Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
When a person gets saved, they are born again, they experience the new birth some people call it regeneration, but essentially a literal change takes place. We are in all actuality, literally, children of God…This is our true identity. He is our Father…and we are his own.
To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
1 John. 3:2
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
Being born again literally means you are a child of God.
Adoption means that you are legally a child of God.
You know, actually, in Biblical times, the word ‘adoption’ was used differently than we use it today. Because when we talk about adoption today, we’re talking about taking a child that is not our own flesh and blood, and legally making them our own… but that’s not the Biblical meaning of adoption.
Romans and the Greeks had a ceremony they went through with their own children – it was a coming of age ceremony, a rite of passage and that ceremony was called adoption,
Adoption is the Greek word “υἱοθεσία” which literally means “the placing or the setting of a son.”
It seems as long as a child was under the legal age of inheritance, they were not really considered to be a full-fledged member of the family. They did not enjoy all the rights and privileges of family membership. But when they became an adult, and the legal age of inheritance, they went through a ceremony called the “toga virilis”.
They would take the toga off of the back of the adult, place it on the back of the child, and pronounce them to be a full-fledged member of the family, with all the rights and privileges.
So when Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again, he means that we become a child of God both literally and legally. And the best part is… there’s no paper work, no waiting and no work to be done. When you got saved, in the mind of God, this toga virilis had already taken place…it’s as though God immediately put your name in His family tree.
Romans 8:16-17 says
We are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.
Grace picks you up out of the grave, out of the pit and erases your past and then grace hands you new letters of adoption and says, “You’re mine, you’re loved and you’re free – welcome to the family.”