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Jesus explains the new birth to Nicodemus in John 3:1-14. He said no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. To enter the kingdom of God you must be born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh but Spirit gives birth to spirit. You can see the effects of the wind but you don’t know where it is going or has come from, so it is with anyone born of the Spirit. When we are physically born we are spiritually dead because of our inherited sinful nature. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, our sinful nature is crucified with Christ. Then the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, breathes life into our dead spirit, we are born again and become spiritually alive. This is the beginning of our intimate personal relationship with God that goes on forever.
As Jesus said to Nicodemus just prior to the passage cited in the question, that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. This indicates to me that the new birth of which Jesus was speaking refers to God the Holy Spirit becoming present within individuals through their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and the granting of eternal life to them by God. The Holy Spirit then begins the process of regenerating the individual by transforming his or her inborn sinful nature to make the individual progressively more like Christ (although this process will not be fully completed for Christians until they are in Christ's presence, when, as John said in 1 John 3:2, they will be like Him for they shall see Him as He is).
First Corinthians 15:1-4 That Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, that He was buried and rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures. When we believe that gospel, apart from any works, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:13-14. Who is our guarantee of eternal life. We may not feel any different, but, we do not go by feelings, but what the bible says. Hebrews 13:5 Says, He will never leave us or forsake us. John 5:24 Says. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my words, and believeth on Him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and will not come into judgement, but is passed from death unto life. We are born again by the Holy Spirit who seals us unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit in whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. The instant we believe on Jesus plus nothing to receive the free gift of eternal life, we are born again into Gods family. John 1:12. John 3:18 We can no longer be condemned. When we are born into this world we are born sinners. Romans 3:23. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. But now, through the new birth, we are reconciled to God by the seal of the Holy Spirit and our name is written in the Lamb's book of life. Our name is written in the book of life when we are born. When we are born again, our name is written in the Lamb's book of life and can never be removed.
In my opinion, the basis for the new birth from John 3:14-18 involved 3 things. First, the sacrifice of Christ in John 3:14-15. As Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. The Jews of that time would have understood this as the author harks back to the Children of Israel in the Wilderness, complaining, and then being bitten by poisonous snakes (Numbers 21). Moses lifted up a bronze snake to heal those bitten if they would only look at the bronze snake. It's the same with us--we must look and live. "Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other." --Isaiah 45:22 Second, the love of God is the basis of the new birth in John 3:16-17). He was willing to give up His only Son to die for the sins of the world. Not to condemn it, but to save it. Third, the faith of man in John 3:15-16, 18. We must believe in order to be saved and thus please God. Without faith no one can please God. But the object of belief is most important -- you must put your total faith on Christ. That is, trust Him alone for your salvation. You can't depend on your own good deeds outweighing your bad ones like I used to do. It's not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. See more at ExecutableOutlines' "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" The New Birth (3:1-21)
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