In John 3:1-21, we have the Lord Jesus speaking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jews. In verse 10, the Lord calls Nicodemus a master, or a teacher, of Israel. He is the one who came to the Lord Jesus by night. We might criticize Nicodemus for coming to the Lord under the cover of darkness, but at least he came to Jesus! Although shy about his desire to talk to the Lord, we know that later in his life, he became bold for the Lord. Nicodemus could not understand the Lord’s instruction that a man had to be born again to enter the kingdom of God. In John 3:5-8, the Lord explains this vital message to him.

The Lord gives Nicodemus a two-fold explanation of being born again in verses 5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” How are we to understand this? Let’s consider Ephesians 5:25-26 which says, “…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” We are told here that we are cleansed through the washing of the Word of God. We also read in James 1:18, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” This also shows us that we are saved by the truth of God’s Word. Along with that, it is noted that we are must also be born of the Spirit. This refers to the working of the Spirit of God in our hearts that leads us to repentance and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior. Titus 3:5 teaches us that our salvation is, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” There are two births, one is natural, and the other is spiritual.

The Lord’s words in verse 7 are vital. He said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” “Don’t be so surprised, the Lord said, “You have to be born again.” Notice that small word ‘must’. This is the Lord’s command to Nicodemus and to us! This is not a choice. To refuse to accept the Lord Jesus and be born again is an act of direct disobedience. In 2 Thessalonians 1:8 we read of the Lord coming, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Let me ask you, dear friend, have you obeyed the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Have you bowed your knee to Him and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior? If not, you are living in disobedience and the Lord will one day take His vengeance on you for that disobedience.

Now let’s consider the Lord’s words in verse 8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” The Lord uses the example of wind to show Nicodemus that, although he might not understand all there is to know about this new birth, he could still believe it. Just like we do not understand all the natural laws which govern the motion of the wind, so the operation of the Holy Ghost in the new birth may be difficult to understand. That should not stop us from exercising faith in the Lord. The Lord went on to say those beautiful words in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior? (158.5)