Thursday, November 29, 2012

What did Jesus say about Going to Heaven?

What did Jesus teach about going to heaven?  We have a record of his comments on the subject in the conversation Jesus had with a religious leader named Nicodemus as recounted in the Gospel of John chapter 3.

"Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surly he cannot enter his mothers womb and be born."
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying 'You must be born again.'" John 3: 3-7, NIV.

We would think that Jesus would have said something straightforward, like obey the ten commandments. Or always follow your conscience, or give alms, or give up the world. Instead he says something counter to our natural thinking.

He says this emphatically; he starts with "I tell you the truth," he repeats, "I tell you the truth," then ends with, "you must..." There is no doubt that this being born again is the imperative of Jesus's teaching about salvation.

There is no salvation, no going to heaven, without being born again. We had no control over our physical birth it just happened to us. So also we cannot make ourselves be born again. It is something God will do through the Holy Spirit. We cannot earn it or merit it but we can receive it.

In this famed conversation with Nicodemus Jesus summarized the Gospel of salvation and explained what being born again is about, he said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

To see other translations of this verse and notes from respected commentators follow this link: Online Parallel Bible.


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