The Gospel is simple. Nicodemus, a religious man who was intrigued by Jesus’ ministry, visited Jesus in secret and Jesus taught him what salvation was. You can read this story in John 3:1-21. When we read the text for what it is, we notice a few things about salvation.
There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Him at night and said, “ Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one could perform these signs You do unless God were with him.”
Jesus replied, “ I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“But how can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”
Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can these things be?” asked Nicodemus.
“Are you a teacher of Israel and don’t know these things?” Jesus replied. “I assure you: We speak what We know and We testify to what We have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven? No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended 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, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.
“This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”
First, one must be born again of the Spirit to even see the kingdom of God. Without first being born again, we are only people of the flesh unable to see anything other than flesh. People born of the flesh are flesh. So, we must be born of the Spirit. Without this new birth, we can’t see God’s kingdom or genuinely believe in Jesus Christ. This new birth is brought about by the Spirit because it is of the Spirit. Later in John’s Gospel, John would record Jesus as saying, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father” (John 6:65). This teaching was so difficult that most of the people following Jesus went a different way (v. 66). Without new birth brought about by the Spirit alone, no one can even see God’s kingdom. Jesus described the movement of the Spirit like the wind. It blows where it pleases and we do not know where it is going or coming from. This was Jesus’ basic and constant teaching during His bodily ministry on this earth.
Second, the salvation of those who are born again of the Spirit is accomplished through the exaltation and sacrifice of the Son. Everyone who believes in the Son, Jesus Christ, has eternal life. Everyone who does not is “already condemned” according to the text. The Son was sent to save, not to condemn.
Third, by our nature, we reject the light. Those who come into the light, their works are revealed to have been accomplished by God. According to Jesus, God is the one who accomplishes this work within us. Those who are born again believe in Jesus and their work is shown to be accomplished by God.
Are you born again? Has the Spirit given you a new heart and drawn you to belief in Jesus, or is your belief in Jesus self-initiated? One of these paths produces true faith accomplished by God alone. One of these paths produces only human religion and not a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. In one process God unapologetically receives all of the glory. In the other, we pridefully assume that we actually have something to offer God. Is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ today?
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
If you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess sincerely that Jesus is Lord then Scripture guarantees your salvation in Christ alone. Please let us know that you have received this salvation by contacting us. We will help to get you plugged into a local church and help disciple you so that you also might make disciples.
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