John 3:1-17 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.
This passage of scripture is very familiar to those who have grown up in any denomination that follows Christian teachings. In this passage is found the roots that most evangelicals cling to for their beliefs in what one must do to be saved.
Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees. He came to see Jesus at night for a heart to heart discussion. Jesus told Nicodemus that no one can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he is born again. He added that people must be born both of water and of the Spirit. Some interpret the water as baptism while others interpret it as natural birth. I feel no authority to declare it as one or the other, but to let it rest as it is written.
Jesus focused on the Spirit when he spoke to Nicodemus. It is when the spirit changes our hearts and our way of thinking that we find the peace that God has to offer us. John 3:16 tells us that whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life.
We must believe in Jesus resurrection. We must also believe in Jesus’ teachings. To believe in Jesus’ teachings is to agree with him that sin is sinful – especially the sin in our own lives. We must trust Jesus enough to let him show us how to live better lives, and to follow him with our whole hearts.
In light of eternity, our lives are but a few breaths. We are given this time to reach others for Christ and to prepare ourselves to be the bride of Christ for eternity. (Matt 9:15; John 3:29; 2 Cor 11:2; Rev 19:7; Rev 21:2, 9) Let’s not waste our time arguing with God over what is and isn’t sin, and miss out on his greatest gift – forgiveness of the very sins we are prone to argue about or to refuse to look inward and find – and ultimately miss the joy of spending eternity with Christ who loves us enough to die for us.
Let us also learn to love others into heaven, not point out their faults. If we are focusing on our own sins, we will become more and more sensitive to the pain of others and find ways to apply healing salve, not sandpaper to their struggles with sin.
Father God, you and your Son Jesus have shown us what is holy. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to know and share your salvation and your will for our lives.