Nicodemus was a Pharisee – a learned man of the law and a member of the Sanhedrin. Nevertheless, Jesus told him that the only way to enter the kingdom of God was to be born again.
Many people today are like Nicodemus. They’re religious. They’re moral. They compare themselves to others and feel pretty good. They reason, “Somehow this loving, gracious, wonderful God will make it possible for all of us to end up in heaven.” This is absolutely false. Jesus said, “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again'”(John 3:7)
Our sins separate us from God. Being good cannot close the gap because no matter how good we try to be, we all sin. It is our nature to be sinful, and we cannot change our nature.
The great self-deception is thinking: I can perform well enough to be acceptable to God. The only way to be acceptable to God is to be born from above, by an act of God. Then the soul and spirit are radically changed forever. We experience a regeneration, a giving of divine life to our spirit. We become a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17).
You may be performing well. You may be serving God, reading the Bible, giving, and praying. But has there been a radical change in your soul – a time when you came into a personal relationship with God? Do you have a new nature through the work of the Holy Spirit? If you cannot answer yes to these questions, you need to be born again.