When a mother conceives and eventually gives birth, the child that is released from the Mother’s womb experiences life in this world for the first time. However, it isn’t just an ordinary life, but it is a life that is brand new. Each child that is born comes into the world as a new participant in many of the options that life has made available. The birth of a child is a joyous moment for many because it represents a new beginning.
However, in addition to a physical birth that you and I have experienced when we were born, there is a birthing experience that takes place in the spiritual sense. This is called, being “born again.” What does mean to be born again mean? In John chapter 3, Jesus is speaking to a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus. Jesus has a dialog with Nicodemus in which He teaches him the concept of “being born again.”
John 3: 1-6 says:
“Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are 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.”
In this passage, Nicodemus pondered the very idea of being born again. It was a concept that he did not understand, but Jesus makes it clear that a human cannot be reborn in the physical sense. To be born again means to experience a spiritual rebirth. He goes on to use the phrase “being born of the water and the spirit”. Before examining what being born again means, we must first understand a key point which ties into the need for salvation or a spiritual rebirth.
When Adam & Even sinned in the Garden of Eden, their actions produced the element of sin and sinful nature. After the fall of man in Genesis 1, sin was not only introduced into the world, but every human became a by-product of the original action of sin. Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” The songwriter David, says in this verse that he is born into sin and he was shaped in iniquity. Even in Psalm 58:3, David says that the wicked are born “estranged” from the womb, or born from their mother’s womb. He also says in the verse, that they go astray after birth, speaking lies. This is because of the sinful nature that resides within us. We are all born into sin because of the original disobedience of Adam & Eve.
With sin being our original state after birth, there is then a need for salvation or as Jesus said, “being born again”. The spiritual re-birthing according to Jesus requires that we be born of water and the spirit. What does He mean? First, water in this context means the “washing by God’s word.” In Ephesians 5: 25-26, the Apostle Paul is giving instructions to husbands concerning their wives.
He says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,” When Paul says, the phrase, “Washing with the water through the word” he is referring to the cleansing power of God’s word. God’s word is powerful and has the ability to cleanse us through conviction and even instruction. The Bible provides each believer and even nonbeliever with an opportunity to receive healing, direction, and a better way of living. It is through the institution of God’s word into our lives, that we are able to avoid the sin that separates us from God.
Secondly, Jesus says to Nicodemus that we must be born of the Spirit. Being born of the Spirit involves accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. This then allows the Holy Spirit to take residence in our lives, which means that upon salvation we are then born of the Spirit.
Titus 3: 3-7 says,
“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.”
The Apostle Paul gives descriptions in this scripture of what behaviors and sinful activity he himself and others he was speaking to, exhibited before receiving Christ. Basically, if you are not in Christ, then you are subject to your sinful nature. However, after you receive Christ as your savior, you are then reborn in the Spirit which is through the residence of the Holy Spirit. Essentially, to be reborn there must be a conversion from death which is from your sinful nature to life which is through Christ and the Holy Spirit.
So, Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross gives every person an opportunity to be reborn spiritually. While you and I are born into this world through the flesh, we can be reborn in the Spirit because as Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Spirit gives birth to the Spirit”. This means, you can be reborn through the Holy Spirit once you accept Christ. The great thing about being reborn is that you are no longer a slave to your sin. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. This means, that your sin, and the burden of the guilt that you carry is no more.
All of us have an opportunity to be born again which means that through Christ we can be made new. As long as we remain in our sinful nature, then we will produce the fruit of which we were born which is corruption. However, once we have accepted Christ and are living life by the Spirit, then our behaviors and our heart begins to change. The best way to live and to have a life that is full of abundance is to do so after being born again. It is a life that brings joy, satisfaction, and ultimately you are no longer bound to the sin that you were born into.