Ye must be born again

John 3:7


I want you to understand what the new birth is and how it is accomplished. More importantly, I pray that you will be born again. May God be pleased to make it so for Christ’s sake.


            The religious world around us, in its apostate rejection of the truth of God, has made the new birth to be nothing more than making a decision, walking an aisle, saying a prayer, attaining knowledge, or accepting a principle. Let me begin by telling you that no one has ever been or ever can be born again by any of those things. Our Lord’s admonition to Nicodemus still stands. It is just as necessary and urgent today as it was when it was first stated by the Son of God two thousand years ago. — “Ye must be born again!” Listen to these five words, and ask God to give you wisdom and grace to understand what they mean.


A Personal Word


Here is a personal word — “Ye.” This message is for you. Perhaps you are very moral. You may be very religious. You may even be very well instructed in doctrinal truth. So was Nicodemus. He was a well-respected religious leader, a Pharisee, and a ruler among the Jews. Nicodemus was a teacher who taught the teachers. He was a preacher, but more. Nicodemus was a preacher who taught preachers. He was a theologian. 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. My friend, if you are yet without life toward God, this message is to you. I have this word from God for you. — “You must be born again.”


A Pressing Word


Here is a pressing word — “Must.” “Time is short.” “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” This is not a good recommendation. This is not wholesome advice. This is imperative. This is vital. This is a necessity. “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!


A Passive Word


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 save yourself. You cannot give yourself life. You cannot be born again by something you do, something you learn, something you know, or something you say (Tit. 3:4-6). Moral reformation will never make you a new creature. Baptism cannot transform an infidel into a Christian. Religious devotion cannot change your nature. Your imaginary free will cannot raise you from death to life! The new birth is God’s work! Not even faith in Christ can accomplish the new birth. 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!”


A Powerful Word


Here is a powerful word — “Born.” The new birth is a gift; but it is not just any ordinary gift. It is the gift of life, eternal life. 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, that he will create a new, spiritual, righteous, and holy nature in you by his omnipotent grace. “You must be born again!”


A Profound Word


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.