The Born-Again Man
by Cody Anderson Corinth Missionary Baptist Church
If you are following along with this series, you can see that we are looking at the study of man. We have looked at the creation of man and the fall of man. Comprehensively speaking, we have only made it through about six chapters of the Bible. Except we did discuss the One who man was intended to be like – Jesus Christ. Instead of continuing through the Old Testament and showing you how sinful and rebellious man continued to be even after the flood, we are going to look at the state of man that God communes with, which is the born-again man.
The born-again man has been a trendy phrase throughout the history of the church. The phrase has been used more heavily and has been more widespread at certain times than others. The most recent resurgence started again in the 1960s with Billy Graham’s ministry. Reverend Graham did not coin the term as many would believe, but he did an adequate job of spotlighting the phrase.
Let’s look at the text in John 3 where Jesus is quoted using the phrase. Nicodemus starts to ask a question about Jesus’ relationship to God. He had reasoned that miracles could only be performed by a man of God. Jesus’ response, however, addresses who Nicodemus is in relation to God. John 3:3 says, “Jesus responded and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,’” (ESV). Jesus, knowing that Nicodemus wanted to see more signs, gets to the fact that some things will only be evident to those that are born again, or more literally, born from above. Meaning that they must be born spiritually.
Since we are born dead spiritually because of Adam, we have no spiritual life to commune with God. Nicodemus, being in the same boat as us, needed to be born again to be alive spiritually in order that he might see the Kingdom of God. We see in the following verses that Nicodemus is confused by the phrasing. He questions how he and his mother could go about the rebirthing process. Jesus informs Nicodemus that it would be impossible for his mother to give him a different life because what is of flesh is flesh. Nicodemus would need something different, something from above, something spiritual.
Jesus tries to ease Nicodemus’s mind by telling him there is nothing he could do for this rebirth other than believe. Jesus says it is like the wind. We can’t see the spirit giving life to us, but we will notice the effects of it. Man’s responsibility is only to trust, or in other words, believe. Jesus tells Nicodemus that this is the same it has always been. Jesus uses the parallel of His crucifixion and Moses raising the bronze statue to prove His point – that people have to believe to be saved. Looking at the raised serpent reflected Israel’s trust in the salvific powers of the statue. Looking at the work of Christ, we come to realize that our dead, sin-ridden soul is in need of life, and we trust in Him – this is all the work of the Spirit in our rebirth. We can only believe God is faithful to His Word, and that Jesus’ work atones for our sins.