You Must be Born Again
Mac Hammond

B. Childress
Feb 21 2011

“Opinions are like noses.  Everybody has one.”  Or so the old saying goes.  Regardless of the topic (sports, politics,
even the weather), everyone seems more than willing to offer his or her personal wisdom and insight on the subject.

This holds true in spiritual things as well.  Varying opinions about heaven, hell, and salvation abound.

Now, adopting someone else’s opinion on who’s going to the Super Bowl is generally harmless.  But when it comes to
matters of life, death, and eternity, you’d better have something more substantial than some mere mortal’s opinion.  
Tragically, many people don’t.

Far too many individuals are staking their eternal destiny on what their parents, professors, or denomination told them
was necessary to enter heaven.

Others aren’t quite sure how they came to their conclusions about God and His kingdom.  They just shrug their
shoulders and say, “I’ve always believed this way.”

The truth is, there exists only one reliable source of truth concerning matters of the soul and spirit – the Bible.
The Holy Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God.  Yet millions of people today assume that their ill-founded
opinions are good enough to answer eternal questions.

The tragic result in each case is an unfulfilled life here on earth and an awful eternity in hell.

Going to the Source

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness.
”  II Timothy 3:16,17

The Greek word translated “inspiration” in this passage of Scripture literally means “God-breathed.”  All Scripture is
breathed from the very mouth of God Himself.  God cannot lie.  Therefore, you can rely on the Bible as an infallible

Notice what else this passage says about Scripture.

1.  It is profitable for doctrine – meaning it provides the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

2.  It is profitable for reproof and correction – meaning it tells us what we should not do.

3.  It is profitable for instruction in righteousness – meaning it tells us what we should do to live in a  godly life.

Finally, verse 17 tells us the end result of all these things. “
That the man of God may be perfect (mature, complete),
thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Open the Word of God and see what this trust worthy source has to say about the most important questions you’ll ever
face.  Namely, what does it mean to be born again and filled with God’s Spirit?

These are the most basic of life-and-death issues.  Yet your human mind alone will never comprehend the secret of life.  
And try as they might, scientists will never unlock the mystery of the spark of life or see beyond the veil of death.

Only the Word of God penetrates the cloak of mystery that envelops these questions.

The Second Birth

To truly understand what it means to be born again, you must understand the nature and composition of who you are.  

According to the Bible, the real you is not what you see looking back at you in a mirror.  That body is merely a vessel – a
container for the real you.

The Word teaches that you are a three-part being.  The real you is a spirit.  You have a soul.  And you live in a body.

We see this division in I Thessalonians 5:23.

    And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray god your whole spirit and soul and body be
    preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  

These are the three realms of human existence: the spirit realm, the soulish realm, and the physical realm.

The new birth and the baptism of the Holy Ghost impact each of these realms in different ways.  To understand either of
these things, you must first recognize the three-part nature of who you are.

The Reality of Heaven and Hell

One of the most widely held beliefs today is that death means annihilation.  In other words, when you die, that is it.  It’s

Please don’t fall for that lie.  Death does not mean a termination of existence.

In the Bible, the word death is translated from Greek and Hebrew words meaning “separation.”  Physical death is simply
the separation of the spirit and soul from the body.

No, death is not the end.  On the contrary, death is merely a door that leads to one of two possible eternal homes: one
in heaven, the other in hell.

Spiritual death results when you are separated from God, the source of all life.  Spiritual life, on the other hand, results
from oneness with the Giver of Life.

One of the most vivid scriptural pictures of what happens after death was painted by Jesus Himself.

    There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every
    day:  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring
    to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his
    sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:
    the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth
    Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me,  
    and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in
    this flame.”  Luke 16:19-24

Did either of the men in Jesus’ account cease to exist when they died?  No, they both continued a conscious existence
even while separated from their physical bodies.

The beggar was carried by angels into “Abraham’s bosom” (also referred to as paradise).  This was the place where the
saints of God were housed prior to Jesus’ resurrection.

The rich man, who was not saved, went to hell where he continued to feel pain, sorrow, and anguish.

You are an eternal being.  Death means only a change of residence from this earth to either heaven or hell.

What determines your destination?  One thing and one thing only – your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Why is that so
important?    You’ll find the answer back in the Garden of Eden.

Adam’s Double Defeat

    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
    and man became a living soul.”  Genesis 2:7

When God first created mankind, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.  That included life for his spirit, life for
his soul, and life for his body.  That very same word “life” is used in Genesis 2:8,9.

    And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.  
    And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for
    food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The phrase “tree of life” should actually be translated “tree of lives.”  It was specially created to supply life to the spirit,
soul, and body of Adam.

That’s why God commanded Adam to eat of it and every other tree in the garden except for one.

    And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the
    LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree
    of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt
    surely die.”    Genesis 2:15-17

God gave Adam two commands.  First, he was to eat of the Tree of Life so God’s “life” and power would be imparted to
him on an ongoing basis.  Second, he was never to eat of the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.

The penalty for violating the second command was death.  Not physical death, mind you – spiritual death.  Separation
from God would be the result.

Thus Adam’s disobedience was twofold.  In eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam partook of that
which he was commanded not to eat.  This resulted in death and separation.

Secondly, he neglected to eat that which he was commanded to eat, which would have resulted in eternal life.

As Adam’s descendants, we each have a two-fold decision to make as well.  We must not only reject evil, we must also
partake of life.

Many people have fulfilled only the first half of that equation.  They live good, moral lives by most standards.  They don’t
smoke or drink.  They display honesty and integrity.  They generally shun evil.  Many even go to church and have been
baptized in water.  Yet they still face an eternity in hell because they have neglected to partake of the Tree of Life.

Jesus, the Source of Life

Jesus Christ, the Son draws us into relationship with God, the Father.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by me.
”  John 14:6

For us, Jesus is the Tree of Life.  He said:

    The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and
    that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

We must partake of Jesus if we are to experience life in all three facets of our being.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath
    everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”   John 5:24

What, then, must you do to partake of this life?  How does one partake of Jesus, the Tree of Life?

Jesus answered a similar question for a man named Nicodemus in John 3:3.

    Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  

Jesus explicitly told Nicodemus that in order to see heaven, he must be born again.  This “new birth” is the process by
which we partake of the Tree of Life.  Notice, Jesus didn’t tell him that joining a church would give him eternal life.  He
didn’t prescribe being sprinkled as a baby, living a good life, or any other good work.

There is only one way to see the kingdom of heaven.  “You must be born again.”

The concept of being born a second time confused Nicodemus.  Thinking only in natural terms, he protested that it was
impossible for a man to reenter his mother’s womb.  Jesus explained it to him in verses 5-7.

“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.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again

Here, Jesus explains that the second birth occurs not in the physical realm of a man’s three-part nature, but rather in the

Some people have misinterpreted Jesus’ declaration that a person must be born both “of water and of the Spirit.”  They
claim that this scripture proves that water baptism is a means of, and therefore is necessary for, salvation.

This is simply not true.  Of course, water baptism is an important point of obedience in the life of a believer.  But in the
New Testament, water is frequently a type, or symbol, of the Word of God.  In this instance Jesus is merely saying that
man is spiritually reborn through the Word of God and by the Spirit.  This is confirmed in I Peter 1:23.

    Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and
    abideth for ever.

Here the Holy Spirit clearly links the process of being born again to the Word of God.

How to be Born Again

As you can clearly see, being born again is the most important thing you can ever do.  All other goals and aspirations in
life pale in significance alongside the knowledge that you are going to live forever with a loving heavenly Father.

As a result, you might presume that being born again is a difficult or complex process.  Nothing could be further from the

There are basically three components to receiving the new birth.

1.  Repent

    I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”  Luke 13:3

To repent, the first component means to change or turn around.

True repentance means recognizing that your sinful life is wrong and that a change of heart, attitude, and direction is
required.  To repent is to reject evil.

2.  Believe on Jesus

    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.”  John 3:16

The second component of the new birth process is believing in the deity and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised
    him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  Romans 10:9

3.  Confess Jesus as Lord  

    For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto
    salvation.”  Romans 10:10

The third component of the new birth involves your mouth.  You must use it to sincerely confess Jesus Christ as your
Lord and Savior.

When you believe on Jesus with your heart and confess Him with your mouth, you are partaking of the Tree of Life.

The Miracle of the New Birth

You now know the three steps a person must take in order to be born again.  However, you must understand that these
steps do not cause the new birth to happen.  It is a miracle that can be performed only by the Holy Spirit.

When you take these steps, you give the Holy Spirit permission and freedom to do what only He can do.

If a person could be saved by merely following a three-step formula, salvation would be based on works rather than
God's grace.

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest
    any man should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8,9

Your heart-belief and mouth-confession simply brings the Holy Spirit on the scene to create the miracle of the new birth.

Benefits of the New Birth

Experiencing the miracle of the new birth makes you a partaker of eternal life.  Heaven becomes your destination when
you die.  But the new birth is much more than a ticket to heaven.  It also carries with it some wonderful benefits in this life
as well.

Let’s look at three major changes that result from being born again.

A New Creation

According to the Word of God, the remaking of your spirit makes you a whole new type of being.

    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are
    become new.”  II Corinthians 5:17

When you are born again, the things that characterized your old lifestyle – your old habits, priorities, and ways of talking
– pass away.  You no longer have to be controlled by the things of your past.  You’re free!

Through the centuries, “religious” people have demanded that “sinners” clean up their lives before they come into the

Many unsaved people have been told, “Purify your life; then you can be a Christian.”  But, according to the Word of
God, that is completely out of sequence.

A person has no capacity to make lasting changes in his lifestyle until he’s been made a new creation in Christ Jesus.  
Becoming a new creature is what makes it possible for all old things to pass away and all things to become new.  Your
marriage can become new.  Your relationships with your children can become new.  Everything becomes new because
YOU are a new person!

This new personhood calls for a new way of thinking.  Romans 12:2 calls it “renewing your mind.”  It means retraining
your mind to realize that you don’t have to be sick anymore.  You don’t have to be poor anymore.  You no longer have
to be defeated.  The world may have to live that way, but not you – you’re a new creation!

All Things Are Now Possible

    All things are possible to him that believeth.”  Mark 9:23

It takes an act of “believing” to be born again, and as a “believer,” nothing is impossible to you.  In fact, as a child of
God, you can overcome anything the devil or the world can throw at you.

    For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.”  I John 5:4

    We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”  Romans 8:37

When you’ve been born again, you’re not just a survivor; you’re an overcomer through Jesus!

Your Needs Are Now Abundantly Supplied

One of the most comforting and exhilarating aspects of the new birth is the knowledge that everything you need has
been supplied in advance.

If you need healing, I Peter 2:24 says, “
by whose stripes ye were healed.”  In other words, Jesus bore your sickness
and pain on the cross.  You don’t have to be sick anymore.

If you have financial need, Philippians 4:19 says, “
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in
glory by Christ Jesus.

That verse doesn’t say some of your needs.  It doesn’t say most of your needs.  God’s Word says all of your needs are
met in accordance with His amazing heavenly abundance.

These are just a few of the marvelous benefits that belong to the born-again child of God.

Four Keys To enjoying the Fullness of the New Birth

A vast majority of Christians are “living beneath their privileges.”  What do I mean by that?  I’m referring to the fact that,
as born-again believers, we have inherited enormous rights and privileges.  We are children of the King!

Yet far too many believers are content to trudge through life like lowly beggars, consoling themselves in the knowledge
that they’ll go to heaven by and by.

You don’t have to live that way.  Jesus said He came to bring you abundant life.  The following four keys will help you
appropriate all the benefits the new birth brings.

1.  Unlock God’s promises

God’s Word is literally filled with promises to you, as a believer.  However, those great and precious promises will not
become a reality in your life automatically.  You must unlock them with the key of faith.

Yes, to receive the fullness of God’s promises in your life, you must have faith, and the only source of faith is the Word
of God.

    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  Romans 10:17

When you focus your time and attention on God’s Word, faith is the result.  I’m talking about the kind of faith that will
bring God’s promises down from the realm of the spirit right into your life.

We get a glimpse of how faith works in Hebrews 11:1.

    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.”  

When you first read a promise in God’s Word, it enters your mind as “hope.”  This begins the process of faith.  Then, as
you meditate on that promise and confess it over your situation (saying what God’s Word says about it), hope drops
down into your heart and becomes faith.

2.  Understand the Enemy of Your Faith

In discovering the wonderful truth about faith, don’t make the mistake of thinking all of your problems will instantly vanish
the moment you are born again.

Many new Christians see God’s promises in the Bible and assume they can simply float around on a “faith cloud.”

The Bible however, makes it very clear that we have a real enemy to contend with in this life.

    Be sober, vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he
    may devour.”  I Peter 5:8

Satan will try to come against you with sickness, oppression, and poverty – the very things Jesus died to redeem you
from.  But if you’ll refuse to listen to his lies and stand firm on God’s Word, you’ll rise above every circumstance.  The
most important thing a new believer needs to be aware of is that Satan’s favorite and most insidious tactic is to steal the
Word from your heart.

Jesus exposed this method in the parable of the sower and the seed.

    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.”  Matthew 13:19

It is vital that new believers recognize that they have an enemy who is out to steal the Word from their hearts.

3.  Be Built up in God’s Word

There is a reason Satan is so determined to steal the Word before it can take root in your heart.  That Word will cause
you to grow in power, faith, and authority.

    As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”  I Peter 2:2

In this respect, a brand-new Christian is no different from a newborn baby.  Both must eat in order to grow and gain

Once your spiritual growth and development begin, the new life that is yours in Christ through faith will begin to open to
you.  Before long, the memory of your old life will begin to seem like nothing more than a bad dream.  You’ll wonder how
you could have ever lived without the joy that is available to you through the new birth.

Just be sure to be diligent in your study of God’s Word.  It’s your source of spiritual nourishment.

4.  Get it Settled

If you’ve never been born again or if you have some questions in your mind concerning your relationship with Jesus
Christ, you’re only a prayer away from settling those issues once and for all.

Take a moment to pray this prayer.  Say the words from your heart.  If you mean them, Jesus will come into your heart
and you will be born again.


Lord Jesus,

Be merciful to me as I turn away from a life of sin and turn to You.  I believe that You endured the
cross offering Yourself without spot to God the Father for the remission of my sins.  I also believe
that You are the Son of God, that God raised You from the dead for my justification, and that God
dwelleth in You and You in God.  Lord Jesus, I invite You into my heart to be my Lord and Savior and
ask that You cleanse me in Your blood from all unrighteousness now.  I hereby confess that “Jesus
is Lord.”

Thank-you and Amen.

Now, thank God for saving you, and know for sure that your life will never be the same again: you have been baptized
into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).

The Bible teaches us to be
baptized in water after we confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  It is an outward sign of
our faith.

    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  Mark 16:16

The next step is to be baptized in water…and it doesn’t stop there either.  Press on to receive the gift(s) of the Holy
Spirit (the
Baptism in the Holy Spirit) to be empowered for ministry and to receive your prayer language.


WATER, WIND, &FIRE, by Mac Hammond, Copyright 2001, HARRISON HOUSE.