Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John. 3:3, 6-7.
The secret is out. The plan has been revealed. The way has been opened. Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), has shown the path of life to mankind. If we would enter the kingdom of God now and enjoy it through eternity in heaven, we must be born again.
But there seems to be much confusion over this issue in our day, in spite of the plain words of the Lord. Some think to gain heaven in ways of their own devising, while others think they are born again, when they are not. Let us lift the veil of misunderstanding forever from the issue, that hypocrites may be without a cloak for their sin, and those seeking to please God may receive a Bible experience.
First, let us consider what Jesus did not say:
He did not say, Ye must be moral. No. Morality is not enough. We cannot commend our own self-righteousness to God. He alone is the author of salvation. He alone can save. To such a class of moral people Jesus said, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men: but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15. The words of the Hebrew prophet are applicable to the moralist today: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isa. 64:6.
He did not say, Ye must be religious. Obviously not. Religion is not enough. Head knowledge means nothing. Hear the words of James (2:19): Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. What more do you have, O religionist, than these devils? Nay, they have quite an advantage over you, for your belief in God supposedly rests upon faith, but theirs upon sight. They believe in and fear God. So we see that mere religion profits you nothing.
Now, let us consider what Jesus did say. Ye must be born again. You must be. You have to be, or you cannot enter the kingdom of God here and above. There is no other way.
Jesus is not speaking about a literal birth, but a spiritual. Every man stands in need of a spiritual birth, or regeneration, because all are dead in trespasses and sins. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23. Wherefore as by one man sin into entered the world, and [spiritual] death by sin; and so [spiritual] death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Rom. 5:12. To be born again is to be changed from this dead spiritual state, to be quickened or made alive (Eph. 2:1), to awake to righteousness, and sin not (1 Cor. 15:34).
This new birth cannot be accomplished by the human will alone. It takes the will, working, and power of God to recreate the soul in righteousness. It takes more than a head knowledge or mere belief in Jesus Christ. It requires an active faith and reception of Him. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12, 13. It takes repentance, a forsaking of all sin, and obedience to the command of Jesus, Go, and sin no more (John 8:11).
False teachers are busy telling unwary souls today that Christians cannot help but sin more or less everyday. That is a base falsehood and contrary to the Word of God. The truly regenerated soul does not sin, but lives above it by the grace of God.
When a soul is born again, the seed of righteousness is planted within the heart, and it makes it impossible for them to sin and retain the regenerated experience. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John 3:9. Therefore, whosoever sins needs to be born again.
One may say, Not so. It is only human to sin. We cannot help but fall once in awhile. Poor, blinded soul! The purpose of the new birth is to make you a new creature, one on which sin and temptation have no power. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor. 5:17.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Pet. 1:23. You cannot claim a born again experience that does not measure to the Word of God, since it is through meeting the conditions of His Word that the experience is obtained.
Being born again involves more than just ceasing from the outward manifestations of sin, such as cursing, lying, drinking, fornication, adultery, etc. It isn’t merely a reformation. It is a transformation wrought in the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost. Any person can reform themselves, but it takes a divine work of grace to regenerate the soul. This salvation does such a thorough work in the heart.
E. E. Byrum explained the new birth this way: It is as radical a change as is the natural birth of an infant.
How is it with your soul today? Have you experienced the radical change of the new birth? If there is a doubt, you can settle it today.
Are you still sinning? If so, you are a child, not of God, but of the devil. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil I John 3:8, 10. You are in need of the new birth.
Regardless of your religious profession, Jesus says to you, Ye must be born again. We beg you in God’s name to get a Bible experience, cease from sin, and enjoy the wonderful light and peace of regeneration.