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.…
The expression to be born again implies —
I. A VAST MORAL CHANGE, the impartation of a principle of spiritual life and godliness to a heart entirely destitute of it, through which new affections, views, and state of the will are produced. The characteristics of the change are —
1. The self-righteous man learns to trust in the Redeemer.
2. The enemy of God now loves Him.
3. The obdurate becomes penitent.
4. The disobedient becomes obedient.
5. The earthly-minded now seeks things above.
II. THE AGENCY.
1. Not by baptism, thought, reading, the following of good examples, fear, the intrinsic efficacy of prayer, or the merit of any reforms and confessions.
2. But by the Holy Ghost. Various means may concur, but He is the solitary agent.
III. THE NECESSITY OF THE CHANGE is seen in —
1. The opposition which it meets with from the world.
2. The agent. If it be wrought by the Spirit it must be necessary; for "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ," etc.
3. Natural disqualification for the kingdom of God.Conclusion.
1. Make this a practical question.
2. Never forget that the new birth is accomplished only by God.
3. Think of the great blessings it brings.
(B. W. Noel, M. A.)
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.