"I tell you the truth,
unless one is born again,
he cannot be in God's kingdom."
-- John 3:3
The Second Birth: Life Eternal
Changing the clothes doesn't change the man. Outward discipline doesn't alter what is within. New habits don't make a new soul. That's not to say that outward change is not good. That is to say that outward change is not enough. If one word would see the kingdom, he must be born again.
That phrase, "born again," belongs to Jesus. He first used it when he was talking with Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a good man. A very good man. He was a Pharisee, a religious ruler, a member of the Sanhedrin, one of the decision makers in Jerusalem. No outside, you change the inside. He, like Paul, revered the law. He, like Paul, wanted to do right.
He thought the right training could make a waiter out of a cat.
But Jesus told him "I tell you the truth, unless one is born again, he cannot be in God's kingdom" (John 3:3). Nicodemus's response is sincere. He didn't ask Why? He asked How? Perhaps you are asking the same question. How is a person born again?
To get an idea, think back who gave you these parts? Who gave you eyes so you could see? Who gave you hands so that you work? Who gave you feet so that you could walk? Did you make your own eyes? Your own hand? Your own feet?
No, you made nothing; God made everything. He was the one who made everything new the first time, and he is the one who makes everything new the second. The Creator creates again! "If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Here is (dare I say it?) the greatest miracle of God. It is astounding when God heals the body. It is extraordinary when God hears the prayer. It is incredible when God provides the new job, the new car, the new child. But none of these compare to when God creates new life.
At our new birth God remakes our souls and gives us what we need, again. New eyes so we can see by faith. A new mind so we can have the mind of Christ. New strength so we won't grow tired. A new vision so we won't lose heart. A new voice for praise and new hands for service. And most of all, a new heart. A heart that has been cleansed by Christ.
And, oh, how we need it. We have soiled what he gave us the first time. We have used our eyes to see impurity, our hands to give pain, our feet to walk the wrong path, our minds to think evil thoughts. All of us need to be made new again.
The first birth was for earthly life; the second one is for eternal life. The first time we receive a physical heart; the second time we receive a spiritual heart. The first birth enable us to have life on earth. The second birth enables us to have life eternal. (From A Gentle Thunder by Max Lucado)
QUESTION: How do you knew for certain that you are born again and will have everlasting life?
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucado, General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publisher, New Century Version, Page 1281.