Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. John 3:5 NLT
Jesus is answering Nicodemus’ questions about being born again. He reveals that it happens through two agents: water ~ which is the Word of God and the Spirit ~ the One who opens someone’s eyes to the Word so that they can understand it. Preaching of the Word alone is not sufficient for a new birth. It must be accompanied by the breath of the Spirit who moves over darkened minds.
These two change agents will always be what is necessary for a person’s eyes to be opened to their need for a Savior. If someone only reads the Word, it is a strange language which seems to have no value.
Think about your favorite scripture right now; the one you’ve cherished for years, the one you’ve typed out, highlighted and dated in your Bible, and perhaps even taped to your bathroom mirror. You could write out that verse for ten unbelievers and it would mean nothing. They would be puzzled by how life-giving it is to you. That’s because the wind of the Holy Spirit hasn’t opened their eyes yet.
The Word and the Spirit bring about new birth but they continue to be change agents in my sanctification. There have been lies about God that held me hostage. There have been areas where despair ruled and faith was absent. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t have victory. I memorized many verses in an attempt to bring the change I was seeking but the truth of them didn’t impact me. I was confused but was too embarrassed to admit it. My disappointment in my faith festered in secret. If only I’d understood then what Jesus was telling John. It is the scriptures plus the wind of the Spirit that brings new life.
Each of us faces one stronghold after another. It can easily be overwhelming without the assurance that the spiritual power of the Word, and the Spirit, combine to offer deliverance and a change to a captive way of life. We can not only know the truth but feel the truth.
Whenever you and I have an ‘a-ha’ spiritual moment, we know that the Holy Spirit is giving us understanding of the scriptures. The Word becomes precious to us and the Spirit writes a new message on the pillars on our life’s foundation.
Continue to blow over my barren landscape. Amen