How Can This Be?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 6:52 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “In Harmony” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 3:1-21 (NIV):

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Be Born Again

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’

Jesus had the advantage of knowing Nicodemus’ heart and mind, so he cut to the chase and addressed the real heart issue. Nicodemus was obviously seeking truth, so the Lord Jesus told him what he needed to hear, and what truly addressed the root of Nicodemus’ inquiry. He told him that if he wanted to see the kingdom of God, i.e. if he wanted to know Jesus and to partake in God’s eternal kingdom, then he had to be “born again” (from above).

Nicodemus, like any of us might have, thought in the natural and wondered how he could possibly be reborn physically. Don’t we often miss spiritual truths because we try to make natural sense out of them? Well, Jesus honored Nicodemus’ question, and he explained to him further what he meant. We are all born of water when we are born physically, but we also need to be born of the Spirit of God, which is a spiritual birth, not a natural one.

When we are born naturally, we begin as babies and, as the years go by, we learn and grow into mature adults, hopefully. When we are born spiritually, we begin a new life with Christ Jesus. We don’t just clean up the old life to make it look better, but we start over, putting our old lives of sin behind us, and allowing the Spirit of God to transform us into new creatures in Christ Jesus (like the change from a caterpillar into a butterfly); and we put on our new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (see Eph. 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-25; Gal. 2:20; & Ro. 6). Then we begin to grow and to mature in Christ.

Accept the Testimony

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

It appears Nicodemus doubted Jesus’ words, because the Lord Jesus then chastised him (and the Jews) for not accepting the testimony of God. Nicodemus, because he was schooled in the scriptures, including the prophets, should have understood. We, too, can be dull of hearing even though we may not be lacking in knowledge. We need to pray that we will hear the Spirit’s voice speaking to our hearts, and be willing to hear spiritual truths even when they don’t make natural sense to us, at least they may not to our way of thinking and reasoning. And, it is essential that we accept the testimony of God/Christ.

Jesus then revealed himself to Nicodemus as not only the Son of God, but God himself who had come from heaven. And, then he told him, in essence, that just as the snake on a pole was a sign of healing to the people of Israel who looked on it (see Nu. 21), he would be raised up on a pole (a cross) to die, and those who would look upon him for healing, and who would believe in him, would be saved from their sins and would have eternal life.

Believe in Him

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human flesh (as a newborn baby), suffered as we suffer, and was tempted as we are tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick, bound up the injured, drove out demons, cared for the lost, and preached repentance and obedience for salvation and for eternal life with God. Then he died on the cross for our sins and he rose again, thus securing salvation from sin for all who believe.

It is by grace we are saved, through faith, and this is not of our own works lest we should boast in our flesh (see Eph. 2:8-9), yet that does not mean nothing is required of us. We must be born again, we must accept God’s testimony (his words to us), and we must believe in the name of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. To believe in someone’s name is to believe in his character and the totality of who he is, what he is about, what he teaches, and what he stands for. So, belief in Jesus is not an emotional decision or an intellectual assent, but it accepting into our lives the very life and essence of Christ as our Lord (master), and it is accepting his truths, as well, in all practical application to our daily lives (via obedience).

Walk in Truth

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Jesus is light and light is truth (revelation) - salvation, the gospel, and the scriptures. The light shines in the darkness (sin; wickedness; lies; deceptions) and the light exposes the darkness for what it is. Yet, many people prefer the darkness because their deeds are evil. And, evil is not necessarily all the really bad stuff, either, but it includes any thoughts we entertain or actions we perform knowingly contrary to God and his words (truth).

If we, with full knowledge, choose to do what we know is wrong, then our deeds are evil, too. If we are doing what we know is wrong by God’s standards, we will usually avoid the light of truth, because we won’t want our deeds to be exposed for what they are. Can you identify? I know what it is to knowingly avoid the word of God (truth) because I (past) wanted to do something I knew was wrong. I pray I will not do that ever again.

Yet, if we live by the truth of God’s words, and we love his words and desire nothing more than to walk in all of his truth in all of our ways, then we will have no fear of the light exposing what is truly in our hearts, because if any wickedness exists within us, we will want it exposed so that it can be eradicated from our lives. Does this describe where you are? If not, then why not? This is where every believer in Jesus Christ should be found. We should all hate what is evil, and cling to what is good, never lacking in zeal for our Lord.

In Harmony / An Original Work / September 2, 2012

Based off Ro. 12:9-21; 1 Pet. 3:8-15

Love each other truly.
Cling to what is good.
Hate all that is evil.
Never lack in zeal.
Serve the Lord with fervor.
Joyful in hope be;
Patient in affliction;
Praying faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.

Share with all God’s people
Who are found in need.
Do not be conceited.
Sympathetic be.
Love, and show compassion
In humility.
Keep your tongue from evil.
Peaceful you must be.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.

God sees who are righteous;
Listens to their prayers.
But He’s against evil –
Is His to avenge.
Do not fear what they fear.
Suffer patiently.
In your hearts, make Christ Lord.
Serve Him faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.