The story was told of Nicodemus, a member of the ruling Jewish council (a religious leader), who came to Jesus at night for a heart-to-heart talk. He said to Jesus, "We all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you,"
From Nicodemus' statement, we can see that he is knowledgable about who Jesus is. But that knowledge alone is not enough. Jesus told him directly, "Unless you are born again (born from above), you cannot see the Kingdom of God."
Nicodemus exclaimed, "What does that mean? How can an old man like me go back into my mother's womb to be born again?"
Here is what Jesus told him in response:
“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-8.
Again, Nicodemus asked, “How can this be?” It is very important to ask questions when in doubt. Nicodemus wanted clarification on what Jesus meant by the above response. It was in the process of further explanation that Jesus made the statement that has today become a popular text in the Christendom and even among everyone:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17.As a child, one of the early lessons I learnt as a Christian was the importance of being born again. I was told it starts with confessing my sins, repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and saviour. Then, there was the conscious decision to be baptized by water, which represents dying with Christ and resurrecting to a new life in Christ and baptism of the Holy Spirit, which comes with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
But the above should not just stop as "to do" activities we check off.
Recently, I was filling a form while joining a department in a church fellowship. One of the questions that was asked was something like, "Are you born again?" "If yes, what does it mean?"
At first, I gave the automated response, "Being born again means repenting of your sins and accepting Jesus as your Lord and savior."
Any young christian would give such response, right? But as I read and reflected on my response, I felt the superficiality in it. Something inside of me for the first time questioned my christianity and so-called status of being born again. I knew there was more to it than I was embracing.
So, here I am, sharing my testimony. Being born again starts with repenting of one's sins and confessing Christ as our Lord and Saviour. It does not end there. We must live to emulate Christ, not just because the word "Christian" means Christ-Like. But we cannot emulate or be like someone we do not know. So, we have to study the Bible to be knowledgeable and empowered to spread the gospel to others and be able to stand in the day of battle. We must also be baptized in water and in the spirit. We cannot afford to be all creed without substance or seed! God is able to reveal His glory in us and through us! Embrace the salvation in Christ fully and see your life bloom!
We must not mix up religion with salvation. Nicodemus, who came to Jesus was a religious leader. If religiosity was all we needed, Christ would not have told Nicodemus about salvation. These days, it is easy to get carried away with religious activities and forget the true essence of salvation. That is why we find an acute church-goer who claims to love Jesus but hate his/her brother. How can you say you love Jesus and hate your brother...? (remember that song?).
Don't get me wrong, fellowship with brethren must not be forsaken. But like Pastor Tunde Bakare use to say, Make sure you know God for yourself. Meaning, know who God is...ask Him to reveal Himself to you... study the word so no one can confuse you when they dilute the word with human philosophy. Seek the truth like Nicodemus did, know it and let the truth set you free from all religious bondage. By attending a Bible-believing church, you are able to hear the word and grow in your faith. Also, ask your pastor or church leader how you can be baptized in water and in the spirit.
Thanks for reading this blog post! So, are you born again?
"For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times." Romans 3:23-25
"For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." Romans 10:9-10
"For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. Amen." Romans 11:36.