John 3:1–21 (NKJV)
3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”John 3:1-9
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
In this clandestine encounter, under the cover of night, Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to Jesus to perhaps learn more about Him and how to be saved. He lauds Jesus, praising the signs He did and declaring Him truly from God. Jesus responds with the declaration that one must be born again to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus is naturally confused, not necessarily looking at the spiritual application. Jesus explains that a fleshly birth is common, but being born of the Spirit is unique and the key to salvation. Nicodemus is still taken aback by the assertion.
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.John 3:10-17
Jesus rebukes Nicodemus’ inability to understand the things of God. He makes it clear that He has come down from God, and that He must be the sacrifice for all to bring about salvation for mankind. He then lays out His mission in no uncertain terms. God loved the world. God sent His son to die in our stead. God will save anyone who believes on Jesus. A simple, direct plan for salvation.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”John 3:18-21
Jesus here additionally explains what qualifies one as a candidate and a recipient of salvation. Those who have a desire for good will come to the light, Jesus Christ. Those who desire evil will shun the light. While this does not support works=based salvation, it does point to the fact that those who come to salvation are drawn. You cannot overcome your proclivity to sin by your own prerogative. God draws those whom He knows will seek His truth, regardless of their current condition. Seek the Light. Be born again. Live!
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