John 3:3-7, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
A human baby is born once! It is impossible for a human baby, once born, to go back into its mother's womb and be born-again. That is exactly what Jesus explained to Nicodemus in our text passage above. Jesus was making it clear to Nicodemus that a man must be born for the second time, but this time spiritually instead of physically. Just as the first fleshly birth is irreversible, so also is the second spiritual birth irreversible, irrevocable and immediate.
The first birth was by water. Every child spends about nine months encased in the safety of their mother's water bag. Jesus said that which is born of water is of water, and that which is born of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is spirit. Some errant Bible scholars (like Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible) misinterpret “water” in John chapter three to mean water baptism, but we know that is absolutely untrue! The repentant thief on the cross wasn't water baptized. Yet, Christ promised that they both would be in Paradise that very same day (Luke 23:43).
No one in the Old Testament was water baptized to be saved. Yet, we read in Acts 10:43 that everyone in the Old Testament got saved the same way we do today, which is by faith alone in Christ. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Christ died on the cross to pay for me sins, so I wouldn't have to pay for them myself in the Lake of Fire (Hell). We get saved by receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for our sins, believing that He raised up three days later from the dead for our justification (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
Dear reader, how you choose to live your life here on earth has absolutely nothing to do with your eternal destiny. And if it did, we'd all be hopelessly doomed to be punished in Hell forever. The Holy Bible teaches that Christ came to save, not to condemn. God loves you so much friend that He would rather die than live without you, so He has already made a payment on the cross. God wants to credit (impute) that payment to your account. All He requires is childlike faith in Jesus Christ. What saith the Scripture? Romans 10:3-4, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Since the day I trusted Christ as my personal Savior in 1980 at age 13, there's never been another sin that could put me back into debt. God's righteousness was put (imputed) to my account by faith. Christ paid for my sins so that I wouldn't have to. Since we are all unjust by nature and by choice, we cannot save ourselves (Isaiah 64:6). That is the best news in all the world. I am going to Heaven on God's righteousness, not mine. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”
Sometimes people want to figure out how much they can ADD to the Gospel, so that people will understand it better. And then there are others who want to trim off everything, so that there's not much left to tell. The truth is that the message on how to be saved should always be the same, because it doesn't change with every preacher. Although different preachers use different styles of delivering their message, and there is such a thing as semantics in grammar, the fact is that the Gospel message in the King James Bible never changes! Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but no one has a right to their own facts.What must I believe to be sure and secure in God's salvation? Because whatever the Gospel is, we've got to get it right because a person's eternal destiny depends on the truth of the Gospel. In Galatians chapter two it talks about the Apostle Paul not compromising, so that the truth of the Gospel might remain with you, because there's always someone who wants to change the Gospel. So if the Gospel is the grace of God for man, then grace MUST have two things in order to truly be grace:
- It must be free
- It must last forever
Galatians 1:6-8, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
(Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold)
“Most people I lead to Christ, [I] never take any more than five minutes, because I strip away all the junk and give them the truth of the Gospel. ...I've got people on the mission field. I've got preachers around this country. I have seen so much come from just keeping the Gospel clear—keeping it simple so a person can understand it.” —Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold (a beautiful quote from the sermon: "How Permanent Is Your Salvation?")