“having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”
having been born again
Jesus Himself gave a long explanation of this subject in John 3. His theme was, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Why must this be? There is a great gulf between people and God. Jesus challenged a theological professor by the name of Nicodemus that even he required spiritual birth.
Notice that this passage says we have been born again. We are not trying to be born again. This is a past experience for those born twice. This event must take place in our lives before we die, or we will not go to heaven (John 1:12,13; 3:3-7).
Man is the product of what he is – a sinner.
Man cannot ignore the fact of sin. Man is the product of what he is – a sinner. The cause of the sin problem must be changed, not the effect. The effect is that man sins. A man may reform himself and eliminate a few sins, but this will not satisfy the holy demands of God. Other sins will crop up in his life.
The cause of the problem is man’s nature; therefore, the man himself must be changed. We cannot change our disposition without changing our nature. For our nature to be changed, we must be born again. Man cannot change what he is. He may switch behavior patterns, but his nature remains the same. Only God can make him a new man.
If you have never been born twice, you cannot go to heaven. Even with your good record or religion, God will bar you from the gates of heaven. Heaven is a place for those born twice, once physically and the second time spiritually.
A person is born again when he believes in Christ,
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1)
This is not social, religious, moral, or intellectual change. This is a spiritual rebirth, a radical new beginning of the soul, mind, and character.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5)
Generation is one birth; regeneration is two births. This is more than reformation. The old illustration of a clean pig returning to the mud at the first opportunity applies here. Many may clean up their lives, but their basic nature will determine the tenure of their lives.
The fish and the bird have two spheres of nature. The pig and the lamb are opposites in nature. The person who is born again has a different nature than he who is not. The person born again has an exalted nature, God’s nature (2 Peter 1:4). The person who never accepts Christ as his Savior only occupies transient life. That life is only comprised of time, or as this passage says, “corruptible.” If we try to experience the love of verse 22 without the spiritual birth of verse 23, we will strain ourselves into frustration.
Some say the only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that one attends church, and the other does not. The Bible says the difference is whether one is born spiritually or not. We do not perceive spiritual birth by religious talk. Being born again is not more religion. The change is much deeper than superficial religion; it is a change of nature.