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SIMPLE TRUTH: It is a must!

Published 10:44am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By Charles Christmas

The title is true and goes to the very heart of this article today. I will summarize the simple third chapter of the Gospel of John and point out that which is absolutely a necessity in relating to Jesus Christ.

First is “a must” about your condition before God. Jesus said that a person—any person—must be born again (born from above) to ever see the kingdom of God. He said that a person must be born of the Spirit of God to ever enter into the kingdom of God. He finally added that even the best and most religious of people “must be born again.” (Ref. John 3:3, 5, 7) Jesus was describing the condition of every person before God as being helpless within himself or herself to ever become right with God. Something must happen to you, which only God can do for you, and if God does not do this for you, then you will not see nor enter into the kingdom of God. He calls this being born again, being born from above and being born of the Spirit. But do not despair or think such is impossible for you; there is good news next.

Second is “a must” about God’s provision for the new birth. It is the must of the cross of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. Jesus said that he must be lifted up. It was absolutely “the must” in the eternal plan of God that Jesus must be lifted up and nailed to his cross to willingly suffer for our sins until he could say, “It is finished!” And then he must be lifted up out of the grave, from death to resurrection life, to become our eternal life. (Ref. John 3:14-15) This would be and was how the eternal life, the everlasting life, the born from above life, the born again life and the born of the Spirit birth was provided for and made possible for you. But simply because God provided the possibility of the new birth for you certainly does not mean that you possess it. But it is possible that can have it and be certain you have it.

Third is “a must” about the necessity of your response. God, through his one and only Son Jesus Christ being lifted up, provided the new birth for you. But you must desire to be born again. And you must be sincerely willing in your own heart and mind to believe that Jesus died in your place and for your sins so that you can be forgiven and have the new birth, eternal life. You must decide to turn to Jesus, to believe on him and trust him for your new birth. This is a must! Four times in John chapter 3 we are told: “What if I do,” and “What if I don’t?” (Ref. John 3:15, 16, 18 and 36) If I do, then I receive eternal life, I will not perish but have eternal life, I will be saved, I will not be condemned and I will have everlasting life. You have God’s Word for it! But if you don’t respond by turning to Jesus Christ: you will perish; you are already under the condemnation of God; and the wrath of God will continue upon you. You also have God’s Word for it!

The fourth is “a must” about continuing. To become a believer is to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ—a continuing relationship. This is a must. This is underscored in John 3:30, when a believer said that in his life “Jesus must increase but I must decrease.” That means that being born again is only the beginning of a continuing and growing relationship in which Jesus increasingly becomes Lord and Master of your life. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word; then are you my disciples indeed.” Jesus also said that for a person to be his follower, he must take up his cross daily and follow him. It must be more of Jesus and less of me.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.

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