As I was in study and looking at this passage several other verses came immediately to mind. The first of these is Jesus teaching the Pharisee Nicodemus back in John chapter 3:
The man Nicodemus was not just a ruler of the Jews, but also a religious leader. Jesus knew right off what this man’s deepest question would be and went right to it. How can a man know that he will see The Kingdom of God, or how does a man know that he will not end up in hell? Jesus answer to that most important question was that men need to be “born again.”
The need for the new birth goes back to the time of Adam when he sinned in the receiving of the fruit from his wife that God had told them not to eat. Adam was the head of the race (not yet born) and Eve was his help mate, (sorry ladies, I can’t change scripture). Until he ate the fruit Eve was the only one who would die. The scriptures also tell us that Adam was not fooled by the serpent's guile. (Note I Tim. 2:14)
Adam knew that the eating of the forbidden was death. Why then did he do it? Maybe he did not want to live alone again, or he loved his wife so much he was willing to join her in death, or both. Which ever, I do not believe that he knew that the death would be first spiritual and then after many years physical. I also do not believe that he knew that before physical death came to him he would father a race of beings just like him, SINNERS.
Adam at the moment that he ate that forbidden fruit became a sinner by nature and dead spiritually. All of the race fathered by him are sinners by nature and dead spiritually. Therefore we all need to be born again!
Now just in case someone thinks that he or she is the exception to the rule and has overcome his or her nature I want to point our some other passages of scripture.
There is a point where we as children (physically) grow up and become men and women. We cannot say for sure just when that happens, but it would be when we know right from wrong. This should be at about age 12 or so. God knowing the mind and heart of every person will judge when that was for each of us.
There is also the Law of God, as was outline for us by Moses. That Law is strong. Peter speaking of the Law said this, “a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. (Note Acts chapter 15) The Law is so strong and burdensome because it demands the perfection of heaven and it is against our nature to keep it. Therefore at some time after we reach our age of accountability we all chose to sin in one way or another. We are then sinners by choice and birth. We are dead in sin. We need a way to be made alive!
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians said that they had been dead, but now were quickened. That means “made alive.” These Ephesians had been made alive by God. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) When Paul came to their city to preach, they believed and were made alive because of God’s grace and that faith. Note Ephesians 2:8-9:
At the moment we chose to believe in Jesus, God credits to us the payment that Jesus made on the cross. Because He having no earthly father did not inherit a sin nature and lived His whole life without sinning. He had no Lawful need to die. He died to pay for our sins. That strong Law of God demanded blood as payment for sin, and Jesus shed His blood for us. Also, at the moment that God credits us with that payment He also sends His Holy Ghost to live in our hearts and give us a new nature. That is the “New Birth.”
Dr. Warren Wiersbe said that the quick and the dead are the pedestrians in Chicago, but in the Bible the quick believe in Jesus Christ, and the dead are all others.
Now, we have three pictures of this in the New Testament. Three times Jesus raised people from the dead and we are thereby given pictures of the person who is born again.
The first is a girl the daughter of Jairus who was a ruler in the synagogue. (Note that the preacher's kids and kids of good Christian parents need regeneration too. Jairus represents preachers) She was 12 years old and when Jesus was called sick and dying. By the time Jesus reached her bedside she was dead. (This story can be found in Luke 8:41-56.)
The second person is a young man who was the only son of his mother and had died and was being carried out to be buried. That means he was only about one day dead, or somewhat less. This story is found in Luke 7:11-17.
The third person is Lazarus of Bethany who was brother to Mary and Martha. This man was dead four days before Jesus arrived and he was buried and stinking. This story is found in John 11:38-44.
Now folks, here is the question: Who was out of these three, the most dead? Sounds like a dumb question right? The girl dead only moments before Jesus walked into the room was just as dead as Lazarus who was in the grave and stinking! And so is the young person who has not yet been on earth long just as dead as the 50 year old drunk in the city gutter. The man and woman sitting in church and hearing the sermon but not yet having received the payment for their sin by faith, is just as dead as the drug addict who has never entered the church doors. The preacher in the pulpit preaching for the money or any other earthly reason and has not yet received Christ as Lord of his life is just as dead as the man standing in the city park saying, “There is no God.”
These persons that we are looking at did meet Christ and each of them has a message for us that tells us something about the new born Christian.
First, the young girl was in need of food, and the newborn Christian will want to feed in the Word of God to fulfill his or her spiritual hunger for the things of God.
Second, the young man talked, and the newborn Christian will want to talk about his or her new found faith.
Third, when Lazarus came out of his grave Jesus told the folks around to loose him, or get him out of the grave clothes. The newborn Christian saved out of a life of much sin will need to change out of the grave clothes of the old life style and put on the new clothing of a life in Christ. The other folks around may have to help this person out of the grave clothes and into the new. This tells me that the churches should be supporting the work of good Bible teaching rescue missions, and drug, alcohol, and homosexual rehabilitation programs.
Now, it is time for you to examine yourself. Are the marks of a true born-again believer on you? Can you remember the time when you turned your life over to the Lordship of Christ and by faith alone accepted His payment for your sins?
After that day did you then hunger for food from the Word of God, and did you have a desire to talk about your new faith? Did you put off the old grave clothes of a past life, and put on the new clothing of a person walking with Christ?
You could be a person who goes to church regularly and is embalmed, and made to smell better with the spices of this world’s ethics and manners and still be dead. Check your heart and make sure.
I do have one more example from outside the Bible. I know a man who was dead in a life of drugs and alcohol, and other sin. That man one day came to Jesus by faith, on the steps of a church with locked doors. He after that did have a hunger for God’s Word and did want to talk about what God had done for him and did put off the old grave clothes with the help of others. Now twenty two years later he still wants to tell you that Jesus is the way to life and that you can inherit the Kingdom with Christ. That is why he is writing this to you now, hoping that he has made the deference between the quick and the dead now plain to you.
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