John 10:25 - Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe."
The religious leaders of Jesus' day, had a difficult time believing all the things He said. He showed them signs through healing, by speaking words they couldn't believe because He had not studied as they had done. How could He understand? He claimed repeatedly that He spoke only what the Father told Him. The healing as well came not of His own will, but His Father's. Above, the response was to the religious leaders' question, again, was He the Christ?
These people knew a Messiah was coming but they didn't see Him though He was right before them, speaking to them, healing. What Jesus did was done in humility, yet power. They were looking for the power first, I think. They weren't looking for a humble man but a strong warrior who would defeat their physical enemies.
Good chooses the weaker things to prove His point. Jesus was not weak, but He obeyed His Father. He knew who His authority was. And these people refused to believe. They thought Him an imposter of sorts.
So what happens when Jesus says, Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again' (John 3:7)? Aren't these His own words? Hasn't He pointed out all throughout the Gospels that this is the only way to the Father? Aren't people not believing His words if they somehow choose not to read or heed these words? You must be born again.
Jesus goes on to say, But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:26-27). These religious leaders weren't hearing what He claimed. He did things they couldn't figure out because a mere man can't do those things...so doesn't that mean He's from above? If we do not heed those words we are not His sheep either. We think our salvation comes from the good things we do in our lifetime. We believe it comes from our compassion for others. Those things are good, but the motive is wrong. If we do these things to think that God the Father will see us and reward us with eternal life because of our works, we are deceived.
It is first receiving Christ, being born not of man (flesh) but of God (Spirit). Then our works are good because they are done to glorify God. Some may still do good to be noticed for those deeds. God will deal with them on that!
Salvation to many religions happens when we are baptized as infants. That is not salvation. Salvation comes when we are able to understand what it means to be born again...born of the Spirit...when we are able to make the decision for Christ. Being able to realize we are sinners and then confess Him as the One who can wash away the stains of our sins. Mark 16:16 tells us he that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that does not believe shall be damned. Again, the words of Jesus. You see, we must believe first, then be baptized.
Babies have not developed enough intelligence to practice sin, therefore are quite safe if they die young. At that age in some churches, the babies are dedicated to God, like Jesus was dedicated at the temple. Dedication is a commitment by the parents before God to submit that child to God's will. They promise to raise the child by the Word, which will teach the child God's ways. Of course, a child still has the choice to choose a life God's way or not. It is always the hope that the child will then make it's own decision some day for Christ...being born again.
So, what happens when it is suggested by people other than Jesus that a person must be born again? Are the receivers like those religious leaders? Are they worried that what they have been taught in church is all wrong? Are they offended because the words seem to slam some church doctrine?
The religious leaders were afraid their jobs would be in jeopardy if Jesus was who He claimed to be. They would no longer be needed to carry out the responsibilities they now had being the ones to implement the atonement for sins...through all the acts of sacrifice the people had to do. They never had to confess anything, they only brought their sacrifices to the temple and the priests offered them up as atonement. They acted as sheep...daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, listening only to the temple priest. And their sins (and the priests' sins/jobs) never ceased. In the New Testament we are called to follow the Shepherd like sheep, not the doctrine of man.
So Jesus was a threat. He called people to follow Him because He knew one day He would offer Himself up to God as a sacrifice for all our sins once. ONCE. And then the sins were covered by His shed blood, like the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices which went on and on and on.
What is so hard to believe about that? We all know that Jesus has said, And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand (John 10:28). He gives eternal life. We cannot do anything to receive it. That is why we must confess our sins to Him and only Him. No other man can save us. Just like the priests in the Old Testament there is no pastor or priest in the church today who can save us. We must go to the Lord Himself with our confession. Religious leaders today can point us to Him but it is our choice to receive, believe and be saved.
Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe in what He said? Then you should also believe His words You must be born again.
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. ...now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (John 3:6, Acts 22:16)