Jesus replied to him, "Truly, I tell you emphatically, unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God."John 3:3(ISV)
It was to a great religious teacher that Jesus spoke these life-changing words: "Unless a man is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The man to whom Jesus was speaking was a very religious leader of the Jews, a teacher who read his Bible, worshiped on the right days, and tried to keep the commandments of God. But he was trying to win salvation and favour from God by all the good things that he did. He was trying to reach God the wrong way, and not God's way.
Man's way, and the way of every single religion and sect on earth (other than biblical Christianity), tries to get to God through good works, by doing things to please Him and hoping that the good deeds outweigh the bad things. But this is hopeless. This is another gospel and everyone who attempts to reach God by this route will be condemned.
God's way is by faith, and salvation is a free and irreversible gift of God's grace to man. Salvation is only given to those that have faith in the Messiah - the Lord Jesus Christ - the only begotten Son of God.
Old Testament saints believed in the coming of a promised Messiah, while Church age believers put their trust in their risen Saviour - but it is ALL by faith. And all who believe in Him (Who is the one and only way to God), are not condemned but have eternal life.
Nicodemus was told: "Unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God." Unless one has a new birth, a spiritual birth, one cannot see God's kingdom. Unless a man or woman is born of the Spirit, born from above, they cannot be saved, because they are attempting to reach God the wrong way.
Nicodemus did not understand that Jesus was talking of a spiritual birth, an immediate and irreversible action that is carried out in the human heart by the Holy Spirit, on everyone who believes in Christ Jesus. His perspective was still on earthly things.
Nicodemus could only relate to our physical birth, our natural birth where when a human baby is born through the action, will, and work of man. But the new birth is not something that can be implemented by the action, will, or work of man. The new birth is a supernatural, spiritual act that is performed by the Holy Spirit within the heart of a man or woman, the moment that they put their trust in Jesus Christ.
However hard man tries to please God, the only way possible is by faith in Jesus Christ and "unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Loving Father, thank You that I have been given the gift of eternal life, simply because I trusted in Jesus. Thank You that my spiritual birth and my spiritual growth in the Christian life does not depend on my abilities, but is a free gift of grace, given to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. In Jesus' name, AMEN.