It has truly been a remarkable week. I got to see my new granddaughters Addy and Tori right after they were born. As I watched the nurses care for these little ones, with so many procedures and tests, I was amazed at how thorough they were. No detail is overlooked. Every newborn is like a fresh dew drop from heaven, and are always so beautiful in the eyes of the parents no matter what others may think. However, in the case of Addy and Tori they really are precious and pretty as a picture. Maybe I too have succumbed to the phenomena of thinking my granddaughters are the most beautiful newborns in the world.
I started thinking about the fact that as wonderful as this natural birth is, how much more glorious is the second birth that is available to every man, woman, boy and girl born into this world. Now, for those who may never have heard of this second birth you may be like Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, who went to Jesus secretly at night. Nicodemus was a believer, because he had seen the miracles Jesus had performed. But Jesus didn’t want to discuss the signs and wonders, he got right to the point and told Nicodemus that “except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Jesus was saying that unless one goes through this entire birth process again they cannot even see the kingdom of Heaven let alone enter in.
I can understand why Nicodemus, an intelligent man if he was a ruler, didn’t have a clue what Jesus was talking about. All he could think of was crawling back into his mother’s womb which sounds ludicrous to us. Jesus, however, did not laugh at Nicodemus, because he understood that carnal things are understood with a carnal mind, and spiritual things are understood with a spiritual mind. So Jesus explained further and said, “Except a man be born of water and Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
The natural birth process is an amazing process. First the conception. Then comes the 9 months of gestation where the tiny seed that was sown germinates and grows according to God’s timetable. The baby is nourished during this time by the mother’s body. In our case, two little babies began to grow inside the safety of Beth’s womb. (What a tragedy that the womb is an unsafe place for millions of babies worldwide whose mothers, for one reason or another, decide to terminate God’s beautiful gift, a child.) “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:5)I
There is a parallel here between the natural birth and the spiritual birth, or Jesus would not have made it so plain to Nicodemus. When someone hears the Word of God they have a choice to receive it into their heart where the seed sown has a chance to germinate and grow. From the point that someone believes the “good news” gospel, which is the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, they may have a period of time when they are still protected within the womb of God. The Book of Acts tells us of many believers who believed that Jesus was the Christ and some had even been baptized in the Jordan River by the prophet John. We can only assume they had repented of their sins because that was what John taught.
However, according to Jesus’ words to Nicodemus more is required than just believing because Nicodemus was a believer. Just as one must go through a birth process to be born, so must everyone who experiences the second birth. In the natural the baby goes through the birth canal. The birth occurs after the water has broken and the attending physician has made certain that tiny newborn infant is able to cry, for it is that cry that signals that life has begun in the new world the baby has just entered.
When Jesus gave Peter the “keys to the kingdom” those keys were released on the Day of Pentecost. After the Holy Ghost was poured out on the 120 of Jesus’ disciples who had assembled in the upper room, it was the sound of speaking in other tongues that totally amazed the onlookers in the streets of Jerusalem. Peter preached the first sermon after Jesus’ resurrection to those who asked “What must I do to be saved?” When Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”, he revealed the precise keys that would unlock the door to the entrance of the Kingdom of Heaven. Baptism in the name of Jesus is the water birth, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is the Spirit birth. Both water and Spirit become one baptism which brings salvation and transportation into not only the spiritual kingdom here on earth, but entrance into the eternal kingom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I hope someone reading this will perhaps see the second birth in a new light. You may be a believer, and there are many who would tell you that is all you need to do to be saved. However, my little grand babies needed to come out of the womb to be born and the doctor needed to hear that cry to know that the breath of life had entered their little bodies. No wonder Jesus said that unless you become like a little child you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. No matter what the age of a person, once they hear the “good news” gospel they must respond and the choices made will affect their eternal destination. Everyone must go through the birth process exactly as Jesus told Nicodemus and Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost. There are no shortcuts and there are no alternate routes. Both birth processes (natural and spiritual) are difficult.
In the case of my newborn granddaughters, Addy was the larger weighing in at almost 8 pounds. However, she just wouldn’t drop into the birth canal and so eventually the doctor had to do a caesarian. So, you see, even in the case of induced labor, this baby had a mind of her own. I see a parallel in many believers in Christ out there who just don’t want to go through the birth process of water and Spirit. They would rather stay in the comfort of the womb, and as I mentioned previously in this article, I believe there is a season when God allows this. But eventually, every soul ever born on planet earth must make the most important decision of their life – “Will I enter into the Kingdom of Heaven or not?” The Lord wishes none to perish but one day the door of salvation will be shut. “Today is the day of salvation.”
Just as we rejoiced at the birth of Addy and Tori, imagine all the angels of heaven looking down on the birth of one new soul into the Kingdom and rejoicing, with the King, that a new child has been born.