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The Need To Be Born Again

Jul 17, 2023 | Sunday Devotional | 0 comments

John 3:1-8  “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Born Again is a spiritual transformation, from the natural to the supernatural

Looking at our text in John 3:1-8, we will discover that:

  1. The first thing to be observed, as we read this discourse just as it lies before us, is the clear deliverance, by implication at least, on the doctrine of the complete depravity of human nature. It was to Nicodemus with his morality and unblemished life, with his position as a teacher of the only true religion that was in the world at the time, and not to some dark, sin-defiled creature who had trampled on all law that the Saviour says, “You are all wrong; you must be born again.”
  2. The next and corresponding truth is the radical character of the religion of Christ. In order to meet this great need, that religion goes to the root of everything within us, and touching and transforming all creates us anew in Christ Jesus.

III. The inexorable character of this requirement. It is a law of the kingdom of Christ, and it stands at the entrance to that kingdom, never to be disannulled: “Ye must be born again.” Like the rocks which sometimes guard the entrance to a safe and spacious harbour, these words stand. A ship must enter here,or turn back to the wide ocean, with no haven or home.

  1. Although this law is itself radical and inexorable, there is nothing uniform or unchangeable as to times and modes of its fulfilment. In these there may be, and indeed there is, endless variety. As it is well not to fall short of the teaching of Scripture, it is also well not to go beyond it. In this matter of regeneration or conversion, nothing can be firmer and clearer than the law, nothing wider and more unlimited than the mode.
  2. This great change is very blessed. Great happiness will accrue to a man when it is accomplished, and when he is living the new life in Christ. It is, indeed, a most blessed thing that such a change is possible, still more that it is realised in actual fact; that it occurs in cases around us; that God thus comes to dwell with men; that His Spirit touches and transforms human spirits; that men become new creatures in Christ Jesus. These are great and good things. “Ye maybe born again.” Does not that give a new and more luminous aspect of the case? Why should we look upon the new birth only as a stern necessity? Why not regard it as a glorious privilege? It is by far the most beneficent change that takes place under the sun. It is the seed of all virtue, the starting-point of an endless progress, the first outburst of the living water springing up into everlasting life.

When religion is out of fashion, there are many Nicodemites. But though he came by night, Jesus bid him welcome, and hereby taught us to encourage good beginnings, although weak. And though now he came by night, yet afterward he owned Christ publicly. He did not talk with Christ about state affairs, though he was a ruler, but about the concerns of his own soul and its salvation, and went at once to them. Our Saviour spoke of the necessity and nature of regeneration or the new birth, and at once directed Nicodemus to the source of holiness of the heart. Birth is the beginning of life; to be born again, is to begin to live anew, as those who have lived much amiss, or to little purpose.

We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, new aims. By our first birth we were corrupt, shapen in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures. No stronger expression could have been chosen to signify a great and most remarkable change of state and character. We must be entirely different from what we were before, as that which begins to be at any time, is not, and cannot be the same with that which was before. This new birth is from heaven, ch. :, and its tendency is to heaven. It is a great change made in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It means that something is done in us, and for us, which we cannot do for ourselves. Something is wrong, whereby such a life begins as shall last for ever.

We cannot otherwise expect any benefit by Christ; it is necessary to our happiness here and hereafter. What Christ speak, Nicodemus misunderstood, as if there had been no other way of regenerating and new-moulding an immortal soul, than by new-framing the body. But he acknowledged his ignorance, which shows a desire to be better informed. It is then further explained by the Lord Jesus. He shows the Author of this blessed change. It is not wrought by any wisdom or power of our own, but by the power of the blessed Spirit. We are shapen in iniquity, which makes it necessary that our nature be changed. We are not to marvel at this; for, when we consider the holiness of God, the depravity of our nature, and the happiness set before us, we shall not think it strange that so much stress is laid upon this.

How are individuals made alive spiritually?

The Bible teaches us that we become a child of God only through the new birth. Those who believe on Jesus Christ become God’s children. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

By whose authority do we become the children of God? “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right . . .” It is the authority of Jesus Christ. Those who believe on Him have the right to become the children of God.

It is clearly not a physical birth, but a spiritual birth that is in mind, and it is something that is received by the person who believes in Him (1 Pet. 1:23). The initiative in the new birth is with God.

Without Christ we are spiritually dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1-3). Every individual must be born again because the natural man is altogether void of spiritual life. We need divine life, and that is what God provides through the new birth.

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36, 16). He has it right now (1 John 5:13). Clearly the individual who believes on Him receives God’s kind of life (6:40). It is the teaching throughout the New Testament (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 10:9-10).

The biblical doctrine of the new birth takes all the glory and initiative away from man and gives it all to God the Father. He alone is responsible for our salvation; therefore, He alone gets all the glory. He creates the new spiritual life within us and causes us to believe on Christ. God chooses to give us eternal life (1 Jn. 3:1; Eph. 1:5; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23).

We become a child of God when God gives us His life. It is an act of God. We receive that life the moment we believe on Christ. It comes from God and is received only on the basis of God’s grace. Those who believe become God’s children. Only by receiving Christ do we gain the right to become a child of God.

How do we not become a child of God? There is absolutely nothing that man can do to contribute to his spiritual birth. This is made very clear in John 1:13, “who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” No amount of human activity, religious cultivation, or moral teaching can change the essential nature of man. Therefore, it is imperative that man’s deepest need is to be born again.

In the Jewish mind “blood” is equivalent to human life. Spiritual birth cannot come about as a result of any human process or achievement. Man is not by nature a child of God. We are by nature sinners. No human agency can achieve the new birth. All human effort is powerless and superficial in regard to spiritual life. There is nothing in our human nature or character that can bring about a spiritual birth.

“Born of the water and the Spirit” does not refer to baptism regeneration (John 3:5). From the context “water” here is referring to the water bag broken at physical birth of a baby. Water here is symbolic of a spiritual birth. From other passages of Scripture we learn that baptism is in no wise essential to salvation. It does not form one of the conditions which God requires the sinner to meet. If baptism were necessary then man would be saved by his works.

The Bible teaches we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not of works. It is the free gift of God. “What must I do to be saved?” The Bible says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31).

The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to bring about regeneration (1 Pet. 1:23). No sinner is born spiritually apart from the Word. The “children” are those who believe on Christ. Men are God’s sons only as they respond to what He does for them in Christ. They are born into God’s family when they receive His Word.

The new birth is an absolute miracle. All human initiative and effort is ruled out. Men are “born of God.” There is no other way to become a child of God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit within the person. It is life in Christ and is divine in origin. The whole emphasis in this verse and in John chapter three is the activity of the Spirit of God, not human effort, works or merits by demanding the sinner to be “born again.” He excludes any possibility of human effort in salvation.

The word “believing” and “receiving” refer to the same operation of the Holy Spirit when a person ceases trusting in his own human merits and trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation.

Are you enjoying the things of God, spiritual things, which are discerned and enjoyed by spiritual regeneration? Are you enjoying the privileges of being a child of God? In order to have spiritual discernment we must be born again (1 Cor. 2:10, 14).

The Holy Spirit gives us a new spiritual nature. When He gives us this new nature we are “born again” (2 Pet. 1:4). It is an act of God.

Because of this new birth the individual is a changed person who loves the things he once hated, and hates the things he once loved. A radical change takes place in the heart of the believer.  “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new thing have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). The NET Bible reads, “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come!”

May the Lord bless you and keep you now and forever Amen!!!

The Rev’d Engr Vincent Ifeanyi Nweke*
Nike Diocese

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