John 3:1-21, “3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”
Paul in his epistles helps us understand in details the mystery of the gospel, the power of God unto salvation (new birth). Jesus only here in John 3 and 4 introduces us to the nature of new birth in speaking with both Nicodemus and the woman at the well. With Nicodemus we see what must happen nd how. With the woman at the well we see it demonstrated. Most Christians know that something happened in their lives but many have little understanding of this mystery. I have often heard it quoted that “salvation is as easy as A.B.C (Admit, Believe, Confess)” in relations to a man making decision to follow Christ. This statement has no merit if its not made effective by an outward power none of us possesses. Salvation is impossible (not able to occur) with man, Luke 18:27.
To deal with this important subject, in the next few series I hope to briefly address four questions we must ask ourselves in addressing the mystery of the new birth. These are WHAT, WHY, HOW, WHO. They will not be exhaustive but rich enough to strength our faith.
Anytime you are talking of the new birth, the starting point is very important because everything is to be aligned in the light of that starting point (foundation). The gospel that starts with man will definitely tailor its continuity through the lens of man, meanwhile the gospel that starts with God will center its message through the eyes of God.
Now to set the ball rolling, I want to address these WHAT, WHY, HOW, WHO in chronological order with just a little turn of letting “WHO” do quick a cameo appearance and later get introduced as the main character of the mystery of the new birth.
The bible says, “Salvation belongs to the Lord”, Jonah 2:9, Psalm 3:8, Revelation 7:10, that is the “WHO” that does the new birth. It’s not a prayer, repentance, confession etc. These are not the things that saves, they are some means to lead to the Savior. If we get this wrong, we have no hope. That is the heartbeat of the gospel, the power of God unto salvation. This helps us now study WHAT, WHY, HOW in the light of WHO.
“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night …”, John 3:1. The Lord Jesus Christ is talking to Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jews). As we know he was a ruler of the Jews, a teacher of the law, He came to Jesus secretly by night to talk to Him. He realized that Jesus was radically different from what he had seen. He came secretly by night perhaps not be judged, demoted or something else. His opening address to Jesus lets us know what he thought or knew. He says vs. “2 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.” Two things jump out of this verse. First Nicodemus did not know Him as Jesus the Messiah, the Savior of the world, he only knew Jesus as a Rabbi (teacher). This is similar to the rich young ruler in Luke 18, he only addressed Jesus as “good teacher (Rabbi)”. Secondly, Nicodemus only knew that He had come from God and was not God as we later read in many passages that attacked the deity of Christ. If Nicodemus was a teacher of the law, he would have taught many Jews of the coming Messiah, Jesus did not fit that profile.
The doctrine of Christ is important, the “WHO” we are addressing in this part. If Nicodemus a teacher of the law got it wrong, how many have the wrong understanding of who Jesus is. The “WHO” must be made clear as John writes “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son”, 2John 1:9. This is important because as we will continue to tackle John 3, we come to learn that understanding is revelation and revelation leads to salvation. Salvation is nothing but “WHO”, 1John 5:12, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life”. Keep this in mind at all times. To continue, Blessings Ev