One of the most magical moments in life is the first cry of a newborn baby. It has a distinctive carol of innocence, purity and freshness. The long awaited moment has arrived. Plans are made with anticipatory excitement and in fruition of nine months of expectant joy life presents itself in the form of a newborn child. At that moment all time stands still. Laughter is mixed with tears and hearts swell with unbounded love. Helpless on their own the newborn is held close and tenderly swathed in the embrace of their mother. The only time of greater anticipation is when grandchildren are born. Regardless, the joy of expecting a new baby is almost beyond understanding.
Jesus told a ruler of the Jews in John 3 that "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Nicodemus thought Jesus was speaking of returning to the womb of the mother to be born. Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, 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" (John 3:5-6). The new birth is the means by which people of God have been newly created into the image of the Father. Paul described the process as a resurrection in Romans 6:3-9.
The birth of a child of God is a most wonderful thing. As with the excitement of a baby's birth the people of God should have anticipation at helping others come to knowledge of the truth and experience the new birth. To be born again is to experience the birth of water and the birth of the Holy Spirit. The Ethiopian of Acts 8 understood this birth when he said to Phillip, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). The new birth is experienced through water (not as many teach today as "faith only") and the Holy Spirit. Peter declared on the Day of Pentecost that all men are to "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:38-39).
The new birth is characterized by being born of the Holy Spirit. Paul shows how the Holy Spirit cries out as the "Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'" (Romans 8:15). People of God are spirit led people (Romans 8:1-14). Experiencing the new birth is experiencing the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our spirits to make intercession for us and to guide us.
When a person became a child of God under the Law of Moses they were born into a Jewish family and when the parents kept the Law in regard to circumcision and offerings the child was under covenant with the Lord. The Hebrew writer declares those who are the people of God now are those who have been taught to know the Lord and have become children of God through obedience (Hebrews 8:7-13). The new birth is when someone comes to a knowledge of truth and is obedient to the will of the Father.
As exciting as it is to expect a child or grandchild we as people of God should be working diligently to help others experience the new birth. We should have a greater expectancy for the spiritual birth. Our goals and aims should be to bring more people to a knowledge of salvation through the new birth. Let us be busy about sharing the good news of those who are born of the water and of the spirit.
By Kent Heaton
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