I’m a good person. I try to do right by others. Being kind and living a moral life is enough to please God. Right?
Nicodemus was an upright man and respected leader of his community. The Bible tells us he came to Jesus one night, saying he knew Jesus was a teacher from God. But Jesus didn’t teach Nicodemus about being a perfect man. Instead, He said something shocking to this moral man: “You must be born anew.”
Nicodemus was perplexed. What did Jesus mean—somehow return to his mother’s womb and be born a second time? Jesus explained, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
To be born anew isn’t to be born again in our physical body, our flesh; nor is it to convert to a religion, turn over a new leaf, or improve ourselves. In fact, in God’s eyes, the most moral person and the most profane person have the same need: the life of God. To have the life of God, we must be born anew.
To be born anew is to be born of the Spirit of God in our spirit, the deepest part of our being. When God’s Spirit comes into us, we receive the life of God and are born of God. We become sons of God. Then, in addition to our human life, we have the highest, most wonderful life in the universe—the divine, eternal life of God.
What’s important to God isn’t a matter of behavior, but whether or not we have His life. Actually, our good behavior—however commendable—can never remove the evil of sin in us. Like Nicodemus, we may live an ethical life outwardly, but our inward nature is still sinful. Although God wants us to have His life, He is righteous and must judge sinners. So how can judged sinners receive the life of God?
The Bible tells us good news: God loves us and gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross as our Substitute. There, Jesus bore the sins of the whole world on Himself and was judged in our place. Because He died for us, we can be forgiven of our sins and receive the life of God. He resurrected from the dead and is the life-giving Spirit. Now, whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.
God is calling you to be born anew. For this, you must repent—that is, turn from everything else to God—and confess you are a sinner. You must believe Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised, and receive Him as your Savior. You can be born anew right now by opening your heart and praying sincerely:
“Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I repent of my old life without You, and I turn to You. I believe in You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins and resurrecting to give me eternal life. Lord, I open my spirit to receive You right now. Come into me and make me a son of God. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
If you prayed to receive the Lord Jesus, visit bfa.org/new-believers.
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