(We continue are series on John 3 the words of Christ. What did He mean ‘ye must be born again’?)
Ye cannot see and cannot enter.
Christ says ‘except you be born again, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven’. In other words, no one can go and be were Christ is in heaven, unless they are born again. The word in the original literally is translated as ‘born from above’. It’s something that comes from above, it is not an invention of man, nor is it an ability that anyone can earn to receive. In other words, God alone can do this. Jesus says if anyone is not born again (born from above) they cannot see (verse 3) and they cannot enter (verse 5) into the kingdom.
Nicodemus reaction off course is not a surprising one. Because one of the marks of unbelief is that the person thinks that all that is said is foolish. Someone who is not born again cannot see the kingdom of God. In other words, he sees the whole teaching of Christ as something irrational and foolish. It does not make sense to him. This we see in Nicodemus response to Christ in verse 4:
“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mothers womb, and be born?”.
What Nicodemus is saying to Jesus is this ‘what your saying does not make sense to me. This is foolish talk Jesus’. The way Nicodemus, the teacher, responds to Jesus is the way that someone who is not born again would say. Don’t we have today people saying how ridiculous and superstitious is the way Christians believe things from an ancient book which is irrelevant and only irrational people who are very emotionally driven accept it? When Christians speak even to those who believe in God but who are in another religion, do they not also consider this teaching as something stupid? Even religious people like Nicodemus cannot understand this. The question is why?
Well is it not clear from Christ’s words? He said “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. How can someone see if they are blind? Can a blind man see the light? No he can’t. And this is what Jesus has said in order to prove to Nicodemus words. His very words prove that he is spiritually blind from the things of God. A Christian can discern and see the things that Christ says, but someone who is not a Christian cannot. They may have knowledge, but they do not have light and cannot see it or touch it. They are not enlightened by it. It is as the Apostle Paul said about the natural man “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”(1 Corinthians 2:14).
Is that not what we see here with Nicodemus? He can’t discern the words of Christ because they are only discerned by those who have spiritual life. They can see things that are spiritual. Let us go even further. None can see God and be a Christian unless they are born again, because, they do not have the mind of Christ. If you are born again, you will be able to recognize and understand the words of Christ, because you have the mind of Christ. You are a child of God and a disciples and a servant of Christ. You have the thoughts and the desires that He has. And you follow the footsteps of your Master. And you desire to seek after them and taste them. All you think the most is Christ and His precious word and love. And you never desire to go further away from following Christ. You don’t want to disobey Him because you love Him. That is a Christian. He does not think of himself as he used to.
Let us take once again the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote “For who hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ”(1 Corinthians 2:16). Who are the “we”? He is referring to the Christians in Corinth. He calls them “saints” in 1 Corinthians 1:2. So they are Christians. That is a sign of being born again, it is that Christians can discern the things of God because they have the mind of Christ. It is an entirely new mind.
Anyone who is not born again, cannot see God. The real God, the one and only God. He may see something that he calls God. It might be a God that he himself has made up in his own mind to worship as His idol. And don’t you do that so often? The religious person is a church goer. He does many works thinking that doing all this he might earn favour from God and salvation. He goes to the pub after that, watches football and thinks and talks of all of that. God is not even in his mind, because it is only a ‘Sunday’ thing, or a Christmas and Easter thing that human tradition holds to. He follows whatever traditions of men told him and not the divine book from God nor Christ. He talks about the war and the problems in countries and politics and football results and transfers etc…My friend that is not the Christian.
That is someone who has not seen God. That person I am sorry to say is blind. It is because, as it is written: “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the glorious light of the gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”(2 Corinthians 4:4). Poor creature. Has the god of this world blinded you? Has the devil blinded you from knowing the true and living God? You trusted in him and you believed in his lies. That is a child of disobedience. That is the tragic spiritual state that Nicodemus is in. He is blind from the things of God even though he holds much head knowledge and religious status. His words coming out of his mouth prove it to be so. But what else does it prove?
Christ said to Nicodemus in verse 5 “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.”
If anyone is not born again, not only are they unable to see Christ; they are also not be fit to enter into heaven. So in two responses from Christ He has said to Nicodemus ‘you are blind and you are not fit and able to enter into heaven’. Imagine the shock he received from those words!
Here is an illustration for you. It’s like a Greek coming from the far away village in Greece to live in the UK. In order to enter into the United Kingdom he must first visit the royal ruler of the land of Britain, the King. He arrives at the gates and the officer their says to him ‘are you born from around here?’. He says ‘no sir’. The officer says to him ‘only those who are citizens of this land can enter into it and see the King’. So the man from Greece, decides in his mind ‘in that case, I will learn the language’. He comes back with a very posh English accent, but still the officer says to him ‘you must be British in order to enter in’. Then he thinks again and decides to give up all his lovely Greek food that he so much cherished. And adapts to eating mash potatoes and beans and gravy and cottage pie and all the things that British eat. He comes back and shows the officer that he can eat British food only. And he even dresses like a British person. But even then the officer says to him ‘let me be frank with you. Whatever you do, you cannot become English, because you must be born from the UK in order to be able to live here. You cannot meet the King and cannot be welcome here unless you are born from here’.
He gets the message. And so it is with anyone who is not born from above, born again. If he or she is not born again, they cannot enter into the Kingdom of God!