Nicodemus, a well educated Torah scholar, wealthy Pharisee, and a leader of the Jews, came to Jesus one night and said, “Rabbi, we know 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, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”… John 3:2-3; Nicodemus then asked how can a man be born again when he is old? Jesus explained that in order to be "born again," he must, in short, be a changed person - a "spiritual" person. Some people, interpret the "born again" expression to mean baptism in water, or believe in Jesus.
An individual who believes in Jesus is not necessarily a "changed person." Lucifer believes in Jesus but he doesn't do what God tells him to do. He merely picks and chooses what he wants to follow, and discard the rest. He cannot change his lifetime habit of disobeying his Maker. Baptism in water is also not proof that one is a "born again," or a "changed person." So, what is a "changed person"?
A changed person, in my view, is a person who readily admits that he is wrong when he is wrong. A changed person is one who is blessed with wisdom - an open mind. Finally, a changed person is one who has no difficulty in distinguishing between what is right and what is wrong and follows what his conscience tells him to do - do the right thing as best as he can.
Adam and Eve were not a "changed" or a "born again" couple. Instead of admitting that they were wrong, they blamed each other for the wrong that they and the serpent did. They could have asked God to forgive them for their wrong and be eligible to receive God's mercy, but they have too much pride in them to admit that they are wrong. What do you think God would do to them if they have said, "Lord, we are sorry - forgive us," instead of blaming the serpent?
Many years ago when I was a teenager news broke out in Bandung, Indonesia that a Muslim cleric has converted to Christianity. This story has generated a lot of joy among many Christians but anger among most Muslims. It is rare for a Muslim cleric to change his belief and become a Christian. You don’t hear that very often a Muslim cleric converts to Christianity, or a Christian pastor become a Buddhist monk. Why, because they believe that their religion is the right faith, and any other religion is fake.
And so does Nicodemus. He may have felt sorry for Jesus, but he cannot change his belief in the Torah. Do you think that TV preacher, Joel Osteen, can convert and become a Buddhist priest? Or that evangelist Jimmy Swaggart can become a Muslim cleric?
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 19: 23, “Truly I tell you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God..”
It is not easy for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, just as hard as it would be for a Muslim cleric to become a Christian pastor, or for Joel Osteen to become an Atheist. Why, because a change in belief is tough, particularly in those with a closed mind - those who believe that they are always right even though they are wrong.
Adam and Eve lost eternal life because they would not admit that they were wrong. Their pride prevented them from receiving God's grace. Instead of asking God to forgive them for disobeying Him, they blamed others for the sin that they have committed. How can they, or we, ever change if we refuse to admit that we are wrong even when we think we are right?