3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” – John 3:3 NLT
Nicodemus was a leader and a Pharisee. He came to Jesus at night because he probably did not want the other Jewish leaders to know about the visit. Nicodemus readily admits that he believes that Jesus has been sent from God. He wants to know more about this man that is proclaiming that the kingdom of God is near. Jesus immediately tells Nicodemus that unless you are born again, you will never see the kingdom of God. What an amazing concept! How can a human be born again? Jesus explains that He is not talking about physical rebirth, but spiritual. It is not a physical change, but a change of the desires of the heart. How does this happen? From a human standpoint, we are unable to explain what happens inside. But just as the wind comes and goes without our understanding, so the Holy Spirit works inside us to renew us and rebirth us as children of God. We may not know how, but the work that He does in our hearts leaves no doubt in our minds that we are being made into new creatures. At the very moment that we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, the new creation is born with all the rights that come with being a citizen of heaven. God will spend a lifetime completing the work that He has started in us, but finish it, He will.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,—Hebrews 12:1-2a (NKJV)
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” — Revelation 21:5 NIV
In the beginning, God created everything exactly as it should be.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. — Genesis 1:31 NIV
Then sin came into the world and the pefect creation and creatures begin to grow old and decay. It wasn’t what God wanted, but there is a price to be paid when we sin. Since then, humans have been born in sin into a sinful world . The evil and the decay continue and get worse every day. God had a plan in place to redeem the world, so He sent His son to die on a cross. But, sin was and still is, in the world. So things continue to grow old and will continue to do so until Jesus comes back again. Even nature groans to be renewed while we wait for His return. One day that will happen and we will see a new heaven and a new earth. Our salvation will be complete and we will have new, glorified bodies that will last forever. No matter what the day or the date is, one day, it will happen and we will have had our last Happy New Year. That day when everything is made new could be called “Glorious, Joyful Eternity” and that is my hope and my prayer. My new year’s resolution is to practice spending more time with Jesus now because I believe it is possible to have a little bit of heaven here on earth.
I believe that is what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Happy New You! Happy New Year!
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry– Colossians 3:1-5 NIV
When we accept Christ as our Savior it should change the way we assess the things we see and hear. There should be external evidence of what has taken place inside of us. Our thoughts and our hearts’ desires should be focused on things above and not on earthly things. If we find that we are still worried about the things happening around us, particularly those that we can’t control, we need to get into the Scriptures and allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to assure us of God’s omnipotence and omnipresence. If we find that most of our thoughts are still on the same things that we thought about before, we need to be sure that we have repented. True repentance will cause a change of some of our habits and our thought patterns. It will cause us to reprioritize the things in our lives. Before, we evaluated things according to worldly standards, now we should be evaluating them according to God’s standards. We have died and are now hidden in Christ. The flesh does not like this new us. It is a constant battle to put to death all those fleshly desires and satan will surely be coming around to remind you of how much “fun” you were having when you were serving Him. We have to put these fleshly things to death in our minds, while they are still in the idea or thought stage. If we allow them to take root in our mind, we have lost the battle. We cannot do this alone, we have to allow God to accomplish it through and for us.
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
— 2 Cor. 10:3-5