Here is the simple truth about a most misunderstood and mangled spiritual term – being “born again,” the miraculous entry into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Victor Hafichuk writes:
John 3:3-7 MKJV
(3) Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
(4) Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
(5) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
(6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(7) Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.”
“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and abiding forever” (1 Peter 1:23 MKJV).
When first coming to repentance, evangelicals taught me that I was born again. Then when receiving the Spirit nearly two years later, I thought, “If I was born again before, then what is this, for this surely seems to be a new birth?”
People had their explanations, as for example, “You were born again in your first experience when the Holy Spirit came into you, but now the Holy Spirit has come upon you for power to witness.” I wondered why one needed to have the Spirit upon him when He was already within. It didn’t make sense to me and I couldn’t fully reconcile that theory with the Scriptures. There were other explanations that I couldn’t feel settled with, either.
Greatly pondering this matter, I was given a vision of the relationship between repentance and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I saw a man sit up from the ground. He had been dead or “asleep” but was now brought to life or “awakened” by the Spirit of God.
Then the Holy Spirit came upon him, wherein he was immersed and infused, turning into another man. He was born again. The new birth is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and this receiving of the Spirit is the new birth.
Repentance is an awakening to the heavenly realm, though not yet having entered.
We are born once in the flesh, but must be born again, which consists of 2 stages as described here – by the water of the Word and then receiving the Spirit; by repentance and then receiving Him; by “John the Immerser preparing the way” and then receiving the One he introduced; by preparing the vessel for His entrance and then His entrance.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3:5 MKJV).
Paul Cohen writes:
The first stage of being born again is the preparation for receiving the Spirit of God in those who hear and believe His Word. The Lord said to His disciples before they were baptized in His Spirit:
“Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3 MKJV).
The disciples weren’t cleansed by water baptism, but through the Word of God received by faith. In this way they were prepared for the baptism in His Spirit:
“Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:21-22 MKJV).
We see the same thing later on with those who received the Lord’s messengers:
“But when they believed Philip preaching the Gospel, the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women…. And the apostles in Jerusalem hearing that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them” (Acts 8:12-14).
Notice how the apostles were sent, not because the people were water baptized, but because they had received the Word of God.
“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and abiding forever” (1 Peter 1:23).
It’s the Word of God operating in us by faith that cleanses us and makes us fit habitations for His Spirit.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:25-26 MKJV).
Ezekiel also prophesied of this wonderful work of God:
Ezekiel 36:24-28 MKJV
(24) For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all lands, and will gather you into your own land.
(25) And I will sprinkle clean waters on you, and you shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols.
(26) And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
(27) And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them.
(28) And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. And you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
Ronnie Tanner writes, in response to what was shared above:
Praise the Lord for this revelation of being born of water!
It makes perfect sense. I wonder at times, how remarkable a thing repentance is, what a profound gift it is. It’s “part” of the re-birth experience (“born” of water), a sort of conception, initiating a process that isn’t complete until one is born of the Spirit.
I recall each time finding out that my wife was pregnant. It was a VERY exciting time. However, soon to follow, the sickness, the tiredness, the appetite changes, the body changes, the hormones… all very trying and all very much a proper picture of what happens when one is first given to believe.
What couple, having conceived and enjoyed the news, thinks that is it? Of course not. It’s time to prepare, to adjust and recognize many changes coming with no other hope than the child to be delivered, whole and healthy.
Making strong the souls of the disciples, saying to them that they were to keep the faith, and that we have to go through troubles of all sorts to come into the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22 BBE)
“Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth? says the LORD; shall I, Who cause to bring forth, shut the womb? says your God” (Isaiah 66:9 ESV).
God conceives His life in us through the washing of His Word by faith, and in due time according to His wisdom, we receive the life of His Son by being baptized in His Spirit.
“The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you” (John 14:17 MKJV).
Then we become as He is in the world, the Word of God made flesh. This is the new creation of God, the King of Heaven manifest on earth.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 EMTV).
“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him Who sent Me” (Matthew 10:40 MKJV).
Read The Three Degrees.