“Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above.”
Jesus always chose the words he used very carefully.
So, when He wanted to explain to Nicodemus about how people would have to change in order to see the Kingdom of God, he didn’t say, people will have to be a bit different, or even, people will have to change a lot. Instead He said, “no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above.” As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, this birth from above is not, of course a physical rebirth, but a rebirth of “water and spirit.”
What does this rebirth imply? When a child is born she or he has to leave the warmth, comfort and security of the womb and be thrust out into a world which is noisy, confusing and uncertain. Some psychologists maintain that we carry the trauma of this experience throughout our lives even though we don’t remember it. I don’t know if this is true, but certainly some babies protest loudly at the proceedings!
So being born again might imply leaving the security of one known existence for another unknown one. That can be a frightening prospect. Perhaps most of us fear change. We have a tendency to think that any changes will be for the worse, and often we have to make a point of reminding ourselves that change can indeed be for the better.
A baby for example, may not initially like the change from the womb to the world, but without that change she or he would be limited to an existence in the dark, where experiences were limited and where the environment changed very little. But, perhaps the most significant feature of the environment of the womb is that room for growth is severely limited. So while existence in the womb may be warm, comfortable and secure, it offers no chance for physical growth beyond a certain point and it offers only limited experiences with which to develop the intellect and personality. If we never left our mother’s womb we could never become the mature human beings that is our genetic inheritance.
If we do not trust God enough to leave the confines of ordinary existence and be born again of the Spirit, then we will not grow or develop spiritually and will never be the whole complete person that God intends us to be.
When a baby is born, it might be born to great wealth or great poverty. It might be born with a “silver spoon in its mouth, a wooden spoon, a plastic spoon or no spoon at all. It’s all very chancy and unfair.
When our “Spirit” is reborn, there are no rich or poor. No one has an advantage or disadvantage.
Birth is a beginning. To be born again is a new beginning. A baby has to trust and rely on its parents. We have to trust and rely on God. A baby needs love in order to grow and thrive. We are guaranteed God’s unfailing love overseeing our spiritual growth. A baby has a lot to learn if it is to become a mature adult. We have a lot to learn if we are to become mature spiritually. In order to learn a child has to listen to and obey its parents. If we are to learn we must listen to and obey our Heavenly Father.
When we are born again, we are born to a new life freed from the slavery of sin, we are born to everlasting life, we become God’s children and as his children we are inheritors of His Kingdom and His Spiritual gifts.