This post is taken from New Birth Fundamentals, a book by Mallory Patrick. The first chapter is quoted below. New Birth Fundamentals was originally written as a curriculum for Freedom Christian Academy. Besides being an author, Mallory is a Bible teacher, editor, book worm, and my sister-in-law. Mallory chairs In Him Ministries and is affiliated with Christ as Life.
The phrase “born again” has become a term used to de-scribe someone who goes to church and holds a specific set of doctrines or creeds. But what does the Bible say about being born again? The first person to use these words was Jesus, so what He meant when He said them is what they should mean for all of us.
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus in secret. Before the man could get too far into conversation, Jesus went right to the heart of the issue: no one can see or enter God’s kingdom without first being born again (Jn. 3:3, 5)! Nicodemus had never heard the term “born again” before, and it puzzled him. He could not see how anyone could be born a second time; it made no sense! Being born is a point of origin. Beginning to be cannot be repeated!
Thankfully, Jesus had to simplify his point, which not only helps Nicodemus, it helps us, too. He went on to explain that being born again is a different kind of birth. All of us have been born of the flesh, and so we are flesh (Jn. 3:6). But whatever is born of Spirit is spirit. Being born again cannot be me again or you again because we are just flesh. Being born again means that something altogether different begins to be inside of us, something that has not been there before! Do you know who the Spirit is that is “born” in you? It is Christ! Being born again means that instead of just being fleshly you, now you have God’s Spirit living inside of you! God is now your Father because Christ is in you, and God is His Father. You are now a spiritual creature, a brand new creation (II Cor. 5:17).
The other place that the term “born again” can be found is in I Peter 1:23. Peter says that we are born again of incor-ruptible seed. Flesh is the corruptible seed, which means that it decays, eventually. We can see that decay at work in how our bodies break down and eventually die. We can also see decay at work in other ways, such as the tendency in each of us toward sin and selfishness.
When we were born the first time, we were born of the flesh, of corruptible seed. We received the qualities of that seed whether we wanted them or not. Just like an apple seed contains the roots, the trunk, the branches, the leaves, and more fruit, so the corruptible seed contains sin and selfish-ness, even before a person can commit a sinful act!
The good news is that Jesus is a seed, too, and when He is planted inside of a person, He brings everything about Himself in seed form, just like that apple seed. All of Jesus’ qualities get planted inside the believer, so that Jesus can eventually live in His fullness inside of that person, just like planting an apple seed will eventually bring forth a harvest. Jesus is the incorruptible seed, meaning that He is eternal life. He does not possess the qualities of sin or selfishness that cause decay, so if a person is born again, he or she will even-tually express the qualities of the incorruptible seed!