Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.…
I. The clear deliverance, by implication at least, on the doctrine of THE COMPLETE DEPRAVITY OF HUMAN NATURE. It is to this man with his morality and unblemished life, a teacher of the only true religion, and not to some sin-defiled creature, that the Saviour speaks. Christ knew what was in man, and this is in man.
II. THE RADICAL CHARACTER OF THE RELIGION OF CHRIST. In order to meet this great need religion goes to the root of everything within us, transforming all and "creates us anew in Christ Jesus."
III. THE INEXORABLE CHARACTER OF THIS REQUIREMENT. It is a law of the kingdom of Christ never to be annulled.
1. One man comes strong in life's integrities.
2. Another radiant in social charities.
3. Another religious according to his own ideas.They see the gates open, but the law shines above it, "Except," etc. These virtues do not go far enough, and leave untouched life's centre and essence. At the root of all virtues is the claim which God has on the love of His creatures. A just man who "robs God"! A tender-hearted man who has no love for Jesus Christi A religious man who expects to get into the kingdom by outward ordinances! What contradictions!
IV. Although this law is radical and inexorable, THERE IS NOTHING UNIFORM AS TO TIMES AND MODES. There is endless variety. It may be by love or fear, with difficulty or ease, etc. It follows the lines of our individuality, and is suitable to our circumstances.
V. THIS GREAT CHANGE IS VERY BLESSED. Why should it be regarded as a stern necessity? It is a glorious privilege. It is described as seeing or entering a kingdom of which God is King; as being born again into the family of which God is Father. Philosophy tells me to think again and be wiser, and I think till my brain is giddy. Morality tells me I must act again and be better, and I whip my conscience, but make little way. Philanthrophy tells me to feel again with quicker sympathy. But in that I fail. Priesthood and priestcraft tell me that I must pray, etc., again. Yes! but the burden of it. Jesus tells me I must be born again. That is gospel for me.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.