Let’s Start Over

In John 3, we find the most important spiritual thought in all of literature. It’s in a conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Then Nicodemus quickly asked, “What do you mean?” 

There are mulligans in golf, but the idea that we can start over—no matter what we have done—is amazing.

No other religion or philosophy has this idea. Other religions promote enlightenment. Philosophies teach either optimism or despair (mostly despair today). But neither religion nor human wisdom offers a “do-over.”

Jesus does!

Nicodemus continued questioning Jesus, “What do you mean? How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

The New Testament teaches that we are spirit, soul, and body. The body is what we sit or walk around in; the soul contains our mind, will, and emotions. Since God is Spirit, our spirit enables us to have a relationship with Him.

In Genesis, God told Adam and Eve if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die. They did eat, and they did die—not physically or psychologically but spiritually.

With their spirit dead because of sin, they could no longer have a personal relationship with God.

Now let’s hear the good news.

Jesus told Nicodemus, “I assure you; no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’”

We are born again spiritually. What was dead because of our sin is now restored through the price of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

We have our mulligan, our do-over.

As Paul writes, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:1-2, NLT).

It doesn’t matter what we have done.

With our spirit rejoined to God’s Spirit, we can walk with Him. God talks to us, gives us a calling, and changes our lives toward His holiness. Once, our spirit was dead, and we were defenseless against our flesh, but now we can live in the power of the Spirit.

In heaven, I’m going to thank Nicodemus for having a conversation with Jesus. We now understand what it means to be born again.

Let’s start over.

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