John 3:5-7 - Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 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.'"
"How," I hope you are asking, "can I be blessed by the new birth and become a new creature?" In reply, Christ tells us how our hearts can be changed. We "must be born again," He says, by faith. We must come to Him, God's Son and the world's Redeemer, admitting that because of our sins we are hopeless, helpless, and lost. But grasping His grace, clinging to the cross, trusting the Gospel truth that at Calvary He was crucified for us, as there He suffered the pain, penalty, guilt, curse, and terror of our transgressions, we not only receive pardon for our iniquity, but by the Holy Spirit's miracle of regeneration we are also born again into a new life.
Hear and believe this divine truth. We have the promise, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." For your own peace, come to Christ, be born again in Him! I put this decisive question before each of you today: "Are you born again?" Before you answer, keep clearly in mind that nothing less than complete rebirth will permit you to enter the Kingdom!
It is not enough to be sorry for your sins; it is not enough to go to church, sing in the choir, or be on the board; it is not enough to pray, to give generously, or to work tirelessly. Beneficial as these things are, Christ emphatically reminds us, "You must be born again." It is God who does it all—He alone can save. As the apostle Paul writes, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus has done it for us all at Calvary. There's nothing we can add to it, no matter how hard we try. And how could it be otherwise? What do we have to present to God to prove our worthiness before Him? Sadly, not a single thing. But knowing that, we trust in God's grace, His abundant mercy, and thank Him for doing what we could never do on our own.
A new life in Christ is ours—one where forgiveness and peace reign in place of our sin, turmoil, and uncertainty. Praise be to God who does this all for us. "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13-14).
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much to save us from our sins. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
From "Be Born Again in Christ!" a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. How does being "born again" mean more than "turning over a new leaf," or just trying harder?
2. How can you know you are born again? (See Romans 10:8-13; John 3:16-17.)
3. Why do our efforts and good deeds fall short when it comes to our salvation?
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