Did you ever read about the encounter that a man named Nicodemus had with Rabbi Jesus? Here it is:
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:1-2)
Nicodemus was a Jewish man who was a ruler of people, and he came to meet Jesus during the night. Perhaps he was being cautious, because Jesus was not widely accepted during that time. Nicodemus had obviously heard about, or possibly witnessed some of the miracles that Jesus had done, and he was sure that Jesus was sent by God.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (John 3:3-4)
Jesus cut right to the chase, and he told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again, but he did not understand what Jesus was talking about. Nicodemus was thinking in the natural and physical realm, but Jesus was talking in the spiritual realm. There are many even today who are not quite sure what it means to be born again. Many people believe that the “born again” movement is some end times sect or something.
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. (John 3:5-6)
Jesus made it clear that a “spiritual birth” was absolutely necessary for entrance into the kingdom of God. Each and every one of us has been born of the flesh, or in the natural realm, but Jesus made it clear to Nicodemus that the physical birth would not help him spiritually.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth [wishes], 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. (John 3:7-8)
Jesus told Nicodemus not to marvel at the fact that he told him that he must be born again. Jesus did not say, maybe, could be, should be, or possibly, but he did say MUST BE when speaking about this “spiritual birth” and entrance into the kingdom of God.
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; (Titus 3:5)
Nicodemus was obviously a very religious man, and he showed great interest in Jesus Christ, but the Lord knew this mans spiritual needs, better than he did himself. All of our own good deeds will merit nothing in gaining entrance into the kingdom of God, it is a new heart that we need. There are many well meaning people who are in that same predicament that Nicodemus was in, and they hope that they will gain entrance into God’s Kingdom by doing the best that they can.
Many years ago I was street preaching in Times Square, NYC, and I met a man named Ron, from England who was in the States for a tournament to raise money for charity. Ron was 68 years old at the time, and he told me that he just got back from Chicago where he participated in a punchball tournament for charity. In fact Ron had his hands wrapped in the canvas that boxers use. He told me that he punched one of those boxing bags, that are on a stand for over 30 hours non stop, and I was amazed.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)