Following the discussions in press and on Internet, I have noticed that there is much confusion with regards to the understanding of the concept and teaching about new birth. Some think it as a term that is alien to the Bible, others consider that it is only a figure of speech used in the Bible, and others, that claim to know the Bible “profoundly”, had the boldness to anounce arrogantly that the term “born again Christians” is a sect or a heresy. So, how you see, there are many discussions and contradictory opinions that need a clearing up. The subjects needs an approaching and especially because it has a direct dealing with the eternal life of every man.
The subject of the new birth is approached at large in the New Testament and God spoke about it through the writings of the apostles John, Paul, Peter and also, the Epistle of James approaches this concept. The length of the biblical passages makes me come with more articles on this subject later.
In this first article, I propose to you an analysis of the text from the Gospel of John, when Jesus Christ presented what means to be born again, namely:
1. The new birth is a fundamental condition to enter the Kingdom of God.
Apostle John relates that
Now 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 have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:1–2)(NASB)
Even if he was part of a party of hypocritical people that pretended they knew God, Nicodemus was a sincere man, who wanted to enherit the Kingdom of Heavens and that was the reason that made him go to Jesus, to learn how to go to God from a teacher who came from God.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)(NASB)
The statement is categorical and it has to be taken into account. Necodemus took it seriously and insisted to understand till the end, asking practical questions to realize the new birth in his life and he asked:
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4)(NASB)
The answer of Jesus to this question presents to us an important truth about the new birth.
2. The new birth is a spiritual matter, it takes place in one’s spirit and it is different from one’s biological birth.
Jesus answered to Necodemus’ question so:
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and 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. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:5–7)(NASB)
And because not all things from the spiritual world can be seen by man’s eyes or perceived with those 5 senses, the Lord Jesus anticipated Necodemus’ question, how you can know about a man if he is or is not born again.
3. The new birth shows itself by a total transformation of the behavior and living of the person who has experienced it.
Going on, the Lord Jesus presented this truth to Necodemus, using the following comparison:
The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)(NASB)
People that are around us, our relatives, our friends, those who had known a person before the new birth, recognize a total transformation in that person, even if they cannot see with their physical eyes that this came from God and that it brings that person into the kingdom of God. The new birth can bring transformation that no man can realize. Once, going to the Biblical Institute with other Christians, I offered myself to drive a teacher from the school where I studied in my childhood and she was waiting on the margin of the road to go to the same direction. We discussed many subjects with her and so we started to talk about drug–addicts, thieves, immoral people and about people that bring many sufferings to their families and to the whole society and that these sins spread very quickly. While we were discussing, I told her about the new birth and that through it people can be set free from any of these sins and she said that she didn’t believe that a drug-addict could be save. Right then, I presented to her two of my friends, believers, born again people; both of them had been drug-addicts before, and one of them had even sold drugs. Their families and their health had been destroyed, and only when they believed truly in Jesus Christ and they were born again, they were set free from all their sins that had enslaved them once, so that then they might live a victorious and beautiful life with the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the new birth, God has set this people free from the most perverse manifestations of immorality. In the first Epistle to Corinthians apostle Paul writes:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (men who prostitute themselves), nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)(NASB)
When Necodemus heard these words about the new birth, he asked the Lord Jesus: “How can these things be?” If you are a sincere man that search to know God and be a part of His Kingdom, surely you ask the same question. In the next article I will come with the answer to this question and we will see how a man can experience the new birth. May God bless you!
Translated by Djugostran Felicia