Born Twice

Article written by Rev. Diane   

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.  He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply, Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8

          If you are reading this, you have experienced the first birth. In other words, you have been born of the flesh, in the natural way. But now the question is: Have you been born of the Spirit? Have you experienced the second birth? It is this, the second birth, which Jesus brings to Nicodemus’ attention in response to his inquiry in the above portion of scripture.

          In the words of Jesus: “… no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” i.e., born for a second time. But this birth is of the Spirit. The second birth is not achieved by way of intellect, it cannot be earned or purchased, nor is it birthed out of emotion, but instead is purely spiritual and is gained through faith. Just as only ‘flesh’ gives birth to ‘flesh’, only the ‘Spirit’ gives birth to ‘spirit’.

           The words ‘born again’ are often misunderstood to mean a system of belief or religion, to which one may become an adherent. This is incorrect. The words ‘born again’ do not reflect a religion, but rather an experience; a personal experience on a spiritual level.

           How tragic the consequence of ‘original’ sin that mankind lost the image of God, thus separating us from Him. What is needed spiritually is to regain that which we lost: the moral/spiritual likeness of God. By definition, the second birth is the impartation of ‘spirit’ life into the human heart by God, the Holy Spirit. The second birth is miraculous in origin, and according to Jesus is absolutely necessary in order to enter the kingdom of God.

           Flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God: a kingdom not of this world. God is spirit! To enter His kingdom one must enter via spiritual means. One must be born of the Spirit. It was this profoundly rich spiritual truth that Jesus conveyed to Nicodemus; a Pharisee and one of Israel’s teachers, who was searching for truth. It was to him that Jesus introduced the words, ‘born again’.

How Does One Experience The Second Birth?

[Terms synonymous with born again – born anew, born of the Spirit, second birth.]

          God reads the thoughts, motives, and intent of the human heart. He cannot be fooled. For one to experience the second birth, it will require a longing, searching heart; a heart desperate for God. God, who is all-knowing, discerns the difference between authentic, heart-driven searching and that of intellectual or emotional participation in the repetitive practices of religious ritual and tradition, which in reality, accomplish absolutely nothing of any eternal value.

          The second birth is of divine orchestration and happens in the heart!

          There is eternal purpose to the born-again experience. When one is born again by the Spirit of God, he/she is born anew into something! When you read carefully the following verses of scripture, you see clearly God’s divine plan of inheritance for those who are born of His Spirit, i.e., born again. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, ... “ 1 Pet 1:3, 4

          God is spirit and those of His kingdom must also be of the Spirit – His spirit. When born anew of the Spirit, we are born into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why through the resurrection of Jesus Christ? It is because He alone was raised from the dead by God. Jesus Christ is a living Saviour. One cannot be born anew into a dead Saviour. A dead Saviour is no saviour at all. Jesus died a sacrificial death on the cross to pay the penalty for the sin of humanity. He was buried in the tomb, but through His resurrection, He lives forevermore. It is because of Him, and through faith in Him that we are able to share in the ‘eternal’ life that He, Himself, possesses: eternal life that He secured through the resurrection. When born of the Spirit, we are born into the resurrected life of Jesus Christ and are saved.

          It is the function of the Holy Spirit to give birth, imparting spirit life. It is the function of Jesus Christ to save the lost, and this through the shedding of His blood and His resurrection. We are born again by the Spirit of God into the life of the risen Son of God. If one has not been born of the Spirit, he/she remains empty of the life of Christ and will therefore not have eternal life.

          Jesus Christ is not only the Saviour of the world, but He is the Christ: the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Son of the Most High God, and He is Lord.

The second birth -

          This life-changing miracle happens at the precise moment when, by faith, one reaches out to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, declaring one’s need of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

          Seek. Pray (talk to God). Repent of your sins and ask for forgiveness. Cry out to the living God with the longing of your heart; the longing to know Him. Make your confession of faith, proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to be the risen Saviour and Lord.

          Ask Him into your heart and life to be your Saviour and Lord!

 

Written by Rev. Diane

Good Question: What happened? Why do we need a Saviour?

Answer: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). God created man in His own image. Genesis 1:26, 27 says - vs26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” vs27 God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Humankind was created possessing the moral likeness of God - the moral attributes of Righteousness and Holiness. On the basis of this likeness, the ‘created’ was in right relationship with the ‘Creator’, the Almighty - man was enjoying fellowship with God.

In what can only be described as a disastrous turn of events, sin entered the world. How? Humankind sinned against God, and this through the act of disobeying God’s command. Through this one act of disobedience, sin (the sin nature) entered the human race. Humankind was now defiled - morally corrupt, losing the righteous image of God. Humankind was now in a lost state - spiritually separated from God.

Sin is like rust on a car. It spreads and destroys. God knows His world is full of sin. We have all sinned! It is for this reason that Christ came into the world. He came to save that which was lost - humankind. Humanity needed to be redeemed - rescued - saved from a destiny of eternal separation from God. So God, in His amazing love, provided humanity with an escape route! God sent a Saviour who would, through the sacrifice of His own life, pay the penalty for sin. It is when we accept what Jesus has done on our behalf and we put our faith in Him as Lord and Saviour, that we are then forgiven, spiritually awakened and re-connected to God - regaining a ‘right’ relationship with Him. God’s word promises that whoever has the Son has eternal life.

Good Question:  Who is this person named Jesus and what did He accomplish?

Answer: Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the living God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Through His sinless life, miracles, and teachings, Jesus revealed to us, God the Father and His kingdom.

As a substitutionary sin offering, Jesus freely sacrificed His life  - the Just for the unjust. He died on the cross and was then raised from the dead by God. He is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. He will come again at the 'end of the age' in righteousness and power.

The Godhead/Trinity: The Godhead is expressed in three persons: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. These three are One - possessing the same nature and moral attributes of righteousness and holiness.

God, the Father, orchestrated the plan of salvation. God, the Son, executed the plan of salvation. God, the Holy Spirit, reveals the plan of salvation to the human heart.

Good Question:  What was God’s plan?

Answer:  One sinless man would take upon himself the punishment for the sin of all mankind. The ‘plan maker’ was God. The one who would carry out the plan was His Son, Jesus Christ. The motive: Love. Jesus willingly gave Himself to be a sacrificial offering to pay for our sin. He was nailed to a cross and shed His blood on our behalf. He suffered the punishment that was due us. He died and went to the place of separation from God (Hell) and then was raised from the grave. When we put our faith in the living Saviour, Jesus Christ, we are granted forgiveness and have peace with God.

Good Question:  What does atonement mean?

Answer: Simply put, ‘atonement’ means that something has ‘made up for’ a suffered loss, offence, or wrongdoing; bringing peace to the situation. The peace that mankind is able to experience with God did not come about without great cost. It cost the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Mankind’s wrongdoing and offence against God were ‘made up for’ by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus, suffering the punishment that was due us, satisfied God’s divine justice and judgement. Jesus was raised from the grave! He is a living Saviour; One in whom we can trust.

Question: Why isn’t being 'good', good enough to get to Heaven?

Answer:  The answer is really quite simple. The definition of what it means to be a ‘good' person could vary from person to person. One person thinks this; another thinks that. One person’s concept of goodness may be considerably less good or quite different from another person's concept. The definition could also change from culture to culture. But even if the definition of what it means to be good, in both thought and deed, was held to be exactly the same among all peoples, the ability to be good all day, every day is impossible. We have all done wrong, and it is inevitable that we shall continue to do so! No one person is perfectly good all the time.

Given the nature of humanity, I can only imagine the wildly contentious disputes before God as to whose ‘goodness’ should be considered to be the best ‘goodness’ and this as an attempt to persuade God of one’s own worthiness to enter Heaven over and above another. The disputing alone would be cause enough for disqualification.

If goodness is to be properly evaluated there must be an established standard to which our perceived notion of goodness is measured.

God, who is absolutely fair and just, has provided a path of equal opportunity to all humanity to access His eternal kingdom of life, love, peace, and joy. In His wisdom, God devised a plan that would be completely independent of one’s own perceived sense of goodness or in this case the lack thereof. God devised a plan that would have nothing to do with how good we think we are, but His plan would have everything to do with how perfect Jesus is.

God is pleased to give everlasting life; however, the Creator knows the heart of the created. He knows that sinful humanity, by way of its own means, could never be good enough to enter Heaven. Heaven is a spiritual place; a holy and pure place where sin cannot abide. If one is to ever enter the spiritual realm of eternal life, one would need a spiritual means of entry. God determined that there would be but one way of entry, and this, by way of faith in the One He sent. This is a profoundly rich spiritual truth but is at the same time a truth easily accessible to all. Faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the way - faith in who He is and what He has done.

One perfect man died for the sin of all humanity, and in so doing, Jesus became our way to God the Father and eternal life - Heaven. Trust in what God has said - believe in His Son and follow Him!

When we wholeheartedly place our faith in Jesus Christ and ask God for His forgiveness, we are then granted the promise of eternal life.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5: 11, 12

 

Good Question:  So why all the attention on Jesus anyway?

Answer: Jesus’ mission and the purpose of His coming were of divine origin. His birth, life, death, and resurrection shook the world’s foundation. Through the resurrection of Jesus, God’s plan to provide eternal life for all who would believe was fully accomplished. Being born, living a life, and dying are no great feats. We will all do it! But never before, and not since the resurrection of Christ, has there been anyone raised from the grave to walk again among the living and then ascend into heaven. Jesus, who was victorious over death, offers everlasting life to all who put their faith in Him. He is a living Saviour.

Good Question:  If I believe in God but do not believe in Jesus, will I still have eternal life?

Answer: In short, no! Here’s why. God is abundantly clear in His word concerning the way to eternal life – Heaven. The bible says: if we reject God’s sacrifice for sin – Jesus - no other provision has been made by which humankind may be saved and enter eternal life. Jesus is the one who died the sacrificial death, and this, 'once for all'. Jesus, the Son of God, was raised from the dead, which makes Him a living Saviour. He is our passage to eternal life. We must have faith in Him and follow.

1 John 5:11, 12   And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

John 3:36   Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.

Acts 4:12   Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 14:6   Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Good question: What does being ‘saved’ mean?

Answer: Being ‘saved’ simply means that we have been rescued - 'saved' from the wrath of God and eternal punishment (eternal separation from God).

Good question:  How do I get ‘saved’ (receive salvation)?

Answer: First, let me tell you how you can’t get ‘saved’. Salvation is not attained by self-effort (trying to earn salvation through good works or deeds), church attendance, or the practice of man-made rituals. These things, in and of themselves, are absolutely powerless to attain salvation. Salvation is God's plan and will be accomplished His way!  It was God’s plan that Jesus, who was sinless, would die a sacrificial death, suffering the punishment that was due us. In so doing, the penalty for sin was paid, thus satisfying God’s divine justice and judgement. When we put our faith in the One whom God sent to redeem us, and accept Him as Lord and Saviour, believing in what He has done for us, we then receive forgiveness from God and are ‘saved’.

 

Salvation prayer video

Click on the video to pray along with Rev. Diane

Prayer to invite Jesus Christ into your life.

            The words to the following prayer are not magic. They will remain only ‘words’ unless they are coupled with faith and are spoken from the heart, confessing what you believe. Praying these words will then have the power to bring change to your life. Jesus is faithful. He will enter your heart.
Romans 10:8-10   But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Pray this prayer:

             “Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I know I need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that you sent Him into the world to die for my sin. I believe that He died on the cross, went to the grave, and then was raised from the dead. God, I am asking for forgiveness.

              Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and life and be my Lord and Saviour. Cleanse me from within and help me to live my life according to your ways. Amen.