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 and said to him, “Most assuredly, 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, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
What does it really mean to say, “The kingdom of God?” It seems as though we interchange the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven but in the Bible are those two phrases the same? Is it like saying potatoes or po-ta-toes? OR could Jesus have really been telling us two different aspects about the same place, one being internal and the other physical?
Years ago, it was placed on my heart that the kingdom of God is within you but the kingdom of heaven is a real place. If we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior the kingdom of God can rule and reign within us, giving us access to the kingdom of heaven.
My firm belief is that in order to embark upon the things of the kingdom of heaven Jesus is clearly telling us that we truly have to be born again. In other words, we have to be able to accept Him as our living Savior and have a change of heart. There has to be a circumcision of belief, attitude and perspective in our thinking, in our actions and in the way we now live our lives. We can accept the kingdom of God within our hearts if we choose to.
I thought I had accepted God and thought I knew who Jesus was from a very early age. But, my actions and life certainly did not mirror a new life in Christ. It was not until my late thirties that I knowingly and willingly knelt and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save my soul. My life began slowly to take on a new form. But, it was not until I had walked up and into the kingdom of God within myself that I truly felt born again. I believed I had been given a second chance to live on earth with a cleansed heart and mind.
The kingdom of God is within a soul and it is as tangible as any emotion I have ever felt. From this kingdom of God within me, I am able to access the kingdom of heaven through the full power of the Holy Spirit.
That is why Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). It is only through being born again that one can truly access the things of the Spirit.