This is a particular expression which appears in only one chapter of the Bible, but which is indicated in many places throughout the Scriptures. It is an expression which some Christians are uncomfortable using, and also one which is used too liberally.
Jn 3:1-11 You must be born again by the Spirit of God.
–two births: one, common to all human beings, of water/flesh/natural
one, necessary for eternal life, of the Spirit/spiritual/supernatural
–Without the Spirit of God/the Holy Spirit, no one can see nor enter the Kingdom of God
Lk 17:20-21; Jer 31:31-34 The Kingdom of God does not come [now] with observation; the Kingdom of God is within you [if you have a healthy conscious, but especially to those who are born-again].
The necessity of the new birth from above by the Holy Spirit is proof that all are sinners, and that we are born in sin (original sin). All are separated from God at birth: no one knows Him in any personal way. Yeshua says to all when He says to Nicodemus: You must be born again in order to see and to enter God’s Kingdom.
Nicodemus was a God-fearing religious man with much honor and respect in the community and nation. He was already one of God’s people and a leader in Israel. He knew the Law and the Prophets – or at least thought that he did: Jesus asked him why did he not understand these things about being born again if he was the teacher in Israel.
Some examples from the Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings:
—Adam: created ‘very good’. He did not recognize the absolute sovereignty of God: he disobeyed Him. (Only Jesus was a perfect man, who had no sin, knew no sin, did not sin.)
—Lev 12: the woman/mother who gave birth was reckoned unclean for a certain period of days, and had to offer a blood sacrifice to YHVH God, the Giver of children and life. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to do this.
—Ezek 36:25-29: YHVH says He will give His people a new heart and a new spirit – a heart of flesh instead of stone, and His Holy Spirit to give LIFE to the new-born, newly created person. New birth is being changed from within, in our very nature! You must be born again to see and enter the Kingdom of God.
—Ps 51:5 (7 Heb): Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. (This is not referring to David’s mother sinning in her relationship with his father!)
Some examples from the Gospels and the Epistles:
—Jn 1:10-12 to become a child of God is not of blood ( but of spirit), nor of the will of the flesh (not through sexual reproduction), nor of the will of man (not through good works, parental baptism of infants, keeping the law, or in other religiosity), but of God (only God can give the second birth to anyone: it is a gift of God’s grace through faith Eph 2:8)
—Eph 2:1 we all [as unsaved people] were dead in trespasses and sins
—2Cor 5:12-17 Christ died for all; all died in Him; in Adam (the first birth) all die; in Christ (the new birth) all are made alive, a new creation, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again!
Does this characterize your life now? Peter says we have been born-again to a living hope (1Pt 1:3). Do you have such assurance and a living faith and hope in the salvation from sin which Jesus accomplished for you in His death on the cross?
Do you have a loving expectation of Jesus personally coming again as He promised?
Jesus said to Nicodemus (and to us in Jn 3:8), “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.”
Just as the wind moves mysteriously and invisibly, but we see its effects, so does God act in mysterious and wondrous ways to give the new birth to those who repent and believe the gospel (which no infant can do, by the way). Those who are born-again have a story to tell of the wonderful Savior. Do you have a story?
If you are unsure, or lack that inner peace, as to whether you have been born-again, then it may be an indication that you have not. In Lk 11:13 Jesus Himself encourages you to ask the Heavenly Father to give the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the one who says to all, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”