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. (John 3:3)
In this verse, Jesus tells us, without hesitation and without any doubt, one of the "musts" to enter the kingdom. But what does it mean???
Scofield writes: "The necessity of the new birth grows out of the incapacity of the natural man to "see" or "enter into" the kingdom of God. However gifted, moral, or refined, the natural man is absolutely blind to spiritual truth, and impotent to enter the kingdom; for he can neither obey, understand, nor please God". In other words - as we are, we are not worthy - Christ's death and resurrection makes it possible! The nature of our very existence (sin) prevents us from ever fully obeying God's commandments. We can try, we can keep some of them, but chances are we fail. Why? Because we are human. We carry with us the sin of Adam and Eve, who faced temptation and failed miserably. There is a price to be paid for that. It was paid - by Jesus himself when he died on the cross.
History teaches us that many generations have failed at keeping the law of God. History also teaches us (or at least tries to) that God does not bargain. He keeps his word and applies the same measure of to all. None of us is worthy. He is impartial and yet forgiving; his is rigid, yet loving; he asks nothing of us that cannot be accomplished. He asks us for honor and praise, to worship and glorify him and in return he offers us life!
Jesus tells us what it is we are to do and he tells us why. If you can't grasp even the simplest truths, how can you ever hope to understand the magnitude of his mercy? Growing up, any question that could not be answered was responded to with 3 words: "It's a mystery!" I assure you, the answers to all of those mysteries are written down - they are in the Bible - you just need to read it.
We have all tried, at one time or another, to put that six million piece entertainment center together without reading the instruction. We have the "general idea" of how it goes together, we even have a picture to refer to. We assume that there are about 5 million parts we don't really need, so we assemble the thing the way WE think it should go, only to place that $1200 television on it and watch in disbelief as the entire thing comes crashing to the floor. Then we have the audacity to blame the cheap or shoddy workmanship for our own stupidity. If only we had taken the time and had the patience to read the instructions, follow the directions and build it step by step, using all the parts supplied, we would not only have a beautiful piece of furniture, we'd still have that television to put on it.
There are no "extra" or "optional" commands in God's instructions to us. Everything we need to know, what it is we need to do are in his instruction manual. And no more than we could use the instructions from a wagon to assemble a truck, can we use "excerpts" of the Bible to show us the steps to the Kingdom. Don't take for granted that what you "know" will be good enough. Don't assume that God will "let you slide" because of what you were taught or how you were raised. If you've read this post, you have no excuse. You've been told! If you refuse to follow his instructions, continue to seek answers to questions to justify your own actions, you will stand before him and not be known. Stop looking at what others are doing and focus on what you aren't doing. Stop trying to "justify" your actions and "rectify" them. Repent, resolve and rejoice! Let go of what it is that is holding you back from realizing a life filled with the love of God! Open your eyes and see!!!
(photo by Celia Darrigo)