When we go to church on Sunday morning, there is that inner desire to see the kingdom of God. Whether or not we will indeed see it will depend on our personal relationship with God. Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). By this, Jesus is declaring that not all who go to church, or who claim to be a believer, will see the kingdom of God. The requirement of being born again is so important that Jesus had to re-emphasize it when he said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:5-7).
But why do we have to be born again? In his epistles, the apostle Paul clearly stated that “there is no one righteous, not even one…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:10, 23). As a result, we are dead in our sins and trespasses, “for the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). One who is dead in sin has no relationship with God for he is holy. He has to be born again into the family of God. This time, his being born is no longer the decision of his parents, as was the case with his first birth. Rather, it is his own decision. He has to make a conscious decision to repent of his sins and to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour of his life. The apostle Paul said, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Rom. 10:9-10).
Our birth established a relationship. The first time we were born, we were born into an earthly family and it established our relationship with our parents and siblings. When we are born again, we are born into the family of God and we establish a relationship with him as our Father. This new relationship gives us the right to become a child of God. The apostle John said, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13). The importance of having a relationship with the Lord was magnified by the Lord Jesus Christ himself when he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt. 7:21-23). Unless we are known by the Lord by doing the will of the Father, we cannot see the kingdom of God.
Likewise, Jesus used the Parable of the Wedding Banquet to illustrate that we cannot be presumptuous in our spiritual standing before him. In this parable, the king prepared a banquet for the wedding of his son. He sent out an invitation, but no one responded and those invited even killed those who were sent to give the invitation. The king was enraged and had them all killed. Finally, he sent his servants to gather everyone they would meet, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless” (Matt. 22:11-12). It appeared that everyone who went in was given the chance to wear wedding clothes. However, this man chose not to wear them and only wanted to enjoy the choice food. To us today, what could be this clothing that we have to wear? The apostle Paul said, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Rom. 13:14). Friend, to be clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ is to be born again. Unless we are born again, we will be speechless when he comes to check on us. We will be like those who call on him, saying “Lord, Lord,” but he will reply, “I never knew you”. The invitation is being given out now. Let’s take this opportunity to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and be born again. Glory to God!