John 3:3 – Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
This is one of the most familiar Scriptures. During his 1976 presidential campaign President Carter made it a popular saying when he declared that he was born again and served as a Baptist Sunday school teacher. The phrase originated with Jesus when he was speaking to Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher. Nicodemus understood that Jesus must be from God. Because of the signs Jesus was performing such as healing and miracles. Nicodemus was trying to figure Jesus out through his intellect. Jesus gave Nicodemus a new paradigm to consider. Even though Nicodemus saw the signs, he had not truly seen the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God in not an intellectual experience, it is a “spiritual birth.” Many today are still trying to get to God through their intellect, but that is impossible to do. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). As Jesus ministers to the woman at the well, He introduces her to this new paradigm of thinking. She thought that worship had to do with the location of worship. Jesus tells her that a new day is coming when the “true worshipers will worship in the spirit.”
The kingdom of God is in the Spirit. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:16-17). What powerful understanding Paul brings to the church in these passages. Salvation begins at the point of “His Spirit testifying to our spirit.” I remember in the eleventh grade at a Youth for Christ gathering, I said to God, “Tonight I want eternity settled when I leave this place.” As I left the building, His Spirit testified to my spirit that I had eternal life. From that moment until now, I have never doubted my salvation in Christ. I have grown in the knowledge of my inheritance given to me from God. I know that I have an eternal inheritance with Christ.
I have known many blessings as a child of God, but I have also experienced sufferings with Him. Suffering begins in denying self, submitting to the death of self and receiving His resurrected life daily as well as in the eternity to come. Nurture your spirit man with the Word of God, with prayer, and with the fellowship of like-minded people.
Father, I thank You for drawing me to Yourself and causing me to be born again. Help my spirit to grow and become strong in Christ. Teach me how to deny my fleshly appetites and hear Your Holy Spirit better.