The Born Again Experience

By Pastor Joyce Edwards

Verily, verity, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

SOME YEARS AGO, an elderly woman attended one of our evening services, and at the end of the service she came forward to give her life to the Lord. After she repented and confessed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Pastor prayed and lead her in a prayer and told the woman she was saved. Then the woman requested to be baptized, but she was asked to return on a certain day indicating someone would be able to baptize her at that time.

Well, this woman replied stating she was 72 years old and had served the devil all her life and whatever years she had left, she intended to spend them serving the Lord God. Then she told the Pastor she was not leaving the church until someone baptized her that evening since she did not know whether she might die on her way home. The woman was adamant regarding her conviction concerning dying without having been water baptized by immersion. This woman’s persistence and determination to be baptized gave a more sagacious meaning to baptism for many that were present that evening.

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, a member of the Sanhedrin Council and a Pharisee so he was well schooled in the Word of God and Jewish history. But Nicodemus had encountered the Lord Jesus and knew there was more to salvation than what he had understood it to be. Nicodemus was aware that Abraham had been saved by grace through faith as were other Old Covenant patriarchs, but he believed there was something more with the coming of the Messiah. So Nicodemus sought Jesus one evening with the express purpose of finding out what was required for one to inherit eternal life.

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. Not fully comprehending the essence of the Lord’s words, Nicodemus asked: how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Now remember, this dialogue is between a religious leader and the Lord Jesus Christ, and Nicodemus had just witnessed the Lord turning water into wine and knew no man could perform the miracles Jesus had performed without God being with Him.

When one considers that nothing is impossible for God, Nicodemus’ question was not that peculiar. After all, Nicodemus was familiar with Isaiah 7:14 which proclaimed: therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel; and Nicodemus had observed the fulfillment of this prophecy. Having witnessed the fulfillment of this supernatural happening, Nicodemus questioned the possibility of a man going back into his mother’s womb knowing nothing shall be impossible for God. Anyhow, Jesus responded with a redress of His previous response, saying: 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.

Notice that Jesus said: except (or unless) a man be born of water…, then Jesus said: 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. Jesus went on to say: the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said to Jesus, how can these things be? Jesus made it quite plain that in order to enter into the kingdom of God, we must be born again. It’s not a natural rebirthing such as Nicodemus inquired about. We cannot enter into our mother’s womb and be reborn because the second state of the man would be no better than the first. The birth Jesus is ascribing to is regeneration or the born again experience. (John 3:1-8; Romans 4:1-8; Galatians 3:6; Ephesians 2:8)

In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam saying: of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surly die. Now the serpent, Satan the devil, deceived them into eating of the forbidden tree and they died—they died spiritually. We know they died spiritually because when God sought them, they hid from God. Sin causes a separation between man and God. In any event, since the wages of sin is death (disobedience is sin), ultimately Adam and Eve also suffered physical death. But the most significant death is spiritual death which is the condition every person inherits with natural birth. Natural birth signifies we are born fleshly, apart from God. Accordingly, we are all born spiritually dead and in desperate need of being born again, or experiencing regeneration. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:6-7; John 3:3-5; Romans 3:23; 6:23)

To be born again we must first repent. The first recorded words of the Lord Jesus when His earthly ministry began were: Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repentance is the precursor to salvation, and repentance means we are ready to walk away from the life we’ve been living in exchange for a life lived in Christ. Because it does not speak to our need to repent, Romans 10:9-10 should not be used as the invitation to salvation. Romans 10 is a discourse to Jews who believed salvation was by works of the Law, and the Apostle Paul was attempting to explain that salvation is by grace through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. These were repented Jews who believed in the Lord Jesus, but were persuaded that salvation was hinged upon the Law. Nevertheless, once we repent, we should be baptized which is what our Lord meant by saying, except a man be born of water.

The Apostle Paul presents an explanation of this process declaring these words: know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Baptism symbolizes us dying to our old life and being born to a new life in Christ. Finally, we must be born of the Spirit meaning the Holy Spirit indwells all born again believers which results in us being made spiritually alive; and these processes comprise the born again experience, or regeneration. (Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-6)

Just like the woman that insisted on being baptized, the believers in Corinth believed baptism was so crucial to our salvation until they were vicariously baptized for people who had died without that experience (1 Corinthians 15:29). This was a practice the Apostle Paul condemned; however, the Apostle Paul reiterated the relationship between baptism and salvation saying: now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Although no one can be baptized for another person and neither can we confess faith in the Lord Jesus for someone else, it is essential for every believer to be baptized.

In the Great Commission the Lord gave us at Matthew 28:19, He said: go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Baptism is an integral part of salvation and we should be ever mindful of the words of our Lord in John 3:5 where He admonishes us in this wise: 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.

Then the Apostle Paul restated this truth at 1 Corinthians 15:50 saying: now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. When we respond to altar calls and are advised that we are saved, we need to ask about baptism. Jesus Himself was baptized by immersion (see Matthew 3:16-17), and as previously stated, immersion is symbolic of dying to self and being raised to newness of life; a life lived for Christ.

To understand this new life in Christ, we need to call upon the Apostle Paul who presents this discourse on newness of life: . . . that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

The fullness of this newness of life may not occur immediately, but you should begin to see changes in how you go about living your life. If changes do not begin to occur in your life, question the sincerity of your heart. No man can serve two masters. We cannot serve God and sin. (Matthew 6:24; 15:8; Romans 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:23-32)

In its most simplistic expression, being born again denotes a change. When Jesus says: ye must be born again; He is telling us there must be an inward change that can be witnessed by an outward manifestation. In most instances, a person has come to the place where he is sick and tired of the life he has been living before coming to the altar. And that’s the perfect mindset; yet, Christ invites us to come just the way we are, and He will perfect the change(s) within us.

At the onset of nearly every altar call Billy Graham ever gave, the hymn “Just as I am” was played or sang suggesting we can come just the way we are. There’s no need to wait until ‘we get it together’ because we cannot ‘get it together’; we need the Lord Jesus Christ to do that for us. God bless you, and may you open the door of your heart and invite the Lord Jesus to enter in, today. Then be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which is the born again experience.

Remember: JESUS is the reason for the season!!

One Response to “The Born Again Experience”

  1. m.prasanna kumar Says:

    please carify

    what is water baptism

    what is spirutual baptsim
    both are required or any one enough

    m.prasanna kumar

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