“In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’” — John 3:3 (NIV84)
I am certain that it is wrong to say that one of Jesus’ truth claims is more important than another. Obviously, coming from Jesus they are all equally true and therefore important. But maybe it is fair to say that some of Jesus’ truth claims are more vital to our overall spiritual well being than others. Some of His statements are true and accurate moral judgments but may not have eternal consequences. Today’s statement is not one of those statements. The verse above has to be one of the most vital statements that Jesus says in all of Scripture. It has eternal life ramifications. Jesus places a qualification to our ability to enter the kingdom of God.
He says we must be “born again.” There are no other options. The world may say that Jesus is being too narrow-minded, and that there must be many ways into God’s kingdom. But Jesus says just the opposite. He says, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” No one! No other way! He says, “I tell you the truth.” He isn’t just speaking His personal opinion. Jesus is making an absolute truth claim.
So here is the key question: Are you born again such that you might enter the kingdom of God? Do you even know what that means? Jesus says a verse or two later that “one must be born of water and the Spirit.” To be born again to is have the Spirit of God work through God’s Word and pierce our hearts, minds, and souls and change them. The Holy Spirit takes our hearts of stone and makes them hearts of flesh. Like dry bones at the bottom of the valley (Ezekiel 37), the Spirit of God creates new life in us through God’s Word. Just like God breathed into Adam when He first created him and gave him life, He does the same thing to us when we become born again. With that new found life and faith, we cling to the death and resurrection of Jesus as the atoning work for all that is sinful and broken within us. We are set free from all that weighs us down, and the new person in us begins to live in obedience to the Word and will of God.
Read the verse above one more time. This is one truth I pray we are all certain of!