The great characteristic of a Christian is “being born again”, which means being a new person, in the sense of leaving behind things that do not please God. The apostle Paul said of this about being born again: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The Bible tells us about a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, this was a very important Pharisee among the Jews. We well know that the Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as a true Master, much less as the Son of God, however, that Great Master of Israel called Nicodemus approached Jesus at night and said the following words:
Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:2)
These are some words where Nicodemus seems to recognize Jesus as an envoy from God, but we certainly don’t know his intentions. The truth is that Jesus ignores Nicodemus’ words and responds: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3). This verse is very important, for several reasons, one of them is that Jesus speaks of the new birth as something vital, in the sense that, we cannot be Christians without experiencing a change, the new birth is the mark of a true believer.
Something else we should know is that Jesus knew the intentions of men’s hearts and also knew the Pharisees very well.
That master named Nicodemus, is surprised at the words of Jesus and shows that he did not even understand what it is to be born again. The Pharisees were people who claimed to keep the law, but Jesus once described them as “washed sepulchers”.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus about the new birth continues, and Nicodemus seeks explanation about it, since he knew nothing about it.
Jesus continues explaining:
5 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.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Nicodemus could not understand any of this, and in the next verse he asks Jesus: How can this be done? Although this man was a scholar of the law, someone who knew the Scriptures did not know the meaning of the new birth.
That new birth of which Christ speaks occurs when we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, it is impossible to be born again without believing this great truth. And in verse 11 Jesus hints that the Pharisees did not accept his testimony.
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
The Bible tells us about the new birth many times. And this is the greatest miracle that can be experienced: To be changed in such a way that there are no traces of what we were before. Christ has transformed us and we are new creatures in Him.