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.
(1) Not baptism, as witness Simon Magus.
(2) Not reformation, as witness the case of many an unspiritual but truly moral man. Regeneration is the cause, reformation the effect. Nicodemus did not need reformation.
2. Positively: An entire change of nature.
(1) a renovation of all the powers of the mind;
(2) a new direction to the faculties of the soul;
(3) a restoration to the image of God.
II. ITS CHARACTERISTICS.
1. It is instantaneous. There can be no medium between life and death. It differs from sanctification, which is progressive.
2. It is mysterious. We cannot tell how it takes place, or when or where it will take place.
3. It is universal. It affects the whole man, and governs all his character, powers, and conduct.
III. ITS EVIDENCES.
1. The condition of the regenerate is altered — the dead are made alive (Ephesians 2:1); the blind see (Ephesians 5:8); the servants of Satan become Christ's free men; His enemies His friends; the proud humble.
2. Their views are changed
(1) concerning themselves;
3. Their pursuits are different.
4. Their enjoyments arise from a different source.
5. Their motives.
IV. ITS NECESSITY.
1. Without a change of heart we shall' not be identified with the Church militant;
2. With the Church triumphant hereafter.Reflections:
1. To the unregenerate, "Ye must be born again."
2. To those who are resting in good works, etc., "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision," etc.
3. To the regenerate. "Show forth the praises of Him who hath called you."
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.