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Today's Devotion (Sunday, Feb 23)

Day By Day By Grace - Bob Hoekstra (DBD)

The Holy Spirit and Starting Out with God

""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…You must be born again." (John 3:5-7)"
The new life that allows us to start out with God comes through a spiritual birth provided by the Holy Spirit. "Unless one is born of…the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Just as man must be physically born into the human family, so man must be spiritually born into God's family. There is no other option. That is why Jesus said, "You must be born again."

The reason spiritual new birth is a necessity is because "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." Natural human birth can only produce a natural life. Becoming a child of God involves a supernatural life that God alone can provide.

When Jesus came to secure our redemption, He was generally rejected. "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). Nevertheless, some realized that He was Messiah, the Anointed King and Savior sent from the Father. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).

Believing in Jesus' name involves trusting in His person and His work. It encompasses relying upon who He is, what He says, and what He has done and can do. Such faith brings a unique new birth: "Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). This birth is from God. It cannot come by inheritance or genetics through our human bloodline. It is not available through an exercise of our human will. Neither can we have it pronounced upon us by some religious leader.

The Lord desires us to walk in a heavenly, spiritual life, not a mere earthly, human existence. Only a birth from the Spirit of God could bring us this type of life. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." All genuine spirituality must come from a work of the Holy Spirit on our behalf. This is true concerning our starting out with God in new birth and justification. "You…were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11). We will see in subsequent meditations that this is true concerning our going on with God in growth and sanctification.
"Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for making me Your child through faith in Your Son, Jesus. I praise You for the new life Your Holy Spirit has brought to me. Help me to understand from Your word that the entire Christian experience is to be as supernatural as being born again was. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."