“…having been born again,
not of corruptible seed but incorruptible,
through the word of God
which lives and abides forever”
I Peter 1:23 NKJV
In the previous post we looked at who the “natural man” is according to God’s Word. There is another category of person who the Bible says is regenerated, or born again. The Gospel of John Chapter three is one of the clearest explanations in the Bible of what the new birth is. Here is an interesting dialogue between Jesus and a learned Pharisee named Nicodemus who wanted to know more about Jesus’ teaching:
Jesus answered and said to [Nicodemus], “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?”
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.”
“Nicodemus answered and said unto him, ‘How can these things be?’”
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?’” John 3:3-10 NKJV
Jesus expressed amazement that a learned Pharisee and teacher of the Scripture like Nicodemus did not understand the new birth. One of several Old Testament passages he would know:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Spiritual regeneration is the marked difference between the spiritual man and the natural man. The change in the natural person is an inner, spiritual transformation that can only be done by the Spirit of God. God changes the sinner’s natural, spiritually dead heart (a “heart of stone”) of the first birth into an new, spiritually alive heart (a “heart of flesh”) of the second birth.
People say, “You have to have faith!” without saying what it is we’re supposed to have faith in. The content of faith is critical. Faith is belief or trust in something or someone. The dialog between Jesus and Nicodemus continues with this explanation by the Apostle John about salvation by faith:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Eternal life is the result of the new birth to those who, by faith, are, “…born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).