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You Must
Be Born Again”

Jesus Christ—John 3:7


It was nearly two thousand years ago that an important religious leader in the

nation of Israel, named Nicodemus, approached Jesus of Nazareth one night to make a

private and very personal inquiry. The words of response that Jesus Christ gave to him on

that occasion were so simple and yet so phenomenal that they have intrigued both

scholars and laypersons for the last twenty centuries. The account has been recorded for

us by Divine inspiration in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verses 1 through 21. This late

night conversation has proved to be the basic revelation of truth upon which stands the

pivotal determination of the life and destiny of every single one of us. In fact, it also

stands as the very basis for the determination of either the reality or the superficiality of

the whole of professing Christendom.

What did Christ mean by those words—“You must be born again”? Not only did

Nicodemus ask what Christ meant, but people ever since continue to ask “Just exactly

what does this mean?” It is not that Jesus never explained what He meant, for we shall

see that He clearly did. Rather, it is to be realized that Christ’s own explanation of His

words have never actually found a receptive resting place in the theological traditions of

the major man-made religious organizations. You see, the big religious machines in

Christendom today seem to “gag” on Christ’s explanation. Christ’s simplicity does not at

all set well with religious, traditional, ritualistic complexity. Herein is one of the greatest

ironies of all time—why is it that the words forming the very basis of Christianity are so

little understood by the present institutions, both that which bears the imprimatur and

nihil obstat of pontifical authority and also that by her daughter institutions as well??

In spite of the confusion that exists in religion over these words, it remains a fact

that each and every person, much like Nicodemus, must have a very private and personal

encounter with Jesus Christ. We all need to find out what it means to be “born again.”

The one thing Christ emphasized (He said it twice, verses 3 and 5) was that there are no

exceptions—“Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

God has accurately and even miraculously preserved the whole Bible for us. 

Unless one is born again. . .

Jesus gets right to the heart of the essential matter.

There may be great conflicts and various issues in religion,

but what anyone and everyone needs is simply a new birth. 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”

(John 3:3). There it is, clear and simple; the only way anyone could ever expect to be in

God’s domain of salvation and life, he must be “born again.” That seems simple enough.

We all know what natural birth is, but what exactly does it mean to be “born again”?

What exactly is this second birth Christ speaks of and why is it necessary??

Obviously, Christ is  saying that one’s natural birth into the human family, no matter his pedigree or  upbringing, is not good enough to get him into God’s Kingdom.

Nicodemus asks what this means—“How can a man be born when he is old? Can

he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (v. 4). Nicodemus realizes

that this is a literal impossibility. The NASB captures the fact that it is a rhetorical

question with a negative answer—“He (an old man) cannot enter a second time into his

mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Therefore, Nicodemus is asking for an explanation

about this second birth. The next four verses contain Christ’s explanation—

Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water

and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (v. 5).

That which is born of the flesh is flesh,

and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (v. 6).

Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again,” (v. 7)

the wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it,

but do not know where it comes from and where it is going;

so is everyone having been born of the Spirit (v. 8).’

In verse 8 we actually have the “clincher” in demonstrating that the second birth

has nothing whatsoever to do with “water.” Notice again how Christ illustrates the


The windblows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it,

but do not know where it comes from and where it is going;

so is everyone having been born of the Spirit.

Nothing that has to do with “water” illustrates or characterizes the second birth,

but rather, “wind.” Wind, of course, is the essential meaning of the Greek word for spirit.

The Greek word pneuma primarily denotes wind or breath and is also used of the Holy

Spirit of God. Since the second birth is spiritual, Christ uses the “wind” as its illustration.

The wind, like the Holy Spirit, is invisible to our eyes, except for seeing or hearing the

effects of the wind as it moves through the trees. So it is with the new birth by the Spirit;

it is invisible to our eyes and ears. However, like the effect of the wind, we can see and

often recognize the change that takes place in a person’s life.