Follow Me: A New Creation

Excerpt from Follow Me daily study:
 
If anyone understood the rigors and pressures of superficial religion, it was Nicodemus. Trained as a teacher of the law and a ruler among God’s people, Nicodemus was like many professing Christians today: he possessed a measure of belief in and respect for Jesus while ordering his life around the commands of Scripture. He prayed and went to worship. He read and taught the Bible. He lived a good, decent, moral life.
 
For Nicodemus, everything was right on the outside, but something was wrong on the inside. Despite all the religious stuff he did, he had no spiritual life; he was empty. Fortunately, he came to Jesus seeking that spiritual life.
 
Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus’s questions was puzzling at first. He said, ” I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). Jesus elaborated a couple verses later , saying, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit (v. 5).
 
What images or ideas come to mind when you hear the phrase born again? Why?
 
That phrase “born of water and the Spirit” is key to understanding what Jesus was saying because it points back to an important passage from the Old Testament:
     I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:25-27
 
What images or phrases strike you as most interesting in these verses? Why?
 
How do these verses connect with Jesus’ words to Nicodemus?
 
What Ezekiel wrote about is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came to cleanse us of our sin through His sacrifice on the cross; to wash us with “clean water” (v. 25). And in doing so, He gives us something infinitely more valuable: a new heart. We’re born again! He gives us His Spirit to live in us and change us from the inside out. This is what it means to experience supernatural regeneration. 
 
That’s why Paul wrote these joyful, exuberant words in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
 
That’s also why the Bible teaches that faith alone is the only way to experience salvation from sin. Faith is the antiwork. It’s the realization that we can do nothing to help ourselves except trust in what Jesus has done for us through His life, death, and resurrection.
 
Have you experienced supernatural regeneration? How can you tell?