John 3:6-7 - (Jesus said) "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'"
To start your life again with blessing; to have the assurance that "Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (1 Corinthians 5:17b), you must follow the clear-cut direction Jesus gives in our text: He tells Nicodemus, and us, "Ye must be born again."
Yet while there is no human "must" in the record of your redemption, as soon as you come to Jesus and receive Him as your all-sufficient Redeemer, you "must be born again." The Lord wants you to become an entirely new creature. He is not satisfied with good intentions, better conduct, the best you can do. Repairing, patching, improving, disguising your defects are not enough. You "must be born again." The Almighty wants a completely new heart and spirit within you. He demands, "Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy" (Leviticus 19:2b).
Are you born again? This second birth is for you. The new life in the Lord is yours for believing, receiving, trusting Jesus, the Son of God, as your Savior. No matter how sin-blotched and ugly your life may be, you can begin it again with marvelous beauty. Once, Edwin Landseer, the eminent artist, was a guest in a castle in Scotland. Someone accidentally broke a bottle of acid, which fell against the drawing-room wall, decorated with spotless ivory. The ugly stain caused by the acid splash seemed to ruin the whole wall, but Landseer took a piece of charcoal from the fireplace and with a few deft lines embodied the stain in an attractive woodland scene -- a quick transformation by which the unsightly became beautiful. If a mere man could thus use acid splashes and charcoal to produce astonishing artistry, does the almighty Spirit of God not work incomparably greater marvels on sin-stained human hearts and lives when He changes them, cleansed by Jesus' blood, into the image of Christ?
In this moment, the Savior is appealing to you personally and directly, as He once spoke to Nicodemus; and when He promises, "Behold, I make all things new" (see Revelation 21:5), offering you the beginning of a new life, don't reject the mightiest blessing even God can ever give you, but clasp your Savior tightly, lay your sins at the foot of His cross, pray the ancient plea for merciful renewal, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me," and the holy angels in heaven will rejoice as you are reborn, Spirit-born, into everlasting blessedness. God grant you this radiant rebirth through Jesus, "the Way, the Truth, and the Life"! Amen.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, we must be born again, and by Your Son's eternal work accomplished at Calvary, we can be! Thank You for Your incomparable gift of love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "Begin Life Again with Jesus!" a sermon excerpt from Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
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