BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT
John 3:1–8, 14–17
Few things can bring joy like a newborn baby. The days leading to the arrival of a little one encompass months of parties, showers and celebrations. Over the last few years gender reveal parties have become popular.
Some couples go to extreme measures to share their news of whether a boy or girl is on the way. I have witnessed everything from balloons, confetti and even crop dusters conveying messages in shades of blue or pink. Regardless of the gender, a new baby is reason to celebrate.
The greatest reason for believers to celebrate is the new life given to us by the Holy Spirit. I emphasize the word “given” because salvation is undeniably a gift.
Think about it this way: What role did you have in being conceived or coming into existence? While your physical being is a gift from God, so is your spiritual life. This is where the Holy Spirit enters the picture in salvation. The full measure of the Trinity is involved in our wonderful salvation.
New birth is required to enter the kingdom of God. (1–3)
Think for a moment about all the requirements one must fulfill to legally drive a car, secure a loan, buy a home or start a business. Each of these activities requires an application process and usually a fee. With salvation, the means has been provided for us. That is what makes the good news good news!
In His grace God takes the initiative by the power of the Holy Spirit to draw sinners to Himself. Jesus makes it clear our only hope to see and experience the kingdom of God is through the work of the Holy Spirit. There is no application or fee we could ever provide to buy our pardon and forgiveness.
The Holy Spirit brings about the new birth. (4–8)
Not only does the Holy Spirit provide the means for eternal life, He also grants us the manner in which anyone can be saved.
Consider Nicodemus. He is an intelligent person and is sincere in his desire to understand Jesus and His teachings. When Jesus used the illustration of being born again, Nicodemus was genuinely perplexed.
Jesus wanted Nicodemus to understand the gift of salvation is a supernatural occurrence that cannot be attained through religion or academics. If anyone is to be saved, it will be on God’s terms.
We experience the new birth as we trust in Jesus. (14–17)
Within these verses the most well-known verse in Scripture is referenced. John 3:16 is the gospel in a nutshell. When running for president, Jimmy Carter made headlines by stating he had been “born again.” The news media and secular world were perplexed by Carter’s statement. Christians understand and embrace the language he chose. The world needs to hear these words of Jesus today.
We have in our very hearts and lives the greatest news of all. When is the last time you shared your born-again announcement? Your story is uniquely yours, and it is powerful. It begins and ends with the name of Jesus. Have you trusted Him for salvation?
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Mississippi