Total Spiritual Renewal
In John 3:1-6, Jesus meets a man named Nicodemus. The encounter is brief, but powerful. “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by 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.’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” This statement obviously stands out to Nicodemus. But consider the explanation offered by the Christ, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…’”
The idea that our Lord is conveying is that total spiritual renewal is required of us to be truly converted. We must completely start over again if we want to make ourselves right with God. Many people, whether consciously or not, have no desire to make a full change when it comes to their lives. They want to change only as much as they need to skirt by. Even worse, the religious world in general is allowing this and even facilitating the poor attitude by allowing churchgoers to “come as you are” without making any real moral changes. Those who are addicted to worldly vices are given a pass instead of convicted. Church members who are blatantly sinning are not disciplined properly. Some churches seem to practice more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy than anything else. This is not change, though. This is not rebirth or renewal.
In order for real, meaningful change to occur in our lives, we need to allow ourselves to be totally reborn. There is no desire for half-hearted change in God’s eyes, so how willing are you to let go of your old life completely and turn yourself over to God:
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self” (Colossians 3:8-10).
“How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2).