HOUSMAIL HM#021 - ENTERING THE KINGDOM - BORN AGAIN 7 March 1999
"Unless one is born anew, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God ..... unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot ENTER the kingdom of God." (John 3:3,5)
Nicodemus came to Jesus a puzzled man. As a "teacher in Israel" he must have known all those Old Testament prophecies about the Kingdom. He knew that the prophecies foretold the miracles that he saw Jesus performing. And he certainly knew that the teaching he heard from Jesus could only be from God. He was on the threshold of believing. But he had not yet understood the most important element of all.
Of course we MUST know about the prophecies. We need those in order to truly believe that Jesus is who he claims to be. And we MUST know what Jesus taught in the four Gospels. Otherwise we will not know what to believe in order to be saved. But it is not enough to merely hear and pay lip service to the words. It is not enough to see the miracles. And it was certainly not enough, Jesus told Nicodemus, to be born physically as a Jew.
There is no real Good News about the Kingdom Of God for any of us, until it becomes an individual personal HOPE. And that hope can become a reality only AFTER we are"BORN AGAIN".
"Born again" describes a SPIRITUAL experience. It tells us that we must leave our old life behind and begin a NEW LIFE. In another place it is described as a spiritual "death" to an old way of life and a spiritual "resurrection" to a new life. In another, it is described as a "new creation". And in yet another, it is described as a "translation" from one kingdom to another. It is even described as having "Eternal Life".
Paul goes so far as to say that "The ONLY thing that counts is new creation!" (Gal 6:15 NEB)
Of course, all of that is encompassed in the meaning of the first and most important word in the Gospel ..... REPENT!
Without repentance the news is all bad! Repentance is the element of the message of the Kingdom, which turns it from BAD NEWS to GOOD NEWS, and offers hope for the future.
However, this remarkable statement by Jesus contains TWO other key words, the meaning of which is inevitably missed by those who neither SEE nor HEAR! We are not talking now about the words "born again"! We are talking about something that becomes possible only AFTER a person is born again.
The other two important words are "SEE" and "ENTER".
When we repent of our sins, and are born again of water and spirit (both are essential elements of the new birth) our eyes are opened to SEE the Kingdom Of God. We can begin to "see" past the material world, into a new spiritual dimension where God is at work in ways which are neither seen nor understood by carnal men with carnal minds and carnal appetites.
And when we can thus "SEE" the Kingdom, we are also enabled to ENTER now, and LIVE now, in that new spiritual dimension where Jesus has been made Lord of all. THAT is what gives reality to our hope of a future inheritance in the Kingdom Of God on Earth.
Have we truly SEEN? Do we know beyond question, without presumption, but in meekness and humility, with a broken spirit and a contrite heart, that we have ENTERED?
How wonderful is the GOOD NEWS which offers us the means of both SEEING and ENTERING the Kingdom of God.