Born from Above

Read: John 3:1-8

Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (v. 3)

Nicodemus had arrived. He was highly educated, wealthy, and had social and political influence. Most importantly, he had mastered God’s law. According to his peers, his community, and himself, Nicodemus was as near perfection as a person could be (v. 1). So why was he here, in the middle of the night, looking for answers from Jesus?

Nicodemus shared a doubt that is common to many. People often use their vocations, families, romantic pursuits, and religious practices to prove they are good people deserving God’s favor. Yet at least for me, I find that no matter how good I am or how hard I try, I know it has not been enough. I wonder if I missed some final requirement.

To Nicodemus’ shock, and ours, Jesus does not assign a final step. Jesus tells us to go back to the start. Our system for self-salvation will not suffice. The only way to get right as people and get right with God—the only way into the kingdom of God—is to be “born again” (vv. 3, 7). We must become new people. How? The Greek phrase we translate “born again” can also be translated “born from above.” What we cannot do, God will do for us. Having removed the barrier of our sin at the cross, Jesus makes a way for his Holy Spirit to enter our hearts. By new birth through God’s Holy Spirit, we become worthy to enter God’s kingdom. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, invite God to make you new by his Holy Spirit.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.