“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, 5 KJV
Nicodemus was a man who knew the scriptures. In fact, he was a teacher of the law. However, he was honest with himself. He knew that Jesus was sent from Heaven and God was with Him. This brought a contrast upon his own life. He saw that he doesn’t have that connection to God that he saw in Jesus. Therefore, Nicodemus only knew the scriptures by academic learning not by experience of life. John 5:39, 6:63
This shows one major difference between the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of man. *The goal of the gospel of the kingdom is to change your vision for life and bring you into the realities in God*. This is the experience that brings transformation. This gospel is Christcentred not mancentred.
*Any gospel that doesn’t change the direction of your life, that leaves you as worldly as you used to be before you came to salvation, but only seeks to make your life better here, is a false gospel.* This is not the Kingdom of God; it is the kingdom of the man, and the devil is behind it.
Please read Luke 12:13-15
What does it mean to be born again?
It means the current life is faulty. There is death at work in all of us due to the disobedience of the first man. And it is the death of Christ on the Cross that releases the sinless life of Christ for us when we receive Him. So, to be born again literally means being born from above.
It signals a superior life, a life that wins and never succumbs to the tricks and temptations of the enemy. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
When this happens, it is proven by the change of vision and direction. You are able to see the Kingdom of God so that you can begin to press in into it. This will lead to a change of priorities. The born again experience ought to create an instant distaste for sin, self and the world system because you are now seeing things as they really are, you are seeing from God’s viewpoint (Colossians 3:1-2).
Those who follow the heavenly vision that they are seeing are the ones who truly enter into the Kingdom of God. So, it is not by talking about God and admiring His Kingdom; it is by forsaking sin and following Jesus.
What about being born of water and spirit?
This is when you allow the vision of God’s Kingdom to swallow you up.
*Water represents DEATH*. To be born of water is to be born dead/to come out of the water dead. What do we mean by dead?
Dead in sin. Can a person sin again when he is dead? No.
Dead to sin, dead to self, dead to the world, dead to life, dead to death and dead to everything.
*Spirit represents LIFE*.
“It is the spirit that quickeneth…” (John 6:63). To quicken means to “make alive”. The Spirit will only quicken the one that is dead (disconnected from the general life of sin).
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…” (Ephesians 2:1). You can see the two principles there: “born of water and spirit”. *Once there is death to sin, the Spirit will take over in fullness*. Yes, the believer has a measure of the Spirit at salvation but the fullness comes when death occurs. How does death occur? By Recognition & Appropriation.
Recognize that you are already dead in Christ if you have come to Him (Romans 6:3-7).
Then appropriate this reality to your life henceforth (Romans 6:11-14).
The Gospel of the Kingdom is not a gospel that centers upon man and his self-motivated ambitions; it is a gospel that centers upon God and His original intentions. It ends the old man in Adam and begins the new man in Christ. This is the true gospel of the Scriptures that transforms radically. *Being born again is merely an introduction to the Kingdom, because you can now see the Kingdom but you have to decide if you will enter in or not.*
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24 (compare with John 3:3,5)
Picture Credit: The Bible Project