“unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Now we turn to seek the Messiah in the Latter Prophets which include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 minor prophets. These are who I always considered to be the “prophets” when we would say “The Law and The Prophets.” Not so for the Hebrews.
But first, I want to look at the really big promise God would one day deliver to his people. I didn’t realize it before, but it includes Deuteronomy, too.
Deuteronomy 30:6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Ezekiel 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
This speaks to what Jesus talked about with Nicodemus.
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 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?” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Praise God for the New Covenant! Without God’s one-sided promise, none of us would ever see the kingdom of God. None. If you think you can be good enough to make it to heaven, forget it. Rituals, sacraments, prayers, good deeds, none of these will matter unless you are born again.
Actually, we can go all the way back to Abraham to see the actual beginning of this one-sided covenant. Do you remember the strange passage in Genesis when God had Abraham bring a heifer, a goat, a ram, and some birds. God had Abraham cut the animals in two and lay each side apart from each other. This was a ritual in the ancient of days in which both parties to an agreement would pass between these cut animals. The idea was that if either breaks the agreement, may that one be cut in two as the animals had been cut. Pretty gruesome, indeed.
But God did something different with Abraham. Abraham fell into a deep sleep and God made his promise and enacted it himself.
Genesis 15:17-18 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land,…”
Folks, this is big, big stuff. Let me wrap it up by sharing one verse and then the address of others you can use for your own homework:
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
See also Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 1:12, 3:24; Romans 8:17; Hebrews 1:2, 6:12, 9:15; 1 Peter 1:4; Titus 3:7; Lamantations 3:24; Psalm 73:25; Revelation 21:3, 5:2; Matthew 25:21; John 17:22; 2 Corinthians 8:9.
I think you get the point.
Father, thank you so much for this one-sided covenant. Without you, I am dead in my sin, forever and ever. You have given me life, eternal life. Thank you, Jesus Messiah. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers