The New Birth

Our last lesson dealt with repentance and why it is necessary. We also know that a “true repentance”, a “godly sorrow” for our past life, will bring about a change in our life. Our lesson is about that all-important subject, “The New Birth.”

As you study today’s lesson, we will try to explain how this comes about and then what takes place in the individual’s life.

1. What surprising remark did Jesus make to Nicodemus? John 3:1-7

One very important remark Jesus made was this: no man can enter the kingdom of God without first being born again. So, this subject is very important for us to understand.

Some people feel it is not necessary to be born again. Others feel it is yet in the future or that you are not born again until Jesus comes and gives you immortality. We believe it must take place now, today, before Jesus comes, or He will say “I never knew you: depart from me...” (Matthew 7:23).

Now, what two things did Jesus say we must be born of? He said that we must be born of “water and spirit.” The spirit is easily understood, but what is the water? Some people feel it refers to baptism. But is one born again before baptism or after? Do we baptize a person so he can be born again, or do we baptize a person because he has been born again? I think you will agree the new birth must take place before baptism. If this is true, then what does the water refer to?

2. Washing of water by the Word. Ephesians 5:25-26

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Ephesians 5:25-26

In the Scriptures, we find the water represents several things, and here the water represents the Word. As water cleanses, so does the Word, for it reveals to us how we should live.

Now, let us see through the Scriptures how this works in our spiritual life.

For Jesus did say, “ye must be born of water” (the seed, the Word).

3. The sower went forth to sow. Luke 8:4-5, 11

What happens when you put a seed in the ground? A new life comes forth. So it is in the spiritual sense. Before a baby can be born, a seed has to be planted. From this seed, new life comes forth. Before we can be born of God (from above), we must first hear the Word. The seed has to be planted in our heart. From that seed (Word), a new life can come forth. But it is impossible to be born again without first hearing the Word.

4. Begotten you through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:15

For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 4:15

How were the people at Corinth born again? It was through the gospel, the Word. Begotten means “conceived”, as a child has to be begotten before it can be born, so were the brethren at Corinth begotten by the gospel (the seed, the Word).

5. Begat us with the Word of truth. James 1:18

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James 1:18

This tells us very plainly how the new birth begins. It begins with the hearing of the Word and then continues to grow into a new babe in Christ.

6. What kind of seed must we be born of? 1 Peter 1:23

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
1 Peter 1:23

First of all, notice the word being. It is used in the present tense, “Being born again…” So, we can see it is not in the future but must take place now.

James 1:18 says that we must be born of the “incorruptible” seed, the truth. The corruptible seed is the false doctrines that are being taught by the world that has no scriptural basis.

This reference also tells us plainly that we are born from the Word of God (the seed, the water).

7. The Spirit and truth (Word) go together. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
2 Thessalonians 2:13

8. There is also a travail (pain). James 4:7-9, Psalms 51:17

Some people believe there should be no emotion in religion. They think that religion should be dry and without a sign of emotion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though at times some people overdo it and do it for a show, the Bible reveals there is emotion in religion. We find Paul weeping many times — “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18). Also, other men in the Bible showed emotion. So, it is when one is born again. We all do not act the same way. Some will show more emotion than others and some will show hardly any emotion at all.

Just as natural birth when it occurs to some, there is great pain; to others, there is very little. But all feel something. Afterward, there is a godly sorrow

(pain) for what we have done. Then God forgives and there is rejoicing.

9. We are then new creatures. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

How could we be new creatures now, if the New Birth were still in the future or at the coming of Christ? We were born carnal (earthly), but now we are born from above (from heaven), the heavenly birth.

10. How do we put on the new man? Colossians 3:5-10

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Colossians 3:5-10

Mortify means to kill or subdue. Before we can take upon ourselves the life of the new man, we must subdue the works of the flesh. Notice the wording in verse 10, “And have put on the new man…” The people Paul was talking to had done something. He did not say they will put on the new man.

11. How did John speak of the new birth? John 1:11-13

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:11-13

He says, “Which were born…” He understood very well the words of Jesus: the New Birth must take place now. We can now rejoice in that new life that God can give to us.

12. As newborn babes. 1 Peter 2:1-2

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

1 Peter 2:1-2

It matters not, if a man is fifty or seventy years old when he is born of God, he is a babe. And as a babe, he must begin with the milk of the Word, for he cannot digest the deep things of God.

13. Now, are we the sons of God? 1 John 3:1-2

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when HE shall appear, we shall be like HIM; for we shall see HIM as HE is.

1 John 3:1-2

John says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God…” Yes, truly we can now become the children of God. We then can call Him Father and He calls us His children. We do not need to look forward to the future before we can become His sons and daughters. We may have that privilege now.


Before we can see (enter) the Kingdom of God, we must be born again. We must let God give us the new nature, the heavenly nature, the divine (2 Peter 1:4). This is something we cannot do ourselves. Only God can do it, as we surrender our lives to Him.

Material from the book Answers to Your Bible Questions by Wesley Walker.

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Answers to Your Bible Questions