Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.
When men are perishing it would be cruel to interest their minds or amuse their fancies. We must give earnest heed to their necessities. Is it famine that slays them? We must give them food. Is it disease? Let us give the medicine. Now the spiritual needs of men are urgent, and the most pressing is their regeneration: they must be born again or lost. The change wrought in regeneration is —
I. Most THOROUGH.
1. It is more than reformation.
2. More than change of opinion even on the best topics. Notions may be altered again and again and yet a man be no nearer sonship with God.
3. More than priests can convey or ordinances effect.
4. It is a new creature created in us. At every birth a life comes into the world which was not there before,
5. A new experience. To the new-born child everything is new — pain and pleasure.
6. A new world. When a young girl found the Saviour, she said, "Either I am altogether changed or else the world is." In fact both are.
7. A new force. At every birth a new worker comes into the world. He is feeble at first, but those tiny hands and feet soon become dexterous. And so when a soul is born a power is put forth from it of which it was unconscious before.
II. Most WONDERFUL.
1. As to the manner of it.
2. As to the supernaturalness of its operation. No doubt moral suasion, influence of association, education, do much, and much may be developed in mankind that is admirable. But this is not what Christ meant. The Holy Spirit must come to .work upon us as God came forth to work on this world at creation.
3. As to the grandeur of the relationship to which it introduces us. To God as children, to Christ as brethren. What privileges spring out of this relationship? Paupers have mounted from the dunghill to the throne, but a stride from nothingness to greatness is trifling compared with rising from being a slave of Satan to become a son of God.
III. MOST MANIFEST. The house knows when a child is born. The birth may be mysterious, but the fact is apparent. So we know not how the Spirit works, but the change which comes over the subject shows that He has operated. Elstow knew when Bunyan had found the Saviour. Every soul that is born again —
1. Repents of his sin.
2. Has faith.
4. Develops the spiritual power that has been imparted.
IV. MOST IMPERATIVE. You may be rich or poor, wise or ignorant-many things are desirable, one thing is needful "Ye must be born again." If you are not —
1. You have no spiritual life, and without that you are dead in trespasses and sins.
2. No spiritual capacity, and so no power to receive the blessing. When the gracious rain comes they are not like Gideon's fleece, ready to drink it in, but like a hard stone, neither saturated nor softened. No spiritual inheritance. None can come in for the eterna1 portion but such as are born in the house.
V. EMINENTLY PERSONAL. The idea of proxy is quite foreign. No other can be born for a man: so the great change must be individually experienced.
(C. H. Spurgeon.) (See Revelation 22:17 in connection with the text).
Parallel VersesKJV: Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.