For November 29, 2020
Some contend the distance between Heaven and Hell is approximately twelve to eighteen inches—the distance between the head and the heart. So to clearly communicate this fundamental yet essential spiritual truth, the Lord appeals to the human heart by telling a most wonderful story about God, our loving Father; Jesus Christ, the One and only Son of God, and the world, or all humanity.
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:13-18 NIV).
The Lord insists that we must be Born Again to experience Heaven. He also uses childbirth metaphors to compare normal water birth (embryonic fluid), and the second spiritual birth that the Spirit of God performs inside of us and affirms the law of reproduction: flesh only produces flesh, while the Spirit will only produce spirit (John 3:3—6).
In other words, normal human childbirth does not produce spiritually transformed lives. It only produces more of itself—flesh. Likewise, the Holy Spirit of God does not reproduce sinful humans since it is inconsistent with His holy nature.
There must be a dynamic, spiritual transformation inside us before we can see the Kingdom of God, because we are spiritually broken due to Original Sin, the internal condition that produces outward signs of moral depravity. Our Fall occurred after our ancestors, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. As a result, we are born without a love for God or godly things, and we choose to disobey Him, just as they did (see: Genesis 2:16–17, 3, Romans 5:12).
Concerning our wretched internal condition or Natural Man, one scholar comments,
[The Natural Man] will make no effort to remove his moral corruption, for he does not desire its removal. He is satisfied with the state of his heart, and lives according to its inclinations. He is the voluntary slave to sin, and is therefore pleased with the slavery. 1
Some think that Fallen Nature, sin, and moral depravity are all outdated and no longer apply. They are convinced that we as humans do not need God’s intervention to experience His joy, peace, and fulfillment on earth and in Heaven forever.
When asked about their sin and their need for God’s great salvation, they reply: “Me, a sinner? Impossible! I have the ‘right’ name, and I have all the ‘right’ connections, and all the ‘right’ things this world can offer. I don’t need anything!”
There is a real danger when our pride and self-righteousness deceives us into a false sense of self-security. Fooled into thinking that God accepts us as we are as sinful, broken creatures, and that we will make it to Heaven because we have an exhaustive pedigree of “right” things.
But unless those “right” things are the byproducts of our spiritual change, we will continue to miss the mark even on our best day. Psalm 14:2-3 NKJV illustrates this point,
The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.
It is this nature that makes us think, speak, and act—often without provocation—in ways detrimental to others and us that we need to change. However, the good news is that God will change our governing disposition from vile and sinful to pure and holy, through the Born Again experience or regeneration as this writer observes,
Regeneration is that act of God by which the governing disposition of the soul is made holy…It is God turning the soul to Himself.2
A computer contaminated by a virus can still function, but not at its optimum level. However, once the virus is removed, the hard drive is reformatted with new software installed; the machine can function at an optimum level according to its original design. Much like this computer illustration, sin contaminated us, and we need spiritual reformatting.
First, we must acknowledge that we are contaminated by sin and confess our sin to God through repentance. (We must also show that our repentance is sincere by our willingness to resist the continual practice of sinful behavior. Here, we show we are “sick and tired” of being “sick and tired” of a life of sin, guilt, and shame.) Then, we must place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who installs His spirit-directed software—the Holy Spirit—who enables us to function according to our original design at full capacity.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that in Christ, we are God’s completely new creations, whereby loving and pleasing God is our new all-consuming, lifelong objective. No longer do we seek the things of the world. They have become dead to us, and we are no longer subject to them. Our new aim is to live lives that emulate our Lord and live for Him to the best of our ability forever.
We were once proud and selfish; now humble and selfless, once aggressive and villainous; now assertive and virtuous. In place of deceit, we now practice sincerity. Once we sought to victimize others through hypocrisy, betrayal, and lies. Now we interact with God, others, and ourselves with authenticity, faithfulness, and truth at all levels.
Our spiritual transformation is all-encompassing as the Holy Spirit, who now dwells on the inside, enables us to perform the perfect will of God on the outside. Won’t you come to know Jesus Christ and let Him transform you today?
What a Wonderful Savior!