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?…
I. A RE-ASSERTION OF THE PREVIOUS DOCTRINE WITH SOME CHANGE IN THE FORM OF EXPRESSION.
1. We must be born of water. This describes a change of condition, from guilt and condemnation to righteousness and acceptance. "Water" emblematically represents Christ's obedience as the substitute of those who are saved by Him, and to be "born" represents the application of that obedience for salvation. Baptism is the symbol el this change of condition.
2. We must be born of the Spirit, which describes a change of character as distinguished from a change in condition. This change may be small in its beginnings. It is the origin which has progress unto perfection for its completion. With this new life and its growth will come the gradual decay of all unholy principles, until they are wholly destroyed.
II. AN ARGUMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE NECESSITY OF REGENERATION.
1. That which is born of the flesh is flesh.
(1) Flesh means our fallen nature — the source and seat of evil within the soul. The body is but the instrument through which the inherent corruption acts.
(2) This nature can never be anything else than that which Scripture declares it to be. Treat it as you will, improve it by what cultivation you can, it is flesh still.
2. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(1) This is to have a new life and a new nature, not to have some faculties set against others, but the possession of all the faculties by the Holy Spirit, and their renewal in the image of God.
(A. Beith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Nicodemus saith unto 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?