An evening encounter with God
One evening, a man came up to Jesus to speak with Him. He was a religious man; a leader of the people with burning issues on his mind. He acknowledged that Jesus was sent by God and he recognized the greatness of His work. Then Jesus looked at him and answered his unspoken question. Jesus stated that to enter the kingdom of God, “You must be born again.”
Picture the look of stunned surprise on the man’s face. He was a pious man, possibly a good man. He received no accolades, no encouragement whatsoever to continue with his good works which would guarantee his requisite place in the kingdom. Rather, he was confronted with a condition which he obviously failed to meet as he did not even understand it. He was at a loss as to what this could mean, ‘A grown man return to his mother’s womb?’ he asked, ‘No, certainly not.’
Jesus proceeded to explain to him the two births that a human must experience to enter the kingdom of God. In so doing, He forever altered our perception of God’s relationship with humans. He gave the keys that after His death and resurrection will usher multitudes into the new era, the era of God with man; the era of salvation. What exactly did He say?
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We are born twice?
He said that ‘what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit’ and that Nicodemus should absolutely not be surprised at what He said. So there are two births? Yes, and we need both. First, the birth by which we gained physical entrance into this natural world. That is what Jesus called being born of the flesh. Then there is the second birth by which we gain spiritual entrance into the supernatural world of God. Jesus called it being born of the Spirit. That is the new birth experience. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and it is indispensable for salvation.
“I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit” (John 3.5).
Jesus marveled at Nicodemus because he was a leader of the people and did not understand these things. We want to understand these things. A good understanding of what happened to you when you were born again will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life in Christ.
What exactly happened to you?
The new birth is a spiritual birth; it is the life of God communicated to a person through the Holy Spirit. Why do we need the life of God? Because since the Fall, all humans are dead in sin. Jesus came to the earth, to pay the price for sin, so that all can be forgiven when they come to Him in faith. There are a number of things that happen in us at that point. One of them is that the spiritual death is removed and we come alive. The Holy Spirit makes our spir
it alive, and it is no longer separated from God because of sin. It becomes inhabited by the Spirit of God. Thus, our spirit is born again.
You may say, ‘If it is so vital for me, I want to be sure that I have received it.’ Let us listen to the Scriptures to see how one receives it. One of the closest disciples of Jesus when
He was on earth was the apostle John. He wrote, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, some of the most profound things about Jesus you will ever find. He wrote,
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5.1a)
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20.31).
Do you see the extraordinary goodness and wisdom of God? John 14.6 is yet another confirmation that the Holy Spirit gives you spiritual birth when you believe that Jesus is the One sent by God to save mankind, when you believe that He is the Son of God.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.”
We echo Peter’s confession of faith when he said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’. So it is by faith in Jesus alone that we are born again. That life is what every man needs, what every man can receive to enter the kingdom of God. That, in a nutshell, is the new birth. That is how we are born of God.Why do we need the life of God? Click To Tweet
Born of God
Now, you see that when you believed and prayed to receive Jesus, repenting of your past sins and committing to serve Him with your spirit, soul and body, that is what happened to you. You are now born of God. You are no longer ‘dead in your sins’. Your outward appearance may be the same, but make no mistake, you are what the Bible calls a new creation.
Book calls ‘a new creation’. Remember, this is not about outward form, even though you will engage in seemingly religious activities like Bible reading, prayer, evangelism, etc. Rather, it is a giving of life, a supernatural transaction in the spirit realm. It is the act of salvation. What has happened to you? You are saved.
This article is an extract from the book Reborn, A New Identity. Find out more here.
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