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Devotion: you will only die once

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

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Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your spiritual word of eternal life that we may feed on and will not get hungry again, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

John 3:1-7

Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a conservative, a legalistic Jew, a rabbi, and a member of the Sanhedrin council. He was a prominent persona in the community. One night, he had a clandestine meeting with Jesus. Nicodemus acknowledged Jesus respectfully addressing him as a rabbi from God. In response, Jesus said that no one can see and enter into the kingdom of God unless he is born again. The Greek word for born again, or born anew, is “anothem” which means born from above. No one can be saved unless he is born from above by God. The prerequisite to salvation is a spiritual new birth from God. 

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to him by night, and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.” 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, “Most certainly I tell you unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’

John 3:1-7

Commentary

Jesus was speaking spiritually but Nicodemus was thinking naturally. To be born of water speaks of natural birth. To be born of the spirit speaks of spiritual birth by the Holy Spirit, John 1: 12. No one can be saved by the natural birth. Salvation requires a spiritual birth in addition to a natural birth. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and Jesus is the king of all born-again believers. 

A natural birth gives birth to natural life. The natural life is spiritually dead, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:1. Spiritual birth gives birth to spiritual life, 1 John 5:12.

When a person confessed his sin, believes in Jesus, and surrenders his/her life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit enters him/her, and he/she is born again into a new creation, 2 Cor 5: 17. Saving Nicodemus requires a spiritual heart transplant from Jesus, not his pedigree, wealth, influence, power, or knowledge of the Mosaic law. 

But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name

John 1:12

for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 3:23

You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins

Ephesians 2:1

He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn’t have God’s Son doesn’t have the life.

1 John 5:12

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.

2 Cor 5:17

Application

Everyone is born naturally (born of water) but a Christian is born naturally and spiritually, (born of water and the spirit). If you are born once, you will die twice. You will face a natural death and the second, (eternal) death because you are not saved.

If you are born twice, you will only die once. The second death has no effect on you because you are saved. You will face a natural death like everyone else, but your soul will be in heaven with Jesus forever. 

Salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone through o spiritual birth. You can be saved today if you confess to Jesus that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died for your sin to pay the penalty of sin for you, and surrender your life to Him. You can do this by saying this prayer sincerely from your heart:

“Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me for my sin. I believe that You died on the cross to pay the punishment for my sin for me. I surrender my life to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen”

Congratulation if you said this prayer. This is the first but the most important step. Find a local bible believing church and tell your decision to the local pastor. Join, serve and grow in the local church. 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that it is by grace that we have been saved, through faith and not by works, so that we cannot boast about it. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins. I pray for anyone who is not born again to receive the gift of salvation today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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