Explanations: Rebirth

What is that? 
That question has been asked by Nicodemus, who went to the Lord Jesus in the hours of the night. He did not want anyone to know that he had spoken with Him. He, Nicodemus, was a rabbi in Israel and supposed it to be worthwhile to speak with the rabbi of Nazareth. When he said “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, unless God be with him”, he got the answer "Verily, verily I say unto thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." (John 3:2 and 3). 
He did not understand that answer and asked "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" He then got the answer: "Verily, verily I say unto thee, unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”. 

Rebirth is birth of water and the Spirit. 
The words the Lord had spoken were not yet very clear to Nicodemus. The Lord therefore added: “Verily, verily I say unto thee, we speak what we know and testify what we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man who is in Heaven.” (John 3:11-13). 

Rebirth is by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. 
What have those words of the Lord to do with rebirth? 
Well birth of water and Spirit is not birth of baptism and the Spirit, but birth of the water of Gods Word and the Spirit. 
How do we know? 
Because we read in Ephesians 5:26 that “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”. Water is a figure or image of the Word of God. 
We also find it in the words of the Lord in John 15:3 :”Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you”. 
But then we may expect to find somewhere that rebirth is by the Word of God. That is the case indeed. 
Birth is by some seed. That is why it is written by Peter “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:22 and 23). 
And James has written “Of His own will, He begot us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18). 

The part of Gods Word in rebirth. 
Men will be born again when the Spirit of God works in heart and conscience with the Word of God. Birth is by seed and the seed the Spirit uses is the Word of God, the gospel. Without seed nothing will be born. The seed of the Word must be sown, be preached and the preaching must be heard in order to bring forth fruit. 

The seed for rebirth. 
We have seen that the Lord spoke about believing in John 3:11 and 12. Now where there is faith something has been said or preached. Christ spoke the Word of God, which is the seed of rebirth, for Peter has said, that believers have been born again by the incorruptible seed of Gods Word. The Lord told a parable about sowing the Word and explained it:

"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower: 
19 When any one heareth the Word of the Kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he that received seed by the wayside. 
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word and at once with joy receiveth it; 
21 yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while. For when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he loses faith. 
22 He also that received the seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful. 
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word and understandeth it; who also beareth fruit and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." 

We see the country man. He is strewing the seed, good seed, and he strews on a good field. Does he intend to waste part of the good seed? Certainly not. 
On the edge of the field brambles are growing and some seed are falling near the brambles. Those grains are good, but brambles take away the light and ask place. So the seed there does not have any chance. 
The field is near a path and some grains are falling upon that path. Birds come and take it away. 
Where the soil is rocky with only a superficial layer of earth the seed does not have enough earth for taking root. It will never bear fruit. 
The seed is good and the intention of the country man is good. But when the soil is not good, the seed will not bring forth any fruit. The soil that is suitable for sprouting and growth will bring forth abundantly. But when the soil is faulty the best seed cannot do anything. The Lord said about it: “that on the good ground are they that, in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). And in verse 18 he added: “Take heed therefore how ye hear”. 
Where does the seed bring forth fruit? 
Where it is received with joy and can sprout and grow. 

In verse 14-18 of John 3 the Lord Jesus sowed the good seed of rebirth with the following words:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth in Him is not condemned.”

How did you hear that Word of God? 
Did you receive that seed of Gods Word and keep it believingly in your heart? 
Do not throw the responsibility upon the Lord. He surely wants the seed bringing forth fruit in you. 

In the verses 14-18 nothing has been said about rebirth. 
O, sure! It has been said two times, that whosoever believes in Him (Christ) has everlasting life. We did not receive that life when born upon earth. We have been born with a temporary earthly life, ending in death. Eternal life is different, new life, not subject to death. It is the life of rebirth. 

The power needed for rebirth.
The Lord said that we get new life, everlasting life, when we believe. 
That is right. Rebirth is by water and the Spirit, that is by the seed of Gods Word and his Spirit. That Word must be heard and sowed powerfully into the heart by the Spirit, and believed. 
Like the seed having wonderful powers, powers of life, so the seed of Gods Word has great power. It is power of God unto salvation. The psalmist prayed in psalm 119 “quicken Thou me according to Thy word” (verses 25 and 107). And Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 and 17 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: "The just shall live by faith." 

The power of Gods love.
But there is another power, the power of the love of God. Rebirth no doubt has to do with the love of God. When God answers faith with the gift of new life, making us thus his children, ought we not to recognize, that his love is the motive? God is longing for children He can love and to whom He can show the abundance of his love. Yes, He loves us and has proved his love in the gift of his Son, when we were still hostile and lost in sins.

  The greatest wonder from above
is that God thought of me with love. 
I must believe it when I see
the Holy Son He gave for me. 
I was a sinner, wicked, bad, 
who not deserved the love God had. 

God loved the world, how can it be, 
goes after sinners and found me, 
rejoices when his love finds one
who is believing in his Son. 
He will from sin be purified
by Jesus’ blood Who for us died. 

The responsibility to believe.
When asked how rebirth could be (John 3) the Lord spoke about his coming crucifixion, prefigured in the days of Moses by the serpent of brass lifted up in the wilderness. An Israelite that had been bitten, when he looked upon it, would live. Likewise a sinner, having the poison of sin in his heart, will live when he believingly looks upon the Saviour, lifted up upon the cross. Our old sinful nature will not be, cannot be improved or changed. No, God gives new, eternal life and that life is in his Son, Jesus Christ. Whosoever believes in Him, receives Him who is the true God and eternal life ( 1 John 5:20). 

Do you believe in the Son of God? Do you indeed? You then have been born again, born of God, which is true for anyone who received Him, Jesus Christ, for

“as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12 and 13).

J. Ph. Buddingh