Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
To “see the kingdom of God” is to live under the blessing of God’s reign. The reign of God begins now, but it doesn’t reach its fullness until his kingdom comes in the new heaven and the new earth.
“Unless you are born again,” Jesus says, “you will not see it!” You won’t enjoy the blessing of living in God’s kingdom. If all you have is Jesus as your teacher, and a sustained attempt to follow his way, you will not see the kingdom of God. The new birth is really important!
Jesus speaks about the new birth three times here: “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God… Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God… You must be born again” (3:2, 5, 7). What does it mean to be born again?
To be born again is an infusion of life that comes from God himself that, in its very nature, brings cleansing and renewal. When an infusion of the Holy Spirit comes, you are renewed as new convictions are rooted in your mind and new desires are planted in your heart.
Do you see how far this is beyond what Nicodemus had grasped? Jesus does not say, “I have come to tell you how to do life!” He says, “I came that [you] may have life and have it abundantly” (10:10). Christ did not come to tell you how to be a better person; he came to make you a new person. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
Do you think it really matters whether Jesus came to “tell” us how to do life or he came to “give” us life?