September 09, 2023

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”  Ephesians 2:4-5 

This is one of the sweetest transitions in Scripture.

We were dead in our sins…”but God.”

How beautiful is the contrast between who we are and who God is?  

We were children of wrath, dead in our trespasses and sins, selfish and self-righteous sons of disobedience. “But God” – in his nature – is rich in mercy and lavish in love. 

This is who He is! Through the gift of new life, He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. He has offered us what we don’t deserve and could never earn. He has offered us the gift of new life through Jesus Christ. 

I love how Jesus explains this to a religious leader named Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus comes to Jesus looking for answers. As a religious man, he has been living his life to help himself by doing all the right things. He’s hoping to get right with God, but there’s a question in the back of his mind that occasionally haunts him at night. “Have I done enough?” 

Nicodemus wants to understand what it will take to ensure he is right with God, but he’s so embarrassed by this question that he comes to Jesus at night. There’s no way he could bring this up with his religious friends because they have it all together. So, he comes to Jesus for clarity. 

Here’s the response Jesus gave him: 

“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 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?” Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”  John 3:3-5 

Jesus is saying, look – I did not come to make bad people good. I did not come to help people who can help themselves. I did not come to make nice, moral people a little nicer and more moral. No. I came to bring the dead to life! I came to resurrect spiritually dead people who can’t save themselves. I have been inviting them to be born again. (My paraphrase) 

The only way to be made right with God is to go from death to life. To be born again – a spiritual birth – can only happen through the gift of salvation that Christ alone can provide. 

Have you ever wondered in the quiet moments of your life, “Have I done enough?” 

The only way to ever say before God, “I’ve done enough,” is to say, “I can do nothing at all; it’s only by what Christ has done.” 

This is the question before us today: Have you been born again? Have you received the gift of new life that comes through Jesus Christ? 

And if you have, who can you invite into the beautiful gift of the Gospel?

Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL


Read “The Amazing Gift of Jesus” by Bryant Wright