“Mr. Langford, you may come back now.” I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and followed the nurse into the operation room. As I entered the room, I saw my wife lying on her back with a large blue surgical sheet concealing our view of her, from her chest down. There I was in my blue hospital gown with the word, “Coach” in really large letters across my back anxiously awaiting the delivery of my little girl.
I had been in this situation once before but this time was different. You see the first time I was here; they were trying to save my son. This time, there was a much more relaxed atmosphere. But then something came over me. I had a desire to watch every bit of the surgery. I asked the doctor if it would be ok and she said, “If your stomach can handle it”. Therefore, I stood by the head of my wife and watched the doctors and nurses methodically perform a C-section on my wife.
I will spare you the graphic details (even as cool as they are) and tell you how amazing it was to see every aspect of my daughter’s birth. Watching each and every procedure, it amazed me at what an incredible miracle was unfolding before my eyes.
A few days later as I was reflecting on this experience, I began to meditate on the power of a spiritual birth. That moment when a penitent believer decides to put their faith and trust in the Lord Almighty and submit to His plan of salvation.
In John 3:1-8 we learn about a ruler of the Jews by the name of Nicodemus who approaches Jesus by night. It is not known why he came to Jesus by night but we do know he address Jesus as “Rabbi,” which is a title of respect for a recognized Jewish teacher. Nicodemus said the miracles Jesus performed established him as a teacher that had come from God.
Notice with me; Instead of explaining to Nicodemus further about “signs.” Jesus instructs him concerning the new birth. “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The Jews were looking for the kingdom. Jesus seeks to show the spiritual nature of the kingdom and the true way of entrance into it. Just as man comes into the world by physical birth, he is to come into the kingdom by a spiritual birth.
Nicodemus asks a very interesting question. How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Nicodemus understood Jesus to say he needed to be born again. He wondered if Jesus meant he was to experience another physical birth. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I say to you, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:5-8). Jesus explains to Nicodemus that in order to get into the kingdom of God, one must experience a spiritual birth.
Today there is much debate and disagreement as to how one undergoes this birth. Sadly, far too many are mislead and confused about the clear method and means for one to be born again. Let’s examine the physical birth. To begin, there must be a begetting when the woman and man come together. After the begetting, it takes nine months for the birth process to develop. The brith takes place when the child is born. The spiritual birth process begins when one believes in Jesus as the Son of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; John 1:12). One does not become a child of God when he only believes, but the process has just begun. The next step is to repent (Acts 17:30; Acts 2:38). After repenting, one must confess his faith that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God (Acts 8:37; Matthew 10:32-33). When one has done these things he/she is ready to be born again by immersion in water for the remission of sins. The physical aspect of the new birth is immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 19:5). The spiritual aspect of the new birth is by the Spirit. The sinner comes into contact with the blood of Jesus when he is baptized into Christ (Romans 5:9; 6:3-4) and his/her sins are washed away (Acts 22:16). They become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2; Colossians 1:13), theirs sins are washed away and they have a right relationship with God. They become a child of God (Galatians 3:26-27; Acts 2:41,47) and the Holy Spirit dwells in their body (Acts 5:32, 1 Corinthians 6:18-19). When all this transpires, the individual is born again (Titus 3:5). Every Christian is born again if they have been born spiritually in the manner described above. He is then added to the Lord’s church; the family of God, by the Lord (Acts 2:41, 47).
Jesus emphasizes there are two births. When one is born physically, he is a member of the human race. When one is born spiritually, he is member of God’s family, the church.
There is so much anticipation and excitement when a new child is born into a loving family. The same is true when a sinner comes to obey the gospel of Christ. I pray you will consider your own salvation and the means by which you became a child of God. Continue to study the Scriptures. The gospel message is clear and available to all. May God bless you richly!