We’ve been talking a lot about birthdays this month at NGEN. We are celebrating our third birthday and giving away all kinds of swag. It’s been awesome.
But it’s gotten me thinking about births. I have a friend whose entire five-member family has birthdays in August. That’s a lot of cake! They spend the month in a perpetual state of celebration. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.
I was also thinking about a guy named Nicodemus. He was a teacher who lived in Jesus’ time. John tells us in his gospel about Nicodemus and his encounter with Jesus. It’s one of the strangest conversations in the Bible, and it all has to do with births.
Nicodemus noticed Jesus performing miracles and approached him. Nicodemus said he knew Jesus must be a man of God because he wouldn’t be able to perform his miracles otherwise. Jesus’ response was … odd.
John 3:3 says, “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
That was kind of Nicodemus’ response too. He asked how a man can be born when he is old. Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time? Seems like a fair question. Thankfully Jesus clarified. This is what He said in vv. 5-6:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Here’s what Jesus is saying. Everybody is born, that’s the easy part. The hard part is we are all born spiritually dead. In other words, we are all born in sin. Romans 3:23 says we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. If we want to be a member of God’s kingdom–a part of His family–then we have to be born in the spirit also.
So how does that work? Because we are all sinners, there’s nothing we can do on our own to save ourselves from God’s wrath. According to another passage in Romans, the only payment acceptable for sin is death (Romans 6:23). God knew this all along and, in His infinite wisdom, sent His Son to earth to live a sinless life and die a death that was sufficient to pay for ALL of our sins. Then, to top it all off, he came back to life on the third day, defeating sin and death once for all.
When we accept that we are sinners, believe that Christ died as payment for our sins and accept Him as Lord of our lives, then our spirits come alive! Now THAT’S a birthday worth celebrating!
If this is all new to you, don’t worry. We are here for you! You can call our prayer & care line at 281-652-5555 or visit our grow page to learn more!
by Rob Trahan