The New Birth

What Is a Christian?

The New Birth

What Is a Christian?

One of the most fundamental and vital doctrines in Christianity is the doctrine of the New Birth.

Our Lord Jesus teaches in the third chapter of John that the necessity of the New Birth is universal. In the third verse He says, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (KJV).

Not one single man or woman or child will be able to see the Kingdom of God except they be born from above.

The necessity of the New Birth is not only universal, it is imperative. Our Lord Jesus says to Nicodemus, “You must be born again,” not merely you may be, but “you must be.”

Jesus taught that the necessity of the New Birth is also absolute. Nothing else will take the place of the New Birth.

Why is the New Birth absolutely necessary? Verse 6 tells us why. The reason is because “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” All that we can get by our human parentage, no matter how godly or pious or moral or cultured, is that which is natural and not spiritual, and the Kingdom of God is spiritual. In order to enter that Kingdom we must be born of the Spirit.

What must we do in order to be born again?

  • First of all, we are born again by the Holy Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit is a living person, and by His transforming power working directly in our spirits, we are regenerated.
  • The New Birth is wrought through the instrumentality of the Word of God. We read in 1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the Word of God.”
  • The New Birth is wrought by the Holy Spirit through His Word in us when we look to or believe on Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has been made in the likeness of sinful flesh and lifted up on the cross of Calvary, where He made a perfect atonement for sin, and as soon as we look at Him on the cross and put our trust in Him as our sin-bearer, in that moment we are born again.”

For more on What Is a Christian, see:
A Choice, a Challenge, a Change by Billy Graham
How to Know You’re a Christian by Greg Laurie

R.A. Torrey (1856-1928) was an American evangelist, pastor, educator and writer. Adapted from “The Voice of God in the Present Hour,” by R.A. Torrey.

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