INTRODUCTION: Everybody, without exception, has hope of attaining Heaven after they die. The problem is, there are so many conflicting theories on how to get there that many people just try to live a good life (by their standards) and hope for the best. Now we have the answer!
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: John 14:6.
We have already discussed the fact that Jesus is God; that the Bible is God's handbook for earth's population; that Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised in the Bible. Now we have the words of Christ where he tells his disciples, "I am the way...." Do you remember that old joke about when a person is looking for something, he finds it in the last place he looked? It has a double meaning. The person had been looking long and hard for the item and finally found it. Also, once the person found it there was no need to look any further. We are in exactly that position. We have found the way to the Father. There is no need to continue searching.
The next step then, is to discover how one travels this "way". Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews had an interview with Jesus hoping to find some answers. Jesus told him:
"Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Be born again? The birth of which Christ is speaking comes from above - by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Every man must have two births, one from earth, the other from heaven - one of his body, the other of his soul; without the first he cannot see nor enjoy this world, without the second he cannot see nor enjoy the kingdom of God.
The new birth which is here spoken of includes, not only what is termed justification or pardon, but also sanctification or holiness. Sin must be pardoned, and the impurity of the heart washed away, before any soul can possibly enter into the kingdom of God. As this new birth implies the renewing of the whole soul in righteousness and true holiness, it is not a matter which may be considered optional; heaven is a place of holiness, and nothing but what is like itself can ever enter into it.
" Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
Nicodemus is struggling to assimilate this new idea of a second birth into his observations of life.
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
The answer to Nicodemus' question. Even if it were possible to repeat physical birth the result would be the same. The plant will be of the nature of the seed which begets it - like will beget like. The kingdom of God is spiritual and holy; that which is born of the Spirit resembles the Spirit; for as he is who begat, so is he who is begotten of him. Therefore spiritual regeneration is a necessity to prepare the soul for a holy and spiritual kingdom.
Well then, how does one go about being born again?
1. Believe. Do you believe what we have been reading about Jesus Christ? Jesus later told Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
True belief results in action.
2. Invite. The Holy Spirit of God stands eagerly awaiting the opportunity to renew your heart and soul should he receive the invitation. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus has been sending messages to a number of churches and closes with the statement, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
If you have not already done so, we urge you to choose to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and commit yourself to him. Remember, God knows your thoughts so you can communicate with him as if face to face. Admit your sinfulness and ask forgiveness. He will do so! Ask the Holy Spirit to cause you to be born again. He will do so and record your name in the Lamb's book of life, your spiritual birth certificate. Ask for strength as you take the step of yielding your life and future to his direction. He will guide and empower you.
3. Tell. Begin with your pastor. He will be a great help as you start your new life. Soon you will not be able to resist telling everyone you know of the wonderful event in your life.
1 John 4:13-15
We would like to hear from you as well.
Congratulations to you if you have made that wise choice. If for some reason you have rejected or chosen to defer responding to Jesus Christ, I would be neglegent if I did not call your attention to the remainder of his statement.
An astounding statement. NO MAN cometh unto the Father, BUT BY ME. Of the four billion people currently on earth, of all geographical locations, races, religious persuasions, Jesus flatly states that NONE will see Heaven except those who have been born again -- become followers of Jesus -- Christians!
Ok. Catch your breath. Let's try to think of this in a rational way.
I must share with you a personal illustration at this point. About ten years ago I was diagnosed with colon cancer. My wife and I met with the physician at his office to discuss it and his statement to me was very plain. "Mr. Denig, you have cancer. If left untreated it will kill you. I can perform a procedure which will cure you. The decision, of course, is up to you." Wow! Strong words! Difficult to hear! However, these were not hateful words. In fact, under the circumstances, they were kind words. He warned me of a serious situation and at the same time offered the solution. An interesting sidelight -- later, as people who knew me and cared about me heard of my problem they began suggesting alternate treatments, certain breakfast cereals and other foods which they had heard could work wonders. They were sincere and I thank them for their concern, but if I had decided to forego the physician's recommendation and instead drink a gallon of pomegranate juice every day, I would not be here to write this page to you. Fortunately, I accepted my physician's advice.
At this point you have had an opportunity to consider Christ's statement and make up your own mind. Here are a few additional points to ponder.
Recently I viewed a symposium on comparative religions. Ten or twelve different religions were represented. The moderator took a poll and found that, without exception, every one of those religious leaders had adopted the religious belief of his/her parents. The conclusion that impressed me was that parents have an enormous responsibility toward their children. Make sure your religious beliefs are correct. Not only is your own eternal salvation dependent upon your accuracy, but your children will probably follow your lead.