The Gospels – The Gospel According to John
The absolute importance of being born again
John 3:1-8 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Being born again is entirely different from the prevailing conceptions of it. It is not just a question of declaring one’s belief in Jesus and the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the individual. Being born of the spirit has nothing to do with the prevailing conceptions about the Holy Spirit. Nor was Jesus referring to the flesh.
It has everything to do with becoming a completely different human being through a change in behaviour and attitude. If through the hearing of the Word of God, the individual absorbs this Word in such a way that it works changes in him; he makes a decision to change his ways for the better; he changes his way of thinking, his words and deeds; he, now after having heard the Word of Jesus, begins to think in a better way, begins to act in a better way and his attitude to his neighbours change, then that is the complete transformation that Jesus was talking about. It is such a change in behaviour that He was referring to. Such a change is from within. Such a change is from the spirit of the individual. Volitions come from the spirit and if now all his volitions are now better as a result of his contact with the Word of God, then that person has been born again in the spirit, in the inside, in his own spirit. This has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit entering the individual.
The Word of God has touched his spirit and has made him to make a decision to change his volition for the better. He now becomes instead of his former evil self, a good human spirit. Before the contact with the Word of God perhaps he was doing evil, he was an evil person, an evil spirit because he was harming his neighbours with his volitions, his deeds. Now with the contact with the Word, he decided to change himself. Through his desire to make good, he has now transformed himself from an evil spirit to a good one. His spirit has been reborn, renewed. This has nothing to do with the physical. The physical body is lifeless and is incapable of bringing forth such forms of volitions that determine the fates of human spirits.
Therefore it is the personal effort of the individual through making use of the Word of God that makes people reborn. The Holy Spirit does not enter into individuals. This is impossible for quite natural reasons. The Holy Spirit is the third Personality in the Holy Trinity. It is an Individual, a Part of God. Being a Part of God it is impossible for Him to enter into human beings. The human spirit will not be able to bear the approach of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as was mentioned before is not an amorphous energy and just like Jesus It will not enter into human beings.
To be born again in spirit therefore is a condition of having worked on ourselves to purify our intuitive perception. It is a question of purifying and making our spirits pure. Our spirit cloak which was probably very dirty, dark and heavy, we make clean and bright through the exercise of pure volition in the direction that Christ pointed, with loving our neighbours as ourselves and much else that He taught us.