2 Corinthians 5.17
The Corinthians passage says, “Therefore if any man is in Christ he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.”
John 3.6 ” That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
John 3 1-2 A man of the Pharisees, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night and says 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.”
A Pharisee was one of about 6000 Jews in a population of maybe 2 million in the nation at the time of Christ. Having their start maybe 150 years before Christ was born, and some sources trace their roots as far back as the Babylonian exile, but for practical purposes they were an established group of men who desired to keep the law, define the law, and determined to be above the fray of the ordinary. With noble goals they started, determining a very regimented lifestyle, doing what the Law required, to the letter. But as we all know, the flesh is weak, and that’s all they had. Their lawful behavior and disciplined lifestyle made them stand out from the rest of society. When one is noticed as being better than the rest, pride has a way of creeping in. By the time of Christ the Pharisees had a reputation of of being perfect, of being the guides for the rest of society, of being “the teachers”, and looked upon with envy. They had become quite powerful, a political party as it were.
To be noticed by a Pharisee would be an honor for a rural young teacher who just came on the scene, but Jesus on the other hand was no ordinary hayseed stumbling around looking to be noticed. He was remarkable in what He said and did. They didn’t necessarily notice Him but He noticed them, He could see their weaknesses, their faults, and their deception.
Thus when Nicodemus says ” we know you have come from God,” one might think that is a great statement of insight from the point of faith. Jesus said then to him vs. 7 “You must be born again.” He was not telling him that all was well, or that he was on the right track, or just add a little more devotion, maybe little more prayer, humble yourself a trifle, or clean up your language. Jesus proclaimed a complete turn around, a complete regeneration. “that which is flesh is flesh, that which is spirit is spirit.” He raised the high jump bar so high that no one could humanly clear it. How could we completely start over, how could we enter our ” mothers womb” and be born again?
John 3.16 ” For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Nicodemus, a keeper of the Law, recognized something remarkable about Jesus, but it wasn’t enough. He too had to be completely regenerated. The scripture tells us by his actions, Nicodemus, with the Spirit of God living in Him, then went on to prove the change God had brought into his life by standing against the other Pharisees prior to Jesus trial , John 7.50, and helped prepare the body of Jesus for burial, John 19.39. Both were extremely risky positions to take in light of the politics of the time.
I believe that we are in the “last days” and that soon enough we are going to have to take a position of denial of our faith, or reliance upon it. Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, complete rebirth, will allow us to make the right choices of obedience in the days to come.
Come quickly Lord Jesus