Born Again

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-8)

“Scripture does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you He is born. Christ must above all things become our own and we become His. See to it that you make this birth your own and that Christ be born in you.”
-Martin Luther
Baffled by Jesus’ words, Nicodemus shows the weakness of his knowledge. What Christ was speaking of spiritually, Nicodemus understood only in a fleshly manner. Jesus responds with this warning:
“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

Nicodemus didn’t get it. Corrupted flesh will only give birth to corrupted flesh, no matter how many times fleshly birth takes place. Indeed, corruption is bred in us. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians:
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

“The corrupt nature, which is flesh, takes rise from our first birth; and therefore the new nature, which is spirit, must take rise from a second birth. Corruption and sin are woven into our nature; we are shaped in iniquity. It is not enough to put on a new coat or a new face, but we must put on the new man.” -Matthew Henry

Christ reiterates to Nicodemus the necessity of regeneration for one to enter the kingdom of God. To be born again is to be born from above. not through our own wisdom or power, but by King David tells us we are born sinners:

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
(Psalm 51:5-7)

Considering the holiness of God and the depravity of man we must not think the necessity of the demand strange–regeneration is paramount. It is an indispensable necessity.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“To be in Christ is to be a new creation. This new creation is brought about by the Holy Spirit, the Agent of regeneration and the Giver of divine birth. God’s new creative work, begun in each one who believes in Christ, will one day be consummated on a universal scale. The old life of slavery to self and sin has gone. The new life of devotion to Christ means that one has new attitudes and actions.”
-Bible Knowledge Commentary

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)

Take It to Heart

Jesus holds out to all of us the right to become a child of the King. Have you ever wanted to be a princess? Ever wanted to be a prince? Now is your chance! It is not just enough for us to behold and admire Christ’s miracles or to give verbal assent to His mission, we must experience a change within us which, as Jesus says, is the equivalent to a new birth. Birth is the beginning of a new life–to be born again is to begin anew. And to be born from above is to begin anew through the power of the Holy Spirit who equips us live this new life. Otherwise, we would begin anew in our own flesh–striving against the wind–only to fail again. Flesh begets flesh, but the Spirit, hallelujah, begets the spirit.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice. (1 Peter 1:3-6)