“You should not be surprised at my saying “you must be born again.”
The man to whom Jesus spoke these words was not an ignorant man. He had a wealth of biblical knowledge. Nor was he a bad man. He was a member of the Jewish ruling council. As such he would have been a most respected person. In fact he was a “nice” guy. Later on in John’s gospel we discover him with Joseph of Arimathea taking Jesus’ body from the Cross. (John 19:39). It seems our Lord’s words did not fall on deaf ears and at some point Nicodemus moved from being merely a nice guy to a true believer in Christ.
The new birth is what we will need. Only God himself can grant this. Here is the way CS Lewis puts it, in my last quote from him on this subject.
“For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature.
(Mere Christianity. Book IV Chapter 10)
Can you see this, dear reader? God became man not merely to make us nice people. Our upbringing can do that. No, He became man to turn us into sons and daughters. Not simply to improve us, says Lewis, but to make us NEW. And how many people who know what they are really like behind the “nice” facade, long for a newness, a spiritual reality, a power to turn from “horses” into “winged creatures”. In other words from guilty failures into new people with real hope.
May God do that for you.
Prayer It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayers of others, and your Grace for my soul. Please help me. Amen