One of the dangers we face as God’s people is that we read his word like we would any “guide book”. We listen to what we like the sound of and reject what we do not like the sound of. Of course we would not put it that crudely but in reality we are often happy to accept Jesus forgiveness but we really struggle with his Lordship and thus our obedience to his word.
There is a great book I read recently titled, “What Jesus demands from the world”. Even the title should get us thinking. What would you include in the list of things Jesus demands from HIS world … and thus from YOU?
Today I wanted to raise the first thing on the list, “That we must be born again”. I know the American TV evangelist has sort of ruined the terminology of being born again but we cannot deny that that the Bible uses these words. In John 3:3, 5-7 Jesus is talking to Nicodemus who is actually a Pharisee. He says in verse7, “You MUST be born again”.
Here we have an expert in the Jewish scriptures baffled by Jesus’ command that he must be born again. What Jesus said should not have baffled him; he should have known Ezekiel 36:25-27.
In this passage God promises cleansing from sin and the gift of a new human spirit brought about by the presence of his own divine Spirit. Nicodemus is baffled because he is spiritually dead and he needs new life that can only come about by being born of the Spirit.
What Jesus demands of Nicodemus is actually what he demands from us all… from all of us, all ethnic groups all nations… every one … everywhere. Being spiritually dead is dead no matter what colour your skin is or what culture you come from and we all need spiritual life. That only comes when we are born again but this is a gift from God.
Moral improvement is not what you need or even what our world needs. We all need a new spiritual life that will radically transform us from the inside out. And God freely gives it to us. This is what Jesus demands from his world… how have you responded?