1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Jesus’ initial answer lays out the importance of salvation. This is echoed in Romans 12 by the apostle Paul, “2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you mayprove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” It is in the refreshing of our souls, the renewing of our minds that is evidence of our transformation. How exactly does this take place? “unless one is born of water and the Spirit…”. Sounds to me like a strong case by Jesus Himself for not only a baptism of the Spirit, but also as it is witnessed by the baptism of water.
Verse 8 repeats a theme which I have been tracking closely within the scriptures: God’s design of who is and who isn’t saved is unknown and uncontrollable. Much like the constantly changing dynamics of the wind, a force which we cannot see, but only witness the effects of its actions, so too the Holy Spirit moves. Once again we are reminded that salvation is a product of God, nobody else and that we cannot control it, persuade it, or convince someone to accept it. We can only show them what it can do.
Paul told the Galatians exactly what these things were in the fifth chapter of his letter to them: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control” So then, are these things actions which we perform in order to receive the Spirit? Not at all! They are in fact evidence of the prevailing winds of the Holy Spirit, much like the aftermath of a tornado.
I know that for myself, I was only able to change once the Spirit grabbed hold of me and I actually started paying attention to it. Many transformations happened without my knowledge or effort. Others are part of my growth that God has planned for me and are still ongoing. Even more so, there are changes in the future that God has planned for me.
Are you born again? Are you still trying to run away from the wind? Maybe you have accepted Christ’s forgiveness but instead have chosen to ignore the wind whistling inside you. Our fruits are evidence of that which we are made of. In warning against false prophets, Jesus used the metaphor of fruit to exemplify that our actions are a result of that which is within us: Mathew 7, “17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
What fruit is being produced by you?