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You Must be Born Again

"You must be born again." Perhaps you have heard this before. Obviously, everyone reading this has been born once and we expect to die (Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes). It would seem that death is certain. If we are born again - born twice - does that mean we must also die twice?

Births, Deaths and Resurrections

Birth, death and resurrection is something that (nearly) all will experience, in some cases, more than once. Some people are confused by talk of a second birth or a second death.

This is part one in a series of five parts looking at births, deaths and resurrections and how they fit into each person's experience. The focus is on the number of times that different people or groups of people are born, die or are resurrected.

Here is a chart that shows the experiences of these events for different major groups:

You must be born again

Note (in the diagram above) that the saved are born twice and die once, while the lost are born once and die twice.


Born of the Spirit

Jesus was born of the Spirit; He had the Holy Spirit from birth as John the Baptist did:

"For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he [John the Baptist] shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb." (Luke 1:15)

We can also be born of the Spirit by a conscious decision:

"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." (John 3:3)

For us, this is a second birth. Jesus defines and points out the importance of the second birth:

"Jesus answered, 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." (John 3:5)

Although we don't start out that way from birth, we can, by our conscious choice, have the presence of the Spirit dwelling in us.

This second birth is also connected in scripture to a death and resurrection by which we identify with our Saviour:

"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 [rebirth]. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" (Rom 6:4-5)

"How can a man be born when he is old?"

Nicodemus marvelled at the statement "you must be born again" and in John 3:4 he asked how that could happen. Scripture tells us that we are born again by the word:

"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Pet 1:23)

This "word" is both:

the written word of God (1 Tim 3:16, Rom 10:17)     and the living word of God (John 1:1)

Notice that the presence of the Spirit is connected with obedience:

"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him." (Acts 5:32)

Do not be afraid of that command - "you must be born again" - it is the way into a correct relationship with the God of creation who wants to give us every good thing including eternal life. He wants to save us from the second death the topic for part 2 in this series.

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