To enter into the kingdom of God one must be born again, or born from above. It means a new birth or regeneration. Why does one need to be born again? Since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, all of us have been born spiritually dead, Romans 5:12-14; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. Therefore, to have righteousness and eternal life, one must be born again spiritually, John 3:5-6. When you first believe and accept what Christ has done for you, you are "born again" spiritually and have now made peace with God.
What Does it Mean to be Born Again?
The Bible tells us that God created mankind in his own image, Genesis 1:26, 27. In what way was mankind created in the image of God? He was endowed with the faculties of intellect, emotion, and volition, or choice. Mankind could reason, experience feelings, and make his own choices. This would allow God to share with mankind his life, love, and purpose. God and mankind could enjoy fellowship.
So that mankind would be a loving companion to God and not a slave or robot, it was necessary for God to create mankind with the ability to choose. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave them a command not to eat of the fruit of one certain tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This was the only restriction God placed in the garden. This gave Adam and Eve a choice to obey or disobey God. If they disobeyed, God said they would die, Genesis 2:16-17. As we know, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and partook of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Remember, God had told them they would die, the day they ate of the forbidden fruit. They would die not only physically, after a period of time, but would immediately die spiritually. Because of Adam's disobedience, everyone born into this world from Adam to the present day, has been born with a fallen nature that is bent toward sin, Romans 5:12. The sin of Adam has been imputed, or passed down to the entire race of mankind, and we are born with Adam's fallen nature. This was explained by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12-21.
Sin is disobedience to God's laws or commands. That is why God speaks of sinners (those disobedient to God) as being dead in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:3. If we have been born again (we believe on Jesus Christ, God's Son) we are no longer children of wrath, John 3:36. Job asked a question in Job 25:4, How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? The answer to Job's question is that we can be justified by being born again. Even David recognized a sin problem from birth, Psalm 51:5
If we are not born again, we are spiritually dead in our sins (disobedience) and we have already been judged and condemned, John 3:18. If we neglect the salvation (forgiveness) of God then, as Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden of Eden from the presence of God, then we too, will be eternally separated from the presence of God. Eternal separation from God is the second death. Those that have accepted what Jesus Christ has done for them on the cross, those that are born again, will not see a second death. What is the second death? The second death is an eternal separation from God in a lake of fire, Revelation 20:14-15. If we die in our trespasses and sins, we will have a second death to face. When we die physically we have died the first death. However, if we have not been born again spiritually, we will die a second death, an eternal separation from God, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 20:6, Revelation 21:8, Revelation 20:14.
In the book of John, Jesus tells us that we must be born again to enter into the kingdom of God, John 3:2-3. However, Nicodemus did not understand how one could be born again, so we have Jesus explaining it to him in John 3:4-5, that we must be born of water, our natural birth, and of the Spirit.
Now there are some who say that this means we must be born of water, meaning being baptized in water. This is an erroneous view. Jesus continues His explanation in John 3:6 and makes it clear that he is talking about being born of the flesh and of the Spirit. The capital letter at the beginning of the word Spirit means this is referring to the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore we are born again spiritually by the Holy Spirit of God.
So that which is born of the flesh, of woman, is flesh, and that which is born of the Holy Spirit of God is spirit. Remember that babies are suspended in a sac of water inside their mother before birth. When the water breaks, as they say, the baby is about to be born, John 3:6. When you first believe, you are born again spiritually. This new birth, or being born again is done by the Holy Spirit in response to your faith in Christ, John 3:3. We must be born again because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 15:50.
The new birth, or being born again, is performed by the Holy Spirit, when you first believe. He makes you alive (quickens you) spiritually, and you are made a partaker of divine nature, and of Christ, 1 Peter 1:23; Galatians 2:20; 2 Peter 1:4. Jesus said that only those who are born again can see the kingdom of God, John 3:3, or enter the kingdom of God, John 3:5
We have already been born physically but we need to born again spiritually, from above. When we accept what Christ has done for us on the cross, giving His life to pay for our sins, Romans 6:23, and understand that this is the only way we can pay for our sin, repent and trust in Jesus, then we will be born again by the Holy Spirit of God. If we are born again, we will never again be separated from God, and therefore, not experience a second death. If we reject Christ, then we will continue to be spiritually dead, and when we die physically, we will experience another death at the judgment, a second death, which is eternal separation from God, in a lake of fire.
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