May 22 I Saturday
1 Chronicles 16-18
“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.’” —John 3:5-6
What does it mean to be born again? Specifically, as Jesus explains to Nicodemus why Nicodemus must be born again, He talks about “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Jesus makes the point that no matter how hard one may try hard to be righteous, they will always fall short because the flesh can only give birth to more flesh. This leads Nicodemus to ask Jesus the most important question he has ever asked in his life: “How can this be?” (John 3:9). The rest of Jesus’s discourse with Nicodemus answers his question, with the climax of Jesus’s answer hinging on these words: “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” (John 3:16).
One cannot modify the flesh. Instead, the question before all people is not will we try harder, but will we believe in the salvation that God has provided. If we believe, we will have eternal life. The great battle of our spiritual life is not if we will try hard, but if we will believe in what God has provided and put our faith in His way of salvation.
Like Nicodemus, we are invited to let go of all of our perceived self-righteousness that we have achieved in our life. Even as Christians, we can easily slip into the place of trying to modify the flesh only to realize that it can only give birth to flesh. The heart of the Christian message is that God came down to do for us what we cannot do in our flesh.
On the cross, Jesus poured out His life for the forgiveness of our sins. Romans 8:1-2 tells us, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” We are born again of the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, believing in what He has done for us on the cross. Only His Holy Spirit can do what we are powerless to do, transforming our life into holiness and restoring our life to God.
Christianity is not about us becoming a better version of ourselves. Rather, it is about Christ and what He has done for us and what He wants to do within us; to become a whole new creation and to be given a whole new life is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for placing Your Spirit within me as I boldly proclaim that I believe in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. Hallelujah! Praise You!