by John E. Werhan
The Kingdom was established after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter opened the doors of the Kingdom to the Jews on the day of Pentecost some 50 days after Jesus’ death (Acts 2) and to the Gentiles with the household of Cornelius (Acts 10). The Kingdom is not a physical kingdom but a spiritual kingdom with our Lord as King sitting at the right hand of God.
The Kingdom of God is not something that is in our future but is here today.
To understand what one must do to enter into the Kingdom it is imperative to consider Jesus’ teaching on this topic. In the third chapter of John’s gospel he records the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. Jesus explains to Nicodemus what he must do to enter the Kingdom, which is truly applicable to all from that point until his coming in Judgment.
Nicodemus knew that Jesus’ teaching was authoritative.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:1-2.)
Jesus authoritatively taught the necessity of an individual being born again.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Jesus made it plain that one must be “born again” if they were to enter into the “kingdom of God”. Thayer defines the word “again/anew” as, 1) from above, from a higher place 1a) of things which come from heaven or God 2) from the first, from the beginning, from the very first 3) anew, over again. In essence the individual must be born from above.
Nicodemus was somewhat confused.
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4).
He had the mindset of the physical, whereas Jesus was talking about the spiritual. Knowing that an individual cannot be literally born a second time from his mother’s womb, Nicodemus was asking for more information to the meaning of being born again. If it was a physical rebirth no person could fulfill the requirement to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Jesus explains the meaning of one being born again.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6).
Jesus makes it clear that to be born again one is to be born of water (baptism) and the Spirit (spiritual rebirth – See: Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 19:1-7; 1 Peter 3:21). In verse six of John 5 he makes it clearer that he is talking about a spiritual birth, not a physical rebirth.
Jesus then noted the essentiality of being “born again of the water and spirit”.
Do not be amazed that I said to you, “You must be born again” (John 3:7).
Jesus plainly teaches that for any individual to enter God’s Kingdom they must be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38) and be added by God Himself (Acts 2:47). Have you been born again as taught in the inspired text?