John 3 recounts a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, a Jew, a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body of the Jews), and a highly respected teacher of the Old Testament scriptures . Jesus effectively says, “Nicodemus, you’re missing it.”
After Nicodemus approaches Jesus and gives the obligatory flattery, Jesus says:
“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:3)
Jesus uses the metaphor of childbirth to describe our entry into salvation and righteousness. There are a few essential elements to bringing a new baby into the world: conception – a seed is planted; pregnancy – growth proceeds, but we can’t clearly see the changes that are occurring; and birth – a new life emerges into the light .
I’ve witnessed childbirth up close and personal two times. My wife had our son, Jake, in 1999 and our daughter, BK, two years later. My first thought after Christine delivered Jake was “I’m never doing this to her again.” Much to my surprise, however, as soon as Jake was delivered, both the pain and its memory were gone. Completely. She was refreshed and joyful and energetic. I was a mess.
This memory caused me to pause at Jesus’ analogy. He understands our journey. First, there is a seed planted – we hear the good news. Second, that good news grows inside us and we surrender our will to God. We accept Jesus’ death and resurrection as the payment for our sin debt. Third, we are born again, spiritually.
Here’s the thought that gives me great joy. God “delivers” us. He is there when our new life begins. Just like my wife, I think God immediately forgets our sin (his pain) as soon as we take our first breath in this new creation. It’s gone; God is refreshed and joyful and energetic. Heaven celebrates!
If you are carrying condemnation for past sins around with you like a big suitcase, I encourage you to simply put that heavy baggage down. There is nothing inside that you need. As soon as you are saved, reborn, God forgets your sin. Move on. A new life awaits!