THE NEW BIRTH
We hear much today about the new birth. Many people say they are “born again Christians.” They do not seem to understand that one cannot be a Christian at all unless he has been born again. How can one be born again? That is, how does one become a Christian? What does the Bible say?
speaks of the new birth in John 3:1-13. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a ruler of the
Jews, came to Jesus. Nicodemus was both
a religious man and a good man. He knew
that God had sent Jesus into the world because he had seen the miracles which
Jesus did. Nicodemus was looking for the
what Nicodemus was thinking and answered by saying: “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom
of God.” “To see” the kingdom is to be a part of it and
to enjoy its blessings. Nicodemus was a
Jew. He had become a part of the
which Jesus came to establish was a spiritual kingdom. Jesus later told Pilate, “My kingdom is not
of this world” (John ). When Peter confessed that Jesus was the
Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus promised to build His church. He then promised to give Peter the keys of
the kingdom (Matthew -19).
It is clear in these verses that Jesus uses the work “church” and “kingdom” to
refer to the same thing. Many years
later, the Apostle Paul reminded members of the
Jesus further said to Nicodemus: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” This means that there is only one way that one can enjoy the blessings of the kingdom and that is by being born again.
that one must be born of (1) water, (2) the Spirit. In a human birth two things are necessary:
(1) the father who begets, (2) the mother who brings forth. Jesus is using the physical birth into a
human family to explain the spiritual birth into the
In the new birth, the Holy Spirit begets. The seed is the Word of God. Notice these words: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18) Again let us read a familiar Scripture, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit into unfeigned love of the brethren, see that he love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” (1 Peter 1:22-23).
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians ). It is the Word which the Spirit uses to produce faith in the human heart. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). When the Word of God is preached, the Holy Spirit by this means begets faith in the sinner’s heart. Thus, one may be said to be begotten of the Spirit when he hears and believes the Word of God.
But how is
one born of the water? This is done by
baptism. When one hears and believes the
Word of God, he obeys the Word by being baptized in water in the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew
28:19,20) This baptism is a burial
in water (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). It is for the remission (forgiveness) of sins
(Acts ; ). By
baptism, the believer is put into the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians ), which is the church (Colossians ), the
seen that to be a Christian, it is necessary to be born again. If one had been born again, he is in the
Word begets faith in the human heart and the believer responds by being baptized for the remission of sins. Thus he is born of water and the Spirit and has thereby entered the kingdom.
friend, what about you? Are you
saved? Are you in the
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