Why must we be born again?
“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. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of 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. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:3-7)
In order for God to save a sinner two things must be done. God must do something for you and do something in you. Redemption is the work of God for sinners. Regeneration is the work of God in sinners. Both are the works of God. Man has nothing more to do with regeneration than he has to do with redemption. — “Salvation is of the Lord!”
“Not all the outward forms on earth, Nor rites that God has given,
Nor will of man, nor blood, nor birth, Can raise a soul to heaven.
The sovereign will of God alone Creates us heirs of grace;
Born in the image of His Son, A new peculiar race.”
Perhaps you ask, “Why must we be born again?” Though many answers to that question may be found in the Word of God, the Lord Jesus gave Nicodemus three reasons why he must be born again. These three things make it imperative that you and I must also be born again.
1. Unless we are born again we cannot understand anything spiritual.
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). — All natural men are totally void of spiritual understanding. You may be a logical, reasonable, rational, and well educated person among men, but with regard to the things of God, you are as ignorant, foolish, and unreasonable as a madman, until you are born again. You have no capacity for spiritual knowledge. — “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit…But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (Romans 8:5; 1 Corinthians 2:14). The heart of stone is hard, cold, unbending, unaffected. Until you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. You cannot understand anything spiritual.
· You cannot see the spiritual nature of God’s law (Matthew 5:21, 27, 38, 43, 48).
· You cannot see the spiritual nature of sin (Matt. 15:17-19).
· You cannot see the glory of God in redemption (Romans 3:24-26).
· You cannot see the condition of your own heart (Jeremiah 17:9).
· You cannot see the spiritual nature of salvation. Salvation and faith in Christ are matters of the heart; but until God gives you a new heart, you cannot see it (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
· You cannot see that obedience to Christ is a spiritual thing, involving the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Romans 14:17). Human religion is carnal. It has to do with carnal things!
· You cannot see the spiritual nature of faith and worship (Philippians 3:3).
· You cannot see the true character of God (Exodus 33:18-34:7).
· You cannot see the glory of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
· You cannot see the glory of Christ’s suretyship engagements (Hebrews 7:22).
· You cannot see the blessed mystery of our Savior’s incarnation (1 Timothy 3:16).
· You cannot see the wonder, majesty, and efficacy of Christ’s substitutionary atonement (2 Corinthians 5:21).
· You cannot see the glory of his ascension and exaltation (Romans 14:9).
· You cannot see the gospel of the grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
2. Unless you are born again by almighty grace you can never enter into the kingdom of God.
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (v. 5). — You can reform your life without the new birth. You can be baptized without the new birth. You can join the church, be zealous in religion, teach a Bible class, serve as a deacon or elder, you can even preach with great success without being born again. But unless you are born again, you will never enter the kingdom of God. Until you are born again, you will never be a part of the church and family of God. Until you are born again, you will never have eternal life. Until you are born again, you will never enter into the worship and fellowship of God’s saints. Until you are born again, you will never be admitted into the presence of God’s glory in the bliss of heaven. Only new creatures will enter the new Jerusalem. Only holy men and women will walk into the Holy City. Only heaven born citizens will possess the bliss of heaven (Revelation 20:6; 21:27).
3. We “must be born again” because by nature we are all fallen, sinful, depraved children of human flesh.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). — We must be born again, because we were all born wrong the first time. The flesh is our natural, sinful self (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Romans 5:12; Revelation 20:11-15). All flesh is defiled. All flesh is corrupt. All flesh is sinful. All flesh is condemned. All flesh must die. Unless you are born of the Spirit, you will die in your sins, and you shall be justly damned. May God be pleased this day to grant that you may be born again, for Christ’s sake.
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