5: The Indispensable Workings Of The Holy Spirit In Salvation.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of 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....The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.(vs 4-8).In this interaction, it is clear a "second birth" was the main theme of the discourse but with two different mindsets: Natural and Spiritual. The natural mind, Paul says cannot receive (understand, accept, agree, live by) the things of God.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14).Nicodemus just couldn't comprehend it because his spirit and mind was dead to the Spirit of God and needed a quickening of his spirit to understand and accept spiritual truth. "...the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:5). Clearly, there is a distinction between the natural birth and the spiritual birth(born again):
That which is born of the flesh is flesh(natural); and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit(born again, spiritual, spiritually alive).As members of the human race, we are sinful by birth and depraved because we inherited a sinful nature from our first parents-- original sin the theologians call it: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"(Romans 5:12). This state renders us spiritually dead and separated from God until we come to faith in Christ Jesus.
There is a good analogy for the spiritually dead-unregenerate person we must consider. We go way back to the beginning when it all started; the very first state of man after he has been created. He was lying there, sand and mud, "dust to dust", lifeless and helpless; incapable of living until "...the LORD God...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."(Genesis 2:7). Great Analogy: a dead lifeless corpse cannot come to life. In the same way, a spiritually dead person cannot partake in the divine nature until given life by the Spirit of God.
As we have no control over our birth in the natural realm, we have no control over our spiritual birth in the spiritual realm: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing..." (John 6:63). The Spirit of God will have to convict us of our sins. The Spirit of God will have to quicken. The Spirit of God will have to enlighten. This goes beyond human effort. This is one of the major reasons we have to take every opportunity to share the gospel of Christ because we cannot tell when someone's heart has been prepared to receive the gospel. It is the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the "drawing" of the Father. "... Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6:65). In all our efforts at reaching the lost, we must pray that the Spirit of God will convict the hearts we minister to.
Now, you who have no relationship with God through Christ, Would you come to the saviour of your soul to be cleansed and washed of your sins? Or you would stand aloof and spurn this great gift of salvation? "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29).
To be continued....