The Law of Grace
John 3:4-8 “4Nicodemus 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?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That 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.’ 8The 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.’”
For his entire life, Nicodemus had been taught that the way to earn eternal life was to follow the law to the strictest degree. The faith of a Pharisee was consumed by his own ability to know and keep both the written law and the oral law. There was no room for error, no allowance for deviation, and no place for grace.
Nicodemus was onto something in verse 4. In pointing out the impossibility of a man re-entering his mother’s womb to be physically reborn, he was inadvertently pointing out the impossibility of earning our way to salvation. In verse six,
Jesus spells it out, the flesh cannot achieve anything other than making more flesh. Paul sums it up for us in Ephesians 2:8-9 8“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (NASB)