Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him 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.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (JOH 3:1-4)
What does the Lord Jesus Christ mean when He says that a man must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God? As Nicodemus asks in verse four, are we to enter again into our mother’s womb? The answer, of course, is “No”. The Lord is not talking about another physical birth, but rather a spiritual rebirth; the birth of a new creature that is able to have a relationship with God, and eventually live in eternity with Him.
The question we need to answer is: Why is it necessary for a person to be born spiritually; are we not born with a spirit at the time of our physical birth? At birth all men are born with a body and soul, but without a human spirit. We are born this way because when Adam sinned, he died spiritually, and as the head of the human race, he represented all who would follow. However, we are actually better off as born-again believers in an imperfect world than Adam was as a perfect man in the perfect world of the Garden of Eden. Those who are born again have eternal salvation, and are eternally secure, whereas Adam had to remain perfect to maintain his relationship with God in the garden:
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” (ROM 3:9-12)
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (ROM 5:12)
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (ROM 5:18-19)
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