“Ye Must Be Born Again”
Here is A Personal Word - “Ye.” Perhaps you are a very moral, religious person, well instructed in doctrinal truth. So was Nicodemus. He was a well respected religious leader, a Pharisee, and a ruler among the Jews. This was a man of highest rank in the Jewish church. But he was dead. He was without life before God. He was totally ignorant of all things spiritual. He was a lost man. If you are yet without life toward God, this word from God is for you - “You must be born again.”
Here is A Pressing Word - “Must.” This is imperative. This is vital. “You must be born again!” Otherwise, you will perish in your sins. You will die under the wrath of God! Hell will be your portion forever!
Here is A Passive Word - “Be.” The new birth is not something you do. It is something God does for you. A man has no more to do with his spiritual birth than he does with his natural birth. In this matter of regeneration man is passive. He has nothing to do with it (John 1:12-13). You cannot be born again by something you do (Tit. 3:4-6). Sinners are not born again by moral reformation, by baptism, or even by faith. Faith in Christ is not the cause of the new birth, but the result. We believe according to the working of God’s mighty power, by the operation of his grace (Eph. 1:19; 2:8; Col. 2:11-12). The new birth is something done to you, for you, and in you by God’s sovereign, irresistible grace. It is not something you do. “You must BE born again!”
Here is A Powerful Word - “Born.” When our Lord declares, “Ye must be born again,” he is saying you must be the object and recipient of Divine power. Just as God created the world, God must create life in your soul. Just as God breathed into Adam and made him a living soul, so God must breathe into you the breath of life by his Spirit, or you will perish in your sins. You are spiritually dead, helplessly lost by nature. Your only hope is that God the Holy Spirit will give you life. “You must be born again!”
Here is A Profound Word - “Again.” The new birth is a mystery of grace. It cannot be explained, nor can it be fully understood. It is a work of God beyond our comprehension. When our Lord says, “Ye must be born again,” his meaning is twofold. The word “again” has two meanings. First, it means, “You must be born from above.” James tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Then he tells us what he is teaching in the next verse. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:17-18). Second, it means, “You must be born a second time.” Your first birth was of sinful parents, and you were born in their image. The second birth is of God; and we are born in his image. The first birth was of corruptible seed. The second birth is of incorruptible seed. Our first birth is in sin. Our second birth is in righteousness. By our first birth we were polluted and unclean. By our second birth we become holy. Our first birth was fleshly and carnal. Our second birth is spiritual and makes us spiritual. By the first birth all men are foolish and ignorant. By our second birth we become wise unto salvation. By our first birth we were slaves to sin and the lusts of the flesh. By our second birth we are made free from the dominion of sin. By our first birth we are all children of wrath. By our second birth we are children of promise. Our Lord says, “Ye must be born again,” because we were all born wrong the first time.