Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.” John 3:7.
As God’s purchased possession, we are under contract to work as Christ worked in His divine service, not in accordance with our natural inclinations but in harmony with the Spirit of God. But the lives of all people, as the gospel finds them, are full of sin. By yielding to temptation they have weakened their power to obey. Their hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” They are dead in trespasses and sins, and in their own strength they can do no good.
In order to serve God acceptably, we must be “born again.” Our natural dispositions, which are in opposition to the Spirit of God, must be put away. We must be made new men and women in Christ Jesus. Our old, unrenewed lives must give place to a new life—a life full of love, of trust, of willing obedience…. Unless the change takes place, we cannot serve God aright. Our work will be defective. Earthly plans will be brought in; strange fire, dishonoring to God, will be offered. Our lives will be unholy and unhappy, full of unrest and trouble….
Christ came to our world because He saw that we had lost the image and nature of God. He saw that we had wandered far from the path of peace and purity, and that, if left to ourselves, we would never find our way back. He came with a full and complete salvation, to change our stony hearts to hearts of flesh, to change our sinful natures into His similitude, that, by being partakers of the divine nature, we might be fitted for the heavenly courts….
To all who, anxious for the salvation of their souls, come to Christ for aid, He says, as He said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He is knocking at the door of your heart, asking for admittance. He longs to renew your heart, filling it with a love for all that is pure and true. He longs to crucify self for you, raising you to newness of life in Him. Nicodemus was converted as a result of his interview with Christ…. Fear not to make a full surrender of yourself to Christ. Place yourself, without reserve, under His control. Learn what it means to cease from sin, what it means to have a new heart, to bear the divine similitude. As you behold Christ, self will sink into insignificance, and you will be changed into His image, “from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”—Youth’s Instructor, September 9, 1897.