The New Birth
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2this man came to Jesus at night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus responded and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a person be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”
1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus 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? 5Jesus 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. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
What is so dangerous about the religious life? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes up this question in this sermon titled “You Must Be Born Again” from John 3:1-8. He says that often times people who claim to be religious are trying to live as Christians without actually being saved. They try to be sanctified without being justified. This is a hopeless way to live because it treats Christianity as a graceless religion that is attained by works alone. This is similar to the error of intellectualism, which says that Christianity is about simply knowing and assenting to certain truths. Both of those views lose sight of what it means to be justified freely in the grace of God as the foundation of the Christian life. Both views replace the grace of God with works of humanity. Instead, you must be born again. The Christian must ask themselves if they believe the Christian life is merely intellectual and works based or if they trust the justifying grace of God that alone has the power to save and make fallen sinners new. This message of justification is the only hope that this world has and is central to the gospel of Jesus Christ for all who believe.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.