Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Christ isn’t talking about physical birth in this passage; rather he is talking about spiritual birth, which is accomplished through water and the Spirit. If Nicodemus didn’t understand what Christ was saying up to this point, how much less would he understand this spiritual rebirth? Our opponents think it’s ridiculous to teach that a person must be born anew by water and the Spirit—nothing else. They don’t understand or believe this teaching. This is why they shout, “You must do good works!” In this way, they discredit what’s most important: If a person isn’t reborn by water and the Spirit then all is lost. Don’t think that anyone will enter the kingdom of God unless they first are born anew by water and the Spirit. These are plain but powerful words: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). We have to pass from the birth of sin to the birth of righteousness. Otherwise, we will never go to heaven. After this new birth, good works will naturally follow.
Christ tells Nicodemus much about this new birth. But Nicodemus can’t understand it. You won’t be able to understand it either, unless you have been born anew and have experienced spiritual rebirth. Let these words stay as they are. Don’t try to reinterpret them, even though they might seem foolish and strange to human reason. Understand the simple meaning of these words, the way they are usually read.
You shouldn’t dare to reinterpret the Word of God your own way. It’s better to think, “I don’t understand these words. But before I change them, take something away from them, or add to them, I would rather leave them alone. I’ll give them to God.” The Scriptures should always be handled with reverence and respect.
A 2005 Gold Medallion finalist!
Martin Luther served as a catalyst of the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe. This book teaches children about his fascinating life, influence, and teaching while encouraging them to see how God uses them in His kingdom today.
Children learn the historic background to a significant time in the church. They discover that, like Martin Luther, they can learn about the reality of Christ’s life and death on their behalf, His grace and mercy, and His desire for them as baptized, redeemed children of God.