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?…
What a meeting was this between Christ and Nicodemus!
1. The season was most solemn.
2. The theme the most momentous.
3. The hearer a ruler in Israel.
4. The Speaker the great Teacher sent from God.
I. THE NATURE OF THE NEW BIRTH. Altogether spiritual. Regeneration by water baptism is a dangerous fallacy.
(1) Thousands who have been baptized are unchanged.
(2) Christ who came to save the lost never baptized.
(3) Paul said, "I was not sent to baptize," etc. By baptism we enter the visible kingdom, but by spiritual regeneration the invisible.
1. The agent in this work is a Spirit-the Spirit of God. Some secondary agency is usually employed, the Word of God, etc., but that is only His instrument.
2. The subject is spirit — the soul of man. Regeneration is in its very nature a complete reorganization of the moral man.
(1) Correcting what is wrong.
(2) Supplying what is deficient.
(3) Removing what is superfluous. The works of the devil are destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness established.
3. The immediate associations are spiritual. The signs may be evident, but the causes are unseen. Therefore the unregenerate cannot understand either spiritual mourning or spiritual joy, because there is nothing that they can see to occasion either.
II. ITS RESULTS.
1. It introduces a man into a new world. It seems as though he saw with new eyes, heard with new ears, enjoyed with new senses.
2. It introduces him into a new society where he forms more dignified companionships. Some imagine that to become a Christian is to lose caste. On the contrary it is to be elevated in the rank of being and to have God and the purest and best for friends.
3. It produces a new class of feelings, motives, and desires. Joy where once was sorrow; love of God where once was love of self; aspirations after heaven where once was worldly ambition.
4. It opens new sources of pleasure.
III. ITS NECESSITY.
1. From the moral condition of man which is depraved.
2. From the character of heaven, into which the undefiled cannot enter.
3. From the mediatorship of Jesus Christ, who came to bring about the great change.
(J. S. Jones.)
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?