Religious But Lost
John 3:1-6 - Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish
ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.
For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus
asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I
tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to
flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
Nicodemus would probably be welcome at any church today. He seems an ideal member—principled, knowledgeable,
morally upstanding, courteous, and humble. However, Nicodemus had two big problems despite all of that outward
religious appeal. He was blind to the truth and spiritually dead. The man was lost. That is, he did not have a
relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
As a Pharisee, Nicodemus adhered to strict Jewish codes and laws, so he was certainly religious. But the problem
of the lost person is not attitudes, conduct, or even character. We can change and control those through sheer
determination, and many folks do. What people really need is a change of condition. We come into this world with
a sinful nature that is bent away from God.
Jesus explained to the observant rabbi that all his outward goodness couldn't erase, replace, or change his nature.
Instead, every person who desires to serve God must be born again. The Lord promised that if Nicodemus received Him
as Savior, then he would enter into a brand-new life. His old sinful nature would be transformed so that he could
have a real relationship with God. Instead of appearing to be a religious man, Nicodemus would be a true believer.
No one gets into heaven on the strength of good works and kind behavior alone. When we stand before God, only our
soul's condition will matter. In place of our old, dead "flesh" nature, we want to show Him the living spirit we
received when Jesus Christ came into our life.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for the gift of life through your Son Jesus. We ask that you guide us in our
relationship with You, that our sinful nature will give way and we can walk in the footsteps of our Savior. We pray
for our leaders. Give them the wisdom to do what’s right to glorify you. We also pray for those who need you. Continue
to bless us with opportunities to share the glorious message of your love and Salvation. Be with us as we depart, keep us
safe, and guide us in our journey toward eternal glory.
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