewed person who can enter into the kingdom of God where the “perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:53).
Our first birth is of this world and merely makes us fit for life as mortals on earth. The second birth is from above and is divine, making one ready for God’s kingdom, which is everlasting.
Do not approach Jesus merely as a teacher as Nicodemus did or read the Bible only looking to acquire some new knowledge, but go to him as the King of Glory with faith in the one who has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God who gives us second birth and a new life in Christ that is everlasting and imperishable.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for God’s Spirit to renew and transform you to walk in the good works He has prepared for you (Eph. 2:10).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Mark 15