Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
You can see by the fact that I am staying with the theme of “nice people” that I consider it to be a very important issue. That is indeed so! More people are tripped up and confused by this issue than almost any other. So many people living in the West in these days have lived such privileged lives, they feel no real need of God. Various social dynamics have conspired to make everybody nice to each other. We know that although this may be a prevailing philosophy, in our hearts we are aware of the dark underbelly of human society. But we seldom include ourselves there. We see ourselves generally as personally presentable to God and have no idea of the danger we are in.
Let C. S. Lewis speak to us again. He makes a most valuable point in the following quote:
“Niceness” – wholesome, integrated personality – is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic and political means in our power, to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up “nice”; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world – and might even be more difficult to save.”
(Mere Christianity. Book 4 Chapter 10)
Being nice is not the same as being saved. As Jesus says in the above quote we need a new birth. We need to be born of water, that is, we need to be washed, not on the outside but on the inside. We also need to be born of the Spirit. In other words the work of salvation, of seeing, understanding, being washed in our hearts is what the Holy Spirit does to us and in us.
Have you been born again? We all must be, if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Dear Lord. Grant me the new birth. I cannot give birth to it myself. Send your Spirit to work in my heart. Please wash me on the inside and make me spiritually clean.