(The Simple Answer)
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, Jesus meets a man named Nicodemus.
He was a Jewish Ruler who came to Jesus at night. He acknowledged Jesus as a “teacher come from God.”
One of the interesting aspects of this exchange with Nicodemus is its economy. There was absolutely no small talk. Knowing what Nicodemus wanted, Jesus got right to the point.
Jesus explained to him that the only way He would be able to know what He wanted to know about the Kingdom of God was that he would have to be “born again.”
Interestingly, according to the record we have, this is the only time Jesus uses this “born again” language in any of His teaching. The Apostle Peter references it in 1 Peter 1: 23, and it is referenced by inference in 2 Corinthians 5:17, in Galatians 6:15, in Titus 3:5 and Ephesians 2:1,5, but that is the extent to which this idea of being “born again” or an act of ‘regeneration’ is referenced in the New Testament.
So, why must we be ‘born again’?
The simple answer is that by the time most of us make it to the foot of the Cross, we are stuffed full to overflowing with all that has accumulated in us and to us prior to that moment in time….all the mistakes, failures, poor attitudes, wrong beliefs, disappointments, prejudices, preferences, learned patterns of behavior, but most of all....sins.
And no one can enter the Kingdom of God with all that. God hates sin because of what it does to His children. He can't even be in the presence of sin. (Habakuk 1:13)
Let’s face it, we’re born and we lose our childhood before we even knew we had it, we move into adolescence and lose our innocence, we become young adults and begin trying to figure out what this life is all about and all of a sudden we wake up one morning and say to ourselves, “something’s wrong - something is missing.”
And yet, we continue to hear a little voice saying to us: “Hey there, big guy! You think you can figure out this ‘living thing’ all by yourself don't you?”
Spoiler Alert! YOU CAN’T! No one has, ever. Not...by...themselves.
Oh’, many have tried. Oh mercy Percy, how many have tried! But no one, but no one has succeeded.
Yes, there are those who THINK they can and some who believe they have. But no, they really haven’t. Sadly, millions upon millions have died trying….literally.
So, why have so many been unable to do it?
The simple answer is that by the time we are willing to acknowledge that things are just not working out quite like we thought they would, we are so screwed up, we need supernatural help to even begin being the person God created us to be and living the life God created us to live.
Oh, and by the way. When we ARE “born again” it is not one of those ‘DIY, start all over again from scratch again’ deals. It comes with some help.* God sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts and the process begins.
And, He never fails. He has a 100% success rate.
OH! REALLY? Hmm….