Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.…
I. ITS NATURE: entirely spiritual.
1. In its subject — the soul. It is not an external reform merely, but an internal renovation — a change of mind and heart taking effect —
(1) On the understanding, when it is enlightened.
(2) On the conscience, when it is convinced.
(3) On the will, when it is subdued.
(4) On the affections, when they are refined and purified.
(5) On the whole man, when he is transformed by the renewing of his mind and created anew.
2. In its Author — the Spirit of God. It belongs to Him —
(1) To enlighten the darkened understanding by shining into it.
(2) To awaken the slumbering conscience by convincing it of sin.
(3) To subdue our rebellious wills, by making us willing in the day of His power.
(4) To take away the stony heart and give us hearts of flesh.
3. In its means — the Word of God.
II. ITS CONCOMITANTS.
1. Precedent instruction, con. viction, repentance, faith.
2. Consequent progressive sanctification.
III. ITS NECESSITY.
1. From the fallen nature of man. An unconverted man is out of the kingdom of God, and is incapable of entering it until born again.
2. From the character of God. No unregenerate man can enter the kingdom of God, because —
(1) It is impossible for God to do what implies a manifest contradiction, such as is involved in the idea that a fleshly mind can, without a radical change, become the subject of a spiritual kingdom.
(2) Because it is impossible for God to lie, and He has expressly said that we must be converted or condemned. God is said to repent, but only when man himself repents.
(3) Because it is impossible for God to deny Himself or act in opposition to His infinite perfections. The supposition that a sinful man may enter His kingdom implies that He must —
(a) Rescind the law of His moral government.
(b) Depart from His declared design in the scheme of redemption.
(c) Reverse the moral constitution of man.
(d) Alter the whole character of His kingdom.
(J. Buchanan, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.