Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”
Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As a young adult, I would occasionally be approached by an evangelical proselytizer asking, “Have you been saved?” I didn’t quite know what that question meant, because I never saw this as a one-time deal, where I got my “saved” badge and could go on living as I pleased, resting on my laurels.
Badge? I don’t need that stinkin’ badge. This status serves neither me, nor God well. I’d rather the “being saved” status be one for which I must re-certify over and over, perhaps several times each day.
Nicodemus discovers this in his discussion with Jesus, and yet wonders how he can be saved again at his late age. We do this, particularly in the Easter season, when we renew our baptismal vows, again becoming “born of water and Spirit.”
When I owned a summer camp, my institution underwent frequent re-accreditation, with the goal of ensuring a safe operation. As with Nicodemus, if an aging camp rested on its laurels of yesteryear, it would have failed in its ability to meet today’s standards. Being “saved” yesterday doesn’t count for today.
Each day, we must look inward, acknowledge our sin, and ask Christ for his saving grace once again.
I’m looking forward to having that “re-accreditation” process again tomorrow.
Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which you have given us,
for all the pains and insults
which you have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day. Amen.
—St. Richard of ChichesterPlease share the Good Word with your friends!