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Made New in Christ

While serving as School Administrator of an International school in Sudan, I had opportunity to work with people of various backgrounds. One of the Arabic teachers made the decision to follow Jesus while I was there. A person who daily came dressed in black, with a countenance to match, was transformed by the power of God. She happily greeted passerby’s with a sparkle in her eyes and a smile on her face previously not seen. Her decision to follow Jesus not only made her behavior new but also came with the promise of eternal life.

John chapter 3 reveals eternal life involves being completely remade by the power of God.

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Photo credit: Crowcombe Al (cc)

John 3:1-3

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Being remade

Nicodemus came to Jesus impacted by the miracles he witnessed. Jesus, without delay, got to the very heart of the matter. In one sentence he cast aside everything Nicodemus stood for and challenged him to be remade by the Spirit of God.

John 3:4-8

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Genuine transformation

Nicodemus refers to physical birth in his response. Does he think this more probable than someone’s nature being transformed? Every time a person comes to Christ a miracle occurs. Genuine life-change begins by divine intervention.

John 3:9-15

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”

Lifted up

Jesus refers to His death as being “lifted up.” Jesus would experience the momentary humiliation of a cross that was actually the ultimate display of eternal glory. This one act would bring new life to those believing in Jesus.

Defining eternity

John’s reference to “eternal life” is about the life to come. The importance of eternity is not the quantity but the quality. When passing from this life into the next, a person moves from the earthly to the heavenly.

How is this achieved? As a gift from God, not based on human achievement. John 3:16 unpacks this idea.

The challenge

Ask Jesus to transform you completely. Be remade by the power of God and begin experiencing eternal living with Christ.

How has Jesus changed you? Share your comments below.

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