"The 'Must Be' of Salvation"

John 3:1 - 21
Theme: In order for someone to enter heaven, something "must be" true of them: they must be born again.

(First delivered Sunday, May 28, 2000 at Bethany Bible Church.  All scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version.)  


     There are certain things in life that you cannot "be" unless you "are" something else first. In other words, you "must be" certain things before you can "be" certain other things.

      You must first "be married" to someone, for example, before you can be their husband or wife. You must first "be a student" or "a graduate" of a college or university before you can be a member of its alumni. You must first "be a citizen" of our nation before you can vote in its elections. You must first "be elected" before you can be President.

      You can't just simply 'decide' that you are now President of the United States, or the citizen of a particular nation, or that you now have a degree from a major university, or that you are now married to the famous movie star of your choice. There's nothing unfair about any of this. It's just the nature of things. Certain things "must be" true of you before certain other things can be true of you.

      And just as there are certain "must be's" that are true of the everyday concerns of life, there is also a "must be" in the most important concern of all - our salvation. To be saved means that you are a citizen of heaven - both in current status and in future prospect. And the Bible teaches us that you and I "must be" something before we can be a citizen of heaven.

      Many people don't realize this. A lot of folks believe that they will become a citizen heaven for no other reason than because they want to be a citizen of heave, and because they have resolved that they will be. Many, in fact, are offended at the suggestion that there's something they, first, "must be" before they can have the right to expect heaven. And, as awful as it may seem, the truth is that there are many people who will live their their whole lives long expecting to be citizens of heaven, but who will cross from life into death to make the terrible discovery that they are, in fact, eternally lost to heaven - all because there was something that they needed to be first, but were not.

      There's nothing more important to each man, woman and child here this morning than to be sure that this essential "must be" is true in their own case. The eternal destiny of each of us depends on it. And there's a story in the Bible that teaches us about this great "must be" of salvation. It's a story with a lot of authority; because in it, Jesus Himself teaches what you and I "must be" before we can have eternal life in His heavenly kingdom.

      That story is found in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

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      If you've never read the Gospel of John, I hope you will. The writer, John, was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. John wrote his gospel under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and he himself said that he wrote this gospel in order that people would be saved from their sins and would live eternally with Jesus in His kingdom as citizens of heaven. Near the end of this gospel, John wrote that there were many things that Jesus said and did that he could have written down for us; "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31).

      In other words, Jesus taught about the essential "must be" of salvation; and John recorded the story of it for us, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so that we could become citizens of Jesus' heavenly kingdom forever.

      It was in John's gospel that we're told the story of what we need to "be" before we can have the right to be citizens of heaven. This story is of an event that occurred early in Jesus' earthly ministry - at a time when the news about Jesus was beginning to spread. John the Baptist had been sent by God and had already begun his ministry of preparing the way for Jesus. He had been baptizing people who were turning from their sins in anticipation of the coming of the kingdom of God. John had been pointing people to Jesus, declaring that He is the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). And Jesus had begun to perform miracles and signs to reveal that He was, indeed, the Son of God come into the world to establish His kingdom (2:11).

      Jesus was becoming very popular. He was becoming the talk of the town; and many people were making an outward show of believing in Him. But there was something very seriously wrong with their professed faith in His miracles. Jesus knew that the faith they professed in Him was only an external display, and not a real, genuine faith of the heart. It says, in 2:23-25;

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

      Apparently, their outward, external display of faith wasn't enough. We can take it from the fact that Jesus didn't "commit Himself to them" that their faith wasn't a faith that resulted in salvation. There was something missing.

      It was at this point of the story that a man came to Jesus to talk to Him. He felt that something was missing in His faith too. And it was during His conversation with this man that Jesus declared what the all-important "must be" of salvation is.

      It's here that we find ...

1. WHAT THIS "MUST BE" IS (vv. 1-3).

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus 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" (vv. 1-2).

      Nicodemus was a very important man. He was, first of all, a Pharisee. That means that he was a member of the religious fraternity in Judaism that stood firm in the Jewish faith, and faithfully adhered to the teaching of the Jewish Scriptures. He was also a "ruler of the Jews". Later on in John's gospel (7:50), we find out that Nicodemus was an acting member of the Sanhedrin - the highest ruling council over the Jewish people in Jesus' day. And what's more, as we read on, we find that he was a professional scholar with respect to the Scriptures, and had earned a reputation as a very prominent teacher among his people. He apparently had a nickname - "Nicodemus: The Teacher of Israel".

      And yet, as important and as learned as he was, he had some questions for Jesus. He might have come to Jesus under the pretense of interviewing Him about His teachings, or to question Him about His ministry. My belief is, though, that he was mainly motivated by a deep sense of need in his own heart, and by the conviction that this Man, Jesus, held the answer to what was missing in his life.

      It says that he came to Jesus at night. It may have been that it was the only time that they could meet, undisturbed and undistracted, and have a long, serious conversation. It may also have been true that Nicodemus was concerned about his reputation, and was afraid of what someone might think if they saw Him talking to Jesus about matters that concerned his soul.

      Look at how Nicodemus begins his conversation with Jesus. He calls Jesus "Rabbi" - which was a term of respect that meant "my master" or "my teacher." Nicodemus was, no doubt, very used to having people address him this way; but he knows that, this time, he's in the position of being a student, and is in the presence of Someone who could serve as his teacher.

      Then, notice that he says that "we" - that is, he and many of the other scribes, Pharisees, and leaders of his people - "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." Nicodemus wasn't simply being polite. He was saying, "Look; we can tell that You aren't just another teacher. There's something special about You. We can tell that the hand of God is on You in a unique way; because no one can do the things You do unless God is with him. We know that You are a teacher that has been sent to us by God."

      If Jesus hadn't spoken first, what do you suppose Nicodemus would have asked? How would he have started the conversation? Would he have asked Jesus some pressing question about the Scriptures? Would he have asked Him for His opinions on the political future of the Jewish nation? Would he have 'beaten around the bush' for a while with small talk?

      Nicodemus never got the chance. Jesus already knew what was really in Nicodemus' heart - just as He knows the heart of every man and woman here today. He was able to look past all the niceties, gaze into Nicodemus' soul, and cut right to the question that really brought him there that night.

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

      Jesus said that the great "must be" of salvation is that a man or woman "must be born again". Unless one is born again - (or "born from above" as it may appear in the footnote of your Bible), he cannot see the kingdom of God. He didn't simply say that it would be hard for a man or woman to see the kingdom of God if he wasn't born again. He literally says that they are "not able" to see the kingdom of God. It's one of those things that "must be" true before the other thing can be true. One "must be" born again before he or she can become a citizen of heaven.

      And to prove that He isn't simply speaking a religious platitude, Jesus begins this affirmation by asserting the truth of it in the strongest way possible: "Verily, verily, I say unto you", as it is in the King James Version; or "I tell you the truth", as it is in the New International Version; or "Truly, truly, I say to you", as it is in the New American Standard Bible. Jesus uses this phrase three times in His conversation with Nicodemus about being 'born again.'

      Jesus always speaks the truth; but when He makes a special point of telling us that He's speaking the truth, He does so to drive the seriousness of what He's saying into our hearts and minds. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

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      You may be here for a number of reasons this morning. Perhaps you've come because you have some terrible hurts in your life, and you hoped that, if you came to the house of God today, you'd find comfort. Or perhaps you are longing for answers to the meaning of life, and hoped that coming to church might provide some of those answers. Or perhaps you're here today because you hope to please God by living a good life; and you believe that coming to church regularly is one of the things you should do to live such a life. Or perhaps you're not exactly sure just why you're here today.

      I'm very glad that you did come today. I believe you're here for a reason. Whatever it is that may have brought you here this morning, I believe Jesus knows what's really in your heart. And to each one here today who feels a distance from God, and who knows that there's something deep down inside that's not right with their soul, I believe that there's one thing -above all else - that Jesus would say to you: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

      That's the one thing that must happen before anything else can begin to get right in our lives. That's the one thing that we need more than anything else. That's the great "must be" of salvation; you must be "born again."

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      This leads us to a very important matter, though; ...

2. WHAT THIS "MUST BE" MEANS (vv. 4-8).

      I suppose that many who hear the affirmation "you must be born again" would find it confusing. It's pretty apparent that Nicodemus was confused by it. What does it mean to be "born again"?

      Whenever I use that phrase "born again" to people, I can't help thinking of how it has been abused by so many in our day. It's been used as a way to identify certain political movements. It's a phrase that's been embraced by certain political candidates. It's often been used as a way to characterize a negative kind of religious fundamentalism. It's been given a lot of negative connotations in our culture; and that's a shame that it has, because, in reality, it's a good phrase. It's a phrase that's loaded with profound, theological significance. It's a phrase that Jesus used; and given the importance of what Jesus said in reference to it, it's very important that we understand what He meant by it.

      Look how Nicodemus misunderstood that phrase. Many people might misunderstand it in the way he did.

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?" (v. 4).

      Nicodemus wasn't trying to be sarcastic in the way he responded to Jesus. He wasn't trying to put up an argument. He knew that Jesus had put His finger right on the real problem. Nicodemus knew the truth of what King David had said in Psalm 51:5; "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." He knew that the distance he felt from God stemmed from something that was a part of him - something that was wrong in him from birth. He knew that he was born in sin; and that he couldn't make things right by simply pulling himself up by his own moral bootstraps.

      It was as if Jesus had said, "Nicodemus, I know your heart; and what's troubling you is how you can get into the kingdom of God. I'm here to tell you now; the solution wont be found in simply doing this religious practice differently or performing that religious deed more zealously. Your problem wont be solved by simply reforming what you do. Your problem stems, not from what you do, but from what you are. You were born wrong, Nicodemus; and the only solution is that you must be 'born again.'"

      Nothing in Nicodemus' response suggested that he disagreed with Jesus' diagnosis of his problem. But it seemed to him that the solution that Jesus proposed was something impossible to do! Be 'born again'? Could a full-grown man re-enter the womb of his mother and start all over again? I wonder if you've ever longed for something like that. Have you ever felt that there was something wrong with the way you were born? And have you ever wished with all your heart that you could just wipe your life clean and start all over again? Nicodemus certainly felt that way. But how could such a thing be done?

      Nicodemus' was confused because he thought that the rebirth Jesus talked about was a physical one. But what Jesus meant was a spiritual rebirth. Jesus said,

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'" (vv. 5-7).

      Jesus was correcting Nicodemus' confusion by explaining to him that a physical solution wouldn't solve a spiritual problem. Being physically "born again" was not only impossible, but it wouldn't solve the problem. Only a spiritual solution would solve a spiritual problem. Nicodemus needed a spiritual rebirth.

      What did Jesus mean by this spiritual rebirth? Notice the details of what Jesus says. First, He says that this "rebirth" is one that involves being born "of water and the Spirit". There's been a lot written about the many ways people have interpreted Jesus' words here. His reference to "the Spirit" isn't very much of a problem. That's an obvious reference to the Holy Spirit. But to what does His reference to "water" mean?

      I suggest that a very simple way to understand what Jesus meant by "water and the Spirit" is to think of what Nicodemus would have most naturally understood by it. I believe he would have most naturally thought about what everyone else was thinking about in those days - the announcement of Jesus through the ministry of John the Baptist. It was the big talk of the day.

      John the Baptist had made it clear to everyone that his ministry of baptism wasn't an end in and of itself. It was a ministry of preparing people for the ministry of Jesus by calling them to a visible sign that demonstrated that they turned from their sins, and looked to the Savior from sin. He said, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose" (1:26-27). Later on, he pointed directly to Jesus and said,

"This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water." And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, "Upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God" (1:30-34).

      John was sent by God to baptize people in water with a baptism of repentance. Jesus came from God to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. And so, how would Nicodemus have understood Jesus' words "born of water and the Spirit"? He would have most naturally understood them in terms of all that he'd already seen in the ministry and preaching of Jesus - a genuine repentance from sin as a result of the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in the heart.

      Being "born again" isn't a matter of being physically reborn. That's impossible. Rather, it's a matter of being spiritually reborn. The physical can't produce spiritual rebirth. There was nothing we could physically do to make ourselves born the first time; and there's nothing we can physically do to make ourselves born again.

      Not even the repentance that's symbolized in baptism will save us. Only the Holy Spirit's work in us - giving us new birth - can save us. And our repentance from sin is a product of the Holy Spirit's work of giving us new birth - not a cause of it. The phrase "water and the Spirit" aren't meant to convey the logical order of events. Rather, it's meant to show that they go together in an inseparable way. The Spirit's work of giving new birth to a sinner reveals itself in repentance from sin; and the sinner's repentance is evidence of the Spirit's work of giving new birth. We must be born of water and of the Spirit - a work of the Holy Spirit revealed in genuine repentance from sin.

      Jesus not only spoke of this rebirth as a spiritual reality; He also made it clear that being "born again" is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit - beyond the control of human will. He said,

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (v. 8).

      The wind is unpredictable. You hear its blowing, and you can certainly see the effect it has on things; but you can't anticipate where it will come from or where it will go to next.

      And in just the same way, you can't anticipate the work of the Holy Spirit with regard to His ministry in causing people to be born again. He doesn't work according to our formulas and our established patterns. He doesn't respond to our demands. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Triune Godhead; and He acts according to His own Sovereign will. You can no more predict His actions than you can predict any other Sovereign act of the Almighty God.

      As a pastor, I've found that the Holy Spirit has suddenly transformed the lives of people that I would have least expect to be transformed. I have talked and pleaded with certain people - urging them that they needed to be born again; and praying earnestly that they would receive God's free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ - and I have found that, try as I may, I couldn't make them listen. And then, I hear that - suddenly, unexpectedly - they believe and are saved! Or I sometimes hear the news about someone else who becomes born again that hardly anyone spoke a word to. It's as if they heard the gospel and believed it at once. There's no way to explain all this or predict it. It's nothing less than a matter of the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.

* * * * * * * * * *

      And so, the second thing Jesus would want us to know about this "must be" of salvation is what He means by it. Being "born again" isn't a matter of anything physical. It's a spiritual reality. It can't be made to happen to ourselves by our own efforts. The apostle Paul described how helpless we are to make it happen to ourselves when he described us as spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins". A dead body can't just decide to walk around and live on its own. Before a dead body can be living, it first "must be" made alive by the sovereign work of another. And that's just like the "born again" experience that Paul talks about in Ephesians 2:4-7, when he says,

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:4-9).

* * * * * * * * * *

      So far, then, we've been shown in Jesus' words what this great "must be" is, and what this "must be" means. Now, we see ...


      We see that we must be born again; and that it is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. But what, then, can we do to be what we "must be" to get into heaven? Do we simply lay around waiting until the Holy Spirit causes us to be "born again"? Must we lay round like dead bodies just waiting to be resurrected?

      No. It is absolutely true that being "born again" is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit; but there's something we're responsible for. There's something that's required on our part - and our having done it is proof that the Holy Spirit has given life to us and has made us "born again".

      Note Nicodemus' response to all that Jesus has said so far.

Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" (v. 9).

      Nicodemus wasn't merely expressing astonishment. He was asking a very practical question: if it's true that a man "must be" born again; and if the experience of being born again is a spiritual work of the sovereign Holy Spirit, then how can it be so? What can a man or woman do to experience this mysterious work of the Holy Spirit - this spiritual rebirth?

      Jesus' answer must have taken Nicodemus by surprise.

Jesus answered and said to him, Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? (v. 10).

      He is saying that this is all something that Nicodemus - as a Pharisee and a scholar in the Scriptures - should have known if he were a true student of the word of God. Jesus wasn't teaching something new in saying that one must be "born again" by the Spirit before he or she can enter the kingdom of heaven. He wasn't introducing a new element into the teaching of the Scriptures. He's saying here that this spiritual rebirth was something that had been taught in the Old Testament Scriptures all along.

      God made a promise to Israel, all the way back in Ezekiel 36:25-28 - a promise that He would perform a spiritual work on the people of Israel at a future time; a promise that points to the need of being "born of water and the Spirit". God, speaking through His servant Ezekiel, said; <<>> Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My salutes and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God (Ezk. 36:25-28).

      What God is describing here is nothing less than a spiritual rebirth. Those on whom He would perform this work wouldn't be simply refined and remodeled people. They'd be reborn people. They'd have their old heart of stone taken out, and a new heart of flesh put in. They'd be cleansed of their sins, and the Holy Spirit put in them to make them live in a way that's pleasing to God.

      Jesus is saying that Nicodemus should have known all about this already. He said,

Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know, and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you of heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven (vv. 11-13).

      Jesus is speaking here, not to just Nicodemus alone, but to all the leaders of Israel. He is speaking in the plural. "All of you have heard the witness that John and I have born; but you all do not receive our witness. And now you want to know how these great heavenly mysteries can be! If you won't believe us when we tell you about earthly things - what the necessary condition is for entry into the kingdom of heaven - then how is it that you'd believe us when we tell you of the heavenly matters that lie behind it all? These things can't be grasped by mere human wisdom. They can only be known by having a submitted heart to the truth of God's revelation."

      Since Jesus is the only One who has come down from heaven, then only He is the One who can ascend to the heights of heaven and reveal these truths to us. Nicodemus' great problem in it all wasn't lack of necessary information. His problem was a failure to believe the information he had been given. He thought it was a matter of physical changes, when the whole time, the Bible clearly taught that it was matter of being spiritually reborn.

      And now, Jesus answers Nicodemus' question, "How can these things be?" Jesus said,

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (vv. 14-15).

      Jesus was speaking here of a story from the Old Testament that Nicodemus would have known from childhood. It's a story about the Jewish people as they wandered in the wilderness after their departure from Egypt.

      The people complained to Moses as they traveled through the wilderness on the way to the land God promised them. Even though God miraculously provided food from heaven for them every day, they still grumbled. "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?" they complained. "For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread."

So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us." Moses prayed for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived" (Num. 21:6-9).

      This is a picture of Jesus' own sacrifice for us. Jesus eluded to His own coming crucifixion; and said that, just as the people were saved when they confessed their sins and looked to the serpent that Moses raised up on the pole, "even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." Jesus goes on to say - in those best loved of all words,

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the World to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (vv. 16-17).

      So you see, this is a sovereign work of the Spirit; but it's something of which we play an active part. Salvation - becoming "born again" - is a matter of trusting God to have done all the work, and of responding by trusting in that work by faith. His work has been that of placing our sins on His Son Jesus, and giving Him over to death upon the cross on our behalf. Our response is to simply believe that God is satisfied with the sacrifice that His Son Jesus has made on the cross for us, placing our trust fully in that sacrifice, and depending on Him to come into our lives and make us the men and women He wants us to be.

      If we have done that, then we can be confident that the Spirit of God has already begin His sovereign work in us, and that God has made us to be "born again". The Bible makes this wonderful promise:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe on His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13).

* * * * * * * * * *

      So there it is - the great "must be" of salvation. Jesus Himself makes it clear that, in order to enter into His kingdom - in order to have eternal life and be a citizen of heaven - you must be born again. To be "born again" is the absolutely essential "must be" of salvation.

      What then should we do about this instruction from our Lord? First, if we have looked to Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, and we have believed on Him for eternal life, then we have a duty to other people around us. We ought to be telling them about this essential, all-important "must be".

      So many people around us believe that it's enough if they just go to church, have an intellectual agreement with many of the things that the Christian faith teaches, and live a relatively good, moral life. So many people think that they're on their way to heaven because of these things - never realizing that these things alone wont do them any good. We ought to be pointing people to what Jesus Himself told Nicodemus - "You must be born again."

      And second, if any among us have not experienced this essential "must be", then there's nothing more important than that you come to grips with it. You must be born again.

      Perhaps you've gone along all these years believing that entry into heaven is a matter of simply "growing" or "maturing" into it. Perhaps you've gone along believing that if you just do the right things long enough - and stay away from doing the wrong things long enough as well - that God will find you acceptable, and you'll "qualify" for heaven. Jesus' words to Nicodemus teach us otherwise. No one can ever simply "grow" into heaven. You've been born into the human family as a sinner; and you'll never be able to outgrow the condition that you've been born into. You must be born all over again. You must repent and believe the gospel.

      Jesus' words in the rest of this chapter make it very clear how essential this is. He said,

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God (vv. 18-21).

      It's impossible for anyone who rejects the gospel to be able to make themselves worthy of heaven. Their old nature won't let them. There's no other way to get into heaven than by being "born" into it. You must turn from your sins, and place your trust in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. You must be born again.

(copyright 2000 by Pastor Greg Allen and Bethany Bible Church. Reproduction without permission, in whole or in part, is prohibited.)

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