Called to share God's grace
January 20, 2014
by Pastor G. Koivokangus, Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

It was with these words that Jesus answered Nicodemus late one night. Nicodemus had told Jesus that he believed in God, and confessed that Jesus was a prophet. It became apparent, as the conversation continued, that Nicodemus did not understand new birth. He examined the matters of faith in the light of human reason. Jesus expressed that he was still in darkness. The unbelieving world attempts to behold the wisdom of God, just as Nicodemus did.

Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of the absolute necessity of new birth. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Jesus speaks here of new birth which takes place in repentance. He refers to the living water of the gospel, (John 4:4), the water which has power to give life.

Jesus offered this living water to the Samaritan woman at the well of Sycchar. He offered this same grace at the feast of the tabernacle, to the ones who thirsted (John 7:37). He still offers it today.

The love of our heavenly father is great. He has created you and called you to own that righteousness which He has prepared in His Son. He testifies unto you through those who have received the Holy Spirit, that sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood. He who believes in Him, will not perish but receive everlasting life.

Jesus shows clearly that the way from unbelief to living faith goes through the grace of repentance. It’s starting point is acceptance of the gospel.

By the command of Jesus, this same sermon of repentance is preached from the kingdom of God today. All people who are on the outside are invited into the kingdom of God through the narrow gate of repentance.

Jesus preached a sermon of repentance to Nicodemus. He used a parable depicting new birth, which Nicodemus did not understand. Nicodemus belonged to the Jewish aristocracy and could not consent to repentance, for he would have had to discard all his former deeds. All that, upon which he had thus far set his hopes, would have collapsed.

God lovingly calls each person to share in his grace. A poor pilgrim can put trust in the gospel and take steps, with its support, toward eternal salvation.

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