Born Again

John 3:1-2 “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.’”  Nicodemus was a very important man in the Jewish community.  It says he was a ruler which probably means that he was a member of the ruling Sanhedrin Council.  He probably came to Jesus by night because he didn’t want it known that he had met with Jesus.  He confessed that Jesus had to be from God because God was the only source of power that could produce the miracles that Jesus did.  He was being very honest with Jesus and probably wanted to find out more about Him. Jesus responds with a very important truth.  John 3:3-4 “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?’” I can imagine that Nicodemus was totally astounded by Jesus’ statement.  If he wanted to know more about Jesus, this was leading in a very strange direction.  What could it possible mean to be born again?  In normal childbirth, a baby comes from the mother’s womb.  Does a grown man have to go back inside his mother’s womb to be born again?

Jesus goes on to provide an explanation.  John 3:5-8 “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’” All the early Christian writers understood being born of water to refer to baptism.  But it is not just being born of water; it is also a requirement to be born of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God.  We are to have a new spirit.  Just as one can see the evidence of the wind when it blows, even so, one can see the result of being born of the Spirit in the new life of the believer. “You must be born again.” That implies a significant change and newness. Peter writes about being born again in 1 Peter 1:22-23 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” The word of God is the spiritual seed that results in a new spiritual birth.

There are multiple scriptures which address this newness that results in a true believer.  2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Here the writer calls us a new creation and all things have become new. I understand this to imply both that the past sins are forgiven and also that there is a new spiritual nature.  The scriptures also talk about a death to the old life.  Romans 6:1-4 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” We are to die to the old and walk in newness of life.

We are instructed to put to death our members of the earth and put on the new person. Colossians 3:5-10 “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.  But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” Also, Ephesians 4:22-24 “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Both of these scriptures instruct us to put on the new man.  The old is gone, the new emerges.  We are told to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Our minds before we were Christians were concerning the flesh and for pleasing ourselves.  Now the renewed mind causes us to be transformed to desire to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God.

Finally, I think it is good to see ourselves as having Christ living in us.  Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

As Christians, we must have been born again of the Spirit.  We die to the old sinful nature.  We walk in newness of life.  We put off the old nature and put on the new nature.  The result should be Christ living in us and us living by faith in the Son of God.

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