En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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The Impossible: You Must Be Born Again…Part 1!

Posted by Scott on January 31, 2009

IMPOSSIBLE – You Must Be Born Again, Part 1

visit http://theoparadox.blogspot.com/ for more from Derek!

This is the first post in a new series called “THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE: Rediscovering the Words of Jesus” In this series, we will examine commands of Jesus that are impossible for fallen man to obey, and impossible for man to accomplish apart from God’s grace. Let’s start things off with a look at the famous conversation that took place between Jesus and Nicodemus under the cover of darkness . . .

John 3:1-3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Notice how our Lord uses the language of impossibility. Cannot. He does not say it is very difficult, or that it will take a long time if you really try hard. He does not say, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” or, “Just visualize the kingdom of God, and it will be yours.” He does not even imply that because God commands something, we are able to do it. In fact, He states the opposite. He says we “cannot.”

Jesus is answering Nicodemus’ assertion that “no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him.” Jesus says, in essence, “You can see the signs well enough, but it will require a miracle of God for you to see His kingdom.”
With this answer, Jesus points to the basic blindness of our fallen human nature. We are naturally blind to the things of God. We use our physical eyes all day long, looking at books, billboards, cars, trees, people, websites, nature, art, this blog. Some put their eyes up to microscopes and look at the tiny, hidden world of microorganisms. Others put their eyes up to telescopes and view the vastness of space with its quietly whirling fire-balls and stony, barren planets. We delight in our seeing, as we use our eyes to discover, to perceive, to examine, to scrutinize, to KNOW what is around us. Our eyes aid us in navigation, interpreting language, making judgments and even sinning. They are an entry way to our hearts. We use them like spiritual doors to take in the objects and images of worship that are most passionately cherished within. We are natural idolaters. Sometimes our eyes fill with tears as we witness the tragedies of a sin-saturated world. Sometimes they are wide with wonder as we watch someone perform an amazing stunt. But apart from the new birth, our eyes cannot perceive the kingdom of God. We’re not just shortsighted, we’re not merely in need of enlightenment, we’re not even simply blind. We lack the faculties needed to see it. We have physical eyes, but no spiritual eyes.
Jesus uses His flaming eyes of judgment and compassion to look directly at us. He tells us the truth: “You cannot see the kingdom of God.” With omniscient realism, He tells us what we can’t do, but He offers us the ONE HOPE that enlivens the hearts of His chosen ones. He says the beautiful little word, “unless.” Unless one is born again. Unless a second birth happens. Unless GOD intervenes for us.

We need something, but what we need is out of our reach. How does a person who can’t even SEE cause himself to be born? Causing one’s own birth is physically impossible the first time, and spiritually impossible the second time. Only the Sprit gives birth to spirit, and fallen man does not have the Spirit. Yet Jesus’ earthly mission was intended to bring about a second birth in some of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam.

John 1:11-13 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

One cannot be born again by the will of the flesh, and one cannot be born again by the will of man. The point is emphatic. It is God alone Who can accomplish this.

Jesus calls us to the new birth, but it is a call which He alone can accomplish in us. Is this humbling? It’s meant to be.

Cannot do what? The person who has not been born again cannot SEE something. See what? The kingdom of God. Someone could be standing right in the middle of it, surrounded by its greatness and majesty, but still he would not be able to SEE it – let alone enter into it. Why? He CANNOT.

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2 Responses to “The Impossible: You Must Be Born Again…Part 1!”

  1. Scott,

    Thanks for re-posting this article. I hope it is a blessing to your readers.

    Grace & peace,
    Derek Ashton
    theoparadox.blogspot.com

    • Scott said

      I thought it was that good that it needed recirculation and direct them to your site as well. Keep writing for His glory.

      Pressing on in Christ,
      Scott

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