“You Must Be Born Again!”
Every Christian preacher who’s ever passed around an offering plate has admonished his audience that they must be born again. Anybody reading the Gospels has surely seen this phrase as well. And, I’m sure that most of us would agree that it sure sounds GREAT.
But like everything we’ve been taught, there comes that moment when we ask ourselves if we REALLY understand the concept. Assuming your moment has come today, then read on and let’s get into this new birth doctrine…
John 3:1-3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus – a ruler of the Jews. this man came to Yahshua by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from Elohim as a teacher, for no one can do these signs that You do unless Elohim is with him.” Yahshua answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of YHWH.”
And just like that, the bomb was dropped. A man regarded as a religious leader and expert of things divine offers an extremely affirming and cordial salutation to Messiah, and is rewarded with what undoubtedly made his heart jump up into his throat. Yahshua’s response was that there was… this thing… that was actually REQUIRED to see the Kingdom of YHWH, and this thing was something that the man (Nicodemus) had never even heard of before. Can you imagine the awkwardness of THAT conversation?!
But Nicodemus was not so arrogant that he couldn’t humble himself in what was surely a sincere search for the truth. So he went on to question as to what this meant and how it was possible.
John 3:5-8 Yahshua answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of YHWH. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 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 who is born of the Spirit.”
Intriguing. But what on Earth could it possibly mean? Two births doesn’t make sense. Is it just a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment? Maybe it’s a parable. Perhaps it’s an incredibly profound and very LITERAL principle foundational to our salvation.
Birth of the Flesh
In order to FULLY understand “birth of the spirit” we need to establish a clear frame of reference – that being a solid understanding of normal, everyday birth. There are three things we want to make sure we have straight about being born before we proceed:
#1: When we are born, we are innocent. We are blameless. We have committed no sins.
Many of you are thinking, “Wait, that’s not true! We were born of Adam’s tainted bloodline!” Yes, I was taught the same thing in Sunday School, but let’s clarify a couple of things in Scripture.
The first piece of this is that by Adam, sin came into the WORLD and NOT the BLOOD.
Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
Sin spread to all men NOT by birth but because ALL SINNED. That is very important.
The second thing we have to realize is that, while the “wages of sin is death,” children are not sentenced for the sins of their father.
Deut. 24:16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.
So when you and I were born, our slates were CLEAN!
#2: We are born to parents. I grant you – there is no controversy here. A mother and a father were required to bring each of us into the world. Keep this in mind, because it is very relevant to the “new birth” experience which we’re just about to get back to in the next section.
#3: We are born as citizens of a nation. This is as true in our age as it was two and even four thousand years ago. Man is not just born to his parents, but he is also born to his people.
Okay, at that, let’s go point by point and see how the new birth experience can be interpreted based on the things we know to be true about common birth. We understand the carnal, so now we can derive understanding of the spiritual.
We have sinned. We are guilty. We deserve death, and that’s exactly what we would receive if we stood before judgment in a fallen and sinful state. If only we could go back and get a second chance to do things right…
A-ha! We need to be “born again.” When you were born, your mother’s “water broke.” You breathed. You were BORN of the WATER and the SPIRIT. (The word “spirit” actually means “breath.”) And this is exactly what we must do AGAIN. Messiah did it, and so must you and I.
Matt. 3:13-17 Then Yahshua arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him, but John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Yahshua answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Yahshua came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of YHWH descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”
There was an image of rebirth. Did you see what just happened? Messiah passed through the water, and received a new spirit. He was born again just as are we.
After Messiah, the Apostles continued teaching the need for this same process. They explained each piece of it correctly.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Well, that’s the New Testament, but what about before? Did we see this rebirth process happening in earlier days?
1Cor. 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
After we are born again, we have new parents! That doesn’t mean that our fleshly (Torah-observant) parents aren’t still owed their honor, but rather that we now have a new set of parents according to our new birth. Remember what the voice from the heavens said when Messiah was baptized?
Matt. 3:17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”
If we wanted a more accurate reflection of those words which is a bit more precise as it pertains to the new birth, we could look at the prophecy of what would be said which in all likelihood is a more accurate account of the voice’s actual words:
Psa. 2:7 I will surely tell of the decree of YHWH: He said to Me, “You are My son. Today I have begotten you.”
And there is our new Father – YHWH himself! But that leaves the burning question of who our mother is…
Rev. 12:1-17 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. And she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. … And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to YHWH and to His throne. … So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of YHWH and hold to the testimony of Yahshua.
Now that we are born again, who is our King? Is it Messiah? And of whom is he supposedly the King?
Is. 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders…
John 1:49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the son of Elohim. You are the King of Israel.”
People get confused here because Yahshua was born a Jew… and we were born Gentiles, right? But keep the Scriptures in mind where they talk about our being “grafted in.”
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
Rom. 11:17-26 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear, for if YHWH did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of YHWH: to those who fell, severity, but to you, YHWH’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for YHWH is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery — so that you will not be wise in your own estimation — that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in and so all Israel will be saved just as it is written…
Being “born again” is NOT just a metaphor! We become new creatures with new parents, a new people and more importantly, a FRESH START! We pass through the water in baptism and are given a new breath (spirit), which then writes the Law (Torah) on our hearts thus causing us to walk uprightly as good citizens of His kingdom.
YHWH is now our Father. Israel is both our mother and our nation. We are now natural-born citizens of the Kingdom of YHWH!