Monday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time

John 3:1-21

Ye Must Be Born Again

Here we come to probably the most well-known passage in the New Testament: John 3.  There is so much packed in these verses, and their message is the difference between life and death.

It begins with a man named Nicodemus, a ruler and teacher among the Jews.  He rightly understood that the signs Jesus performed meant that God was with him.  He comes at night, perhaps a reference that he feared others knowing that he would visit Jesus, or a reference to the darkness in his and everyone’s soul before coming into the light of Christ.  Jesus does not mince words: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  This is as authoritative a statement that Jesus ever makes.  In theology, we call it, “the doctrine of regeneration.”  It is the teaching from Scripture that salvation is not a matter of good works or even believing the right things.  These things are necessary but only in their proper place.  What must come to pass before anything else, indeed is the very basis and ground for everything else, is the saving work of the Holy Spirit upon the soul of the one who comes by faith and in repentance of sin to Jesus Christ.  There is no other way.  John writes, “These [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31).

This is the whole reason that the Father sent the Son, and that the two sent the Holy Spirit upon the Son’s ascension into heaven: That God may have a people called out of darkness and into light.  But men love darkness better that light, because the light exposes the wickedness of their hearts.  So the man of flesh (man’s sinful nature) cannot come to God on his own: He is the Spirit who gives life.  The world and all that is in it lies in darkness, and there will never be a mixture between light and darkness, between life and death.  God offers light and life through His Son’s work on the cross which is the payment for man’s sin.  The cross is the Father’s love writ large across the vault of heaven for all to see.  But man cannot and will not see.  He loves his sin too much.  Hence, a man must be reborn from above, changed from the inside-out, which is a work only the Holy Spirit can do.  And this is our great task as the Church of Jesus Christ: To pray for lost people, that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their sins, convince them of their need for Christ, and remind them of coming judgment (16:8-10).  It is our task to watch for opportunities to speak a timely word and to always walk in a godly way.  Remember, only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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