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“Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” – John 3:7

       DO NOT THINK you are expected to understand the second birth; you can never understand it. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s thoughts higher than your thoughts, and no quantity of erudition, philosophy, or wisdom can ever enable you to comprehend this sublime concept. But you need not be as those who wrest things hard to be understood unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16), filtering Christ’s words through the polluted prism of human rational. This message of “Ye must be born again” is not aimed at the head, but at the heart. It was not spoken to be pondered, but to be believed. Cease now from these ineffectual attempts at apprehending it, for no true satisfaction may be derived from grappling with a subject entirely beyond the realm of man’s finite intellect. Whatever questions you may have of this magnificent doctrine may be answered by the Word of God, and it is to that divine library I now direct your attention. But before I begin, I beseech you, dear reader, if you have never been born again, to ponder what follows in these pages, for except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).


Let us suppose you stand before a judge. “You have broken the law,” the judge declares, “and those who break this law are to be executed. I therefore sentence you to death.” Oh, the horror! You have committed a crime, and you are to die as punishment for having done so. Now, you may implore the judge to change his mind, avowing to make amends and never violate the law hereafter, but your pleas are in vain. What is done is done; you are guilty, this is the punishment which has been meted out for your crime, and you are entirely powerless to escape it. Only a pardon can save you from receiving this penalty.

Such is the sordid lot which engulfs humanity. “The law” mentioned above is an allegory for God’s holy law – the Old Testament law of Moses – and sin is the transgression of this law (1 John 3:4). As the punishment for the crime in the above paragraph is death, so too the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This includes not only physical death (Romans 5:12), but a second death resulting in eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15, 21:8). As all – yourself included – have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), there is none righteous (Romans 3:10), and therefore none – not one – who can escape this wretched fate. You can make a commitment to reform your life; you can pledge to turn from your sins; and you can declare your intention to obey God’s every command, but these are futile endeavors, for no matter how sincerely, or earnestly, or diligently you labor to escape this condemnation, you cannot. You have nothing to offer the righteous Judge but your filthy rags of self-righteousness (Isaiah 64:6), which are wholly incapable of placating His wrath. He that believeth not is condemned already (John 3:18), the wrath of God abides on you (John 3:36), and but for a pardon, you await eternal damnation.

But a pardon is available, dear reader, for though God abhors your sins, He loves you more than words can express. As the Scripture proclaims, “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). To receive this pardon, you need righteousness – not your own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ. For Christ – the sinless Son of God – gave Himself as your substitute at Calvary, taking upon Him all your iniquities and paying for them all with His precious blood. After He perished upon the cross, He was buried and triumphantly rose from the dead three days later, forever conquering sin and death. This is the Gospel, as defined by 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Therefore, if, for salvation, you believe the Gospel – trusting no longer what you do or not do, but what Jesus did, believing His once-for-all sacrifice is all that is necessary to pay your sin debt – you will go to Heaven when you die. By trusting Christ as your Savior, you have been born again. You now are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; your sins have been forever washed away by the blood of Christ; and His righteousness has been imputed to your account, so that God the Father no longer sees your feeble self-righteousness, but the perfect righteousness of His Son. You stand guilty no longer, and may joyously declare the beautiful melody of that glorious verse, “He that believeth on him is not condemned!” (John 3:18).


The answer to this question lies in our text verse: “YE must be born again.” Whoever you are, wherever you are from, whatever you have done or will do – YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN! There is no “chosen” race of men who may ride the coattails of ethnicity, patronage, or predestination to the kingdom of God. The only way to Heaven is through faith solely in Jesus Christ, and as the Father of lights is no respecter of persons, no exceptions ever have, or ever will be made.

And yet still, you remain unconvinced this unfailing principle applies to yourself. Perhaps you cavil against the very mention of God and Bible, having been persuaded that sin and judgement, heaven and hell, draw upon ancient myths crafted to control man and stifle his happiness. You will declare, “I do not need to be born again. I don’t believe in God or the Bible.” If I decided that I did not believe in the sun, it would nevertheless continue as it is, for the sun’s existence is not dependent upon my belief in it. That the sun exists is not a matter of opinion. So it is with the Almighty. Unlike Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, God does not need men to believe in Him to exist, nor must He dwell only in the recesses of their imaginations. If men believe not, He abides faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). He is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:17). His Word is not bound (2 Timothy 2:9), neither subject to the opinions nor dependent upon the interpretations of its readers. Heaven and Hell are real (Revelation 20-21), whether you believe they are, or not. Judgement awaits every soul after death (Hebrews 9:27), whether you believe it does, or not. And you must be born again (John 3:7), whether you believe you must, or not.

But perhaps I bore you with these truths. From the security of life, you may exercise the free will your Maker has endowed to deny His existence and deprecate His Word. You may apply every ounce of your faculties to breaking His commandments and belittling His Book, to spurning His goodness and scoffing at His mercy. You may even be so bold as to lay the blame for life’s miseries at the Feet like unto fine brass. After all, it is easy now to ridicule and reject the Prince of Peace. But as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgement, at the end of this life you will stand before your Sovereign. And what with your impudence, and irreverence, and impiety, as the books are opened, and the deeds and thoughts and words which you hurled headlong at Jehovah are laid bare? Neither wit, nor “science”, nor logic, nor reason can answer the anguish of a soul damned to an eternity amidst the ceaseless torments of Hell. And though the Lake of Fire shall be your permanent abode, never will there be time enough to “get over” that everlasting horror.

Perhaps you deny that Christ is the only way to Heaven. You will insist, “I don’t need to be born again. I believe there are many different ways to life. You can’t know for certain your Christ is the only way. In fact, he may not be the way at all.” It begets a most melancholy reflection to observe how prevalent this view is. Try as they might, the world can never reconcile Christ with their religions, for no amount of sincerity, earnestness, or purity of intentions can neutralize that incontrovertible reality: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” In noting the exclusivity of the Savior, I am not offering speculations; I am presenting the truths of the Scriptures you have sadly rejected so you may keep the commandments and doctrines of men. I can know salvation is obtained strictly through faith in Jesus Christ. I can know there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, than the precious name above every name, Jesus Christ. For God Almighty, Who cannot lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2), has declared that Jesus Christ is not “a” way, but THE way; He is not “a” truth, but THE truth; He is not “a” life, but THE life. Christ is the door, and he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber (John 10:1). The same is a thief and a robber who climbs up through the way of Allah. The same is a thief and a robber who climbs up through the way of Buddha. The same is a thief and a robber who climbs up through the way of sacraments. The same is a thief and a robber who climbs up through the way of “experience”. There is only one God (Isaiah 45:5). There is only way (John 14:6). There is only one door (John 10:9). There is only one plan of salvation (John 3:3). And there is only one end for those who seek Heaven any way but through Christ Jesus: eternal damnation in the fires of Hell (Revelation 20:15).

Perhaps you are wrapped up in religion, content in your self-righteousness to follow labyrinthic rules and confounding rituals which turn salvation into a lifelong endeavor. You will say, “I don’t need to be born again. I believe in God, pray, go to church, and read the Bible. I’m religious.” But ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. Tell me, good man, where in the Bible do you find the principle that religion is the path to eternal life? The world may well consider Christianity and the Bible to be “religion”, but they are mistaken. Christianity is not “a religion”. How can it be, when it is so utterly incompatible with religion? Religion is man’s pitiful substitute for the simplicity that is in Christ, a collection of human codes and mortal precepts set squarely against the Gospel and the grace of God. Religion originated in Adam and Eve’s futile attempt to cover their sins and shame with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7), blossomed in Cain’s pitiful labors to please God by works rather than by faith, and continues apace in every system which presents salvation as an object to be earned rather than a gift to be received. The sacramental salvation of Catholicism is not Christianity; it is religion. The “perseverance” of Calvinism is not Christianity; it is religion. The “experience” of Charismatics is not Christianity; it is religion. The “turn from your sins” and “make Jesus your Lord” doctrine of devils is not Christianity; it is religion. Religion is the divers and strange doctrines which the Scriptures so warn us against (Hebrews 13:9). Religion was not nailed to a tree to bear the weight of the world’s sins. Religion was not buried and did not triumphantly rise from the dead. Religion is not alive evermore. Religion has no blood which it shed for you, no wounds which it bore for you, no life which it can give to you. To satisfy religion, you must do, but what can you do? Your works are futile; your righteousness is as filthy rags; and there is nothing an unholy vessel may offer to justify itself before a holy God. All the religious fervor and ceremony in the world can do nothing to save you from the damnation of hell. You must realize, friend, that salvation is not found in religion; it is found in Jesus Christ. And though religion does not, will not, cannot get you to Heaven, the righteousness of Jesus Christ can get you to Heaven if you simply trust Him for salvation.

Perhaps you are convinced simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is insufficient. You will remark, “I don’t think it’s enough to be born again. I also have to confess and turn from my sins, be baptized, surrender my life to God, invite Jesus into my heart, and do good works.” O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? YOU think that it is not enough to be born again. Is it of no consequence that God thinks otherwise? The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Romans 1:16); there is no saving power in religion, nor works, nor baptism, nor confessing sins, nor turning over a new leaf, nor joining a church. You cannot contribute anything to salvation, for no flesh can be justified by the deeds of the law (Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16). If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness would have been by the law (Galatians 3:21). But righteousness does not come by the law, lest Christ gave Himself in vain; righteousness comes only through faith in Jesus Christ, and no combination of grace and works can ever produce the new birth (Romans 11:6). Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 2:18-19). Permit me to testify that, by the grace of God, I will go to Heaven when I leave this earthly tabernacle. But I will not go to Heaven because of what I do, or cease from doing, or commit to doing; I will go to Heaven only through faith in what Jesus DID – dying at Calvary for my sins, being buried, and being raised from the dead unto my justification – as all that is necessary to pay my sin debt. Therefore, I ask, dear reader, what are you trusting for salvation? Are you trusting Christ, plus your good deeds? Are you trusting Christ, plus a church membership? Are you trusting Christ, plus a changed life? Are you trusting Christ, plus baptism? I implore you to consider the answer thoroughly, for if you seek to enter Heaven on behalf of your many wonderful works, you await that solemn pronouncement: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).

Perhaps you are imbued by sins of the vilest species, so that you think it impossible so grotesque a wretch as yourself could ever dream of obtaining the mercy of a righteous God. You will despondently declare, “I can never be born again. I am so saturated with sin’s crimson stains to ever be worthy of God’s goodness.” Make no mistake: God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). His wrath is hot and righteous against your sinful deeds (Romans 1:18). He reviles the sordid fruits of your iniquities; He abhors the abominable acts of your unrighteousness. But, friend, you must realize His righteous indignation is tempered by His boundless for you. And though you may be the foulest of sinners; though you may have indulged yourself in licentiousness and libertinage, may have defiled all that was pure with your inexorable iniquities and odious transgressions, no amount of wickedness can ever inoculate you from this marvelous love. Therefore, do not worry that you are “unworthy” of the grace of God. There is no such creature who can claim to merit the Almighty’s goodness. To be made whole, you need only come to Jesus, for “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). And if you come to Christ, all your sins, however vile; all your iniquities, however evil; all your deeds, however loathsome, He will forever wash away, so that though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.


To be born again is to receive so great salvation, the gift of God, eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is to have your name written in Heaven in the Lamb’s book of life, to be adopted by the Father of lights, to be made an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. It is to have your sins washed away by the precious blood of Jesus, and to have His righteousness imputed to your account. To be born again is surely not a “religious experience” or “sensation”. To be born again is not to make amends to change your ways, nor to commit your life to God, nor to confess Jesus as your “Lord”. To be born again is not to be baptized by human hands, nor to join a religion, nor to be confirmed in a church. For to be born again is not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13). It is the spectacular, supernatural birth of water and of the Spirit which occurs when you trust Jesus Christ alone for salvation, indwelling you with the Holy Spirit and giving you everlasting life. And as this salvation was not dependent on your goodness, neither can it be lost by your badness, for by trusting Christ, you have been sealed with that holy Sprit of promise (Ephesians 1:13) and may know, beyond all doubt, you have eternal life (1 John 5:13). When this earthly life, which is but a vapor, vanishes away, you shall walk golden streets in the presence of the Lamb that was slain for your sins, and forever enjoy the glories of Heaven with your Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord.


If you have not been born again, you are in a most pitiable position. What, may I ask, is suspending you from a headlong descent into hell? No devotion to church can spare you from its ghastly caverns. No display of piety can rescue you from its flaming valleys. No quantity of good deeds can save you from its plains of torment. “But that’s not fair!” you petulantly snarl concerning the fate of the unsaved. “That’s not right! That’s not just!” It isn’t fair? Let me inquire of you, then, is it fair that God loves those who despise and reject Him? Is it right that He sent His only begotten Son as the perfect substitute for the unrighteous and the ungodly? Is it just that the spotless Lamb of God shed His precious blood to pay a debt He did not owe, because man owed a debt he could not pay? He, the mighty God; He, the everlasting Father; He, the Prince of Peace, under no obligation to provide sinners redemption, howbeit condescended to perish at Calvary so all men through Him might be saved. And you proclaim the King of Kings is to be blamed when they reject Him to pursue their oafish religions? A great deal of folly is necessary to reach so nonsensically blasphemous a conclusion.

But let us dreadfully assume you will perish without having the second birth. What shall greet you after the righteous Judge pronounces your condemnation? The crackling of fire – an everlasting fire – shall pierce your ears. You shall smell the noisome stench of brimstone. You shall taste the pungency of sulfur. You shall feel, throughout your body, the torment of a heat so inexorable and implacable no words can aptly describe the agony which must accompany it. And then, as these horrible sensations stagger you, you are compelled to at last open your eyes, and behold the eternal horror you have inherited. All around you rage the flames – monstrous flames, vicious flames, with a sordid glow to their sizzle and a vengeful pattern to their flickering. From these emerge putrid wisps of smoke, plunging into your eyes, choking your senses, hindering your breath. Your vision clears but for a moment, and you see towering above you caverns of odious formation. Before you lay chasms of sultry despair. And around you stand the host of the damned – fellow souls who never trusted Christ – continuing in their wickedness (Revelation 22:15), enduring the same abominable fate, and condemned to endure the same abominable fate, for eternity.

Now, you see the “liberation” of humanism was a lie. Now, you see the “zen” of Oriental philosophy was a lie. Now you see Lordship salvation, baptismal regeneration, experience, feelings, and sacraments were all lies. Now, all too late, you see the foolishness of rejecting Christ. You did not need to bear this. You could have received everlasting life by trusting Jesus as Savior, but you would not have Him. You would have every way but Him. And so you desire sweat to stream down your weary brow to relieve your suffering, but none comes, and none ever will come. You wish for but a drop of water to soothe your parched throat, but none is available, and none ever will be available. You seek relief of this everlasting destruction, but none arrives, and none ever will arrive. All the while the flames grow fiercer, and the roar grows louder, and the smoke grows stronger, and the torment grows more unbearable, day and night, forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, in the Lake of Fire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.


The horrible images depicted in the preceding paragraphs need never flash before your eyes, neither must you be a partaker of this wretched doom. God loves you, dear reader, and the mightiest eloquence cannot encapsulate the fullness of His love. The sharpest human arithmetic cannot calculate its magnitude. The finest artistic ability cannot depict its depth. In contemplating this divine subject, I am reminded of those dulcet lines:

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.”

There verily be no better summary of this magnificent love than the Scripture which rings as true today as the day it was first declared: “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.” Oh, how dearly God loves you! How unconditionally He loves you! How wonderfully He loves you! How thoroughly He loves you, that He sent His Son to die a criminal’s death on a cross so you, through Him, might live eternally. Will you, then, be born again? It is very simple to do so (2 Corinthians 11:3). You must know you are a sinner, guilty of violating God’s holy law and deserving of eternal damnation as a result of your iniquities. You must believe that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, gave Himself on the cross to pay for your sins, was buried, and bodily resurrected on the third day, unto your justification. And if you believe you are a sinner in need of a Savior, believe Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again, and accept His sacrifice as total payment for your sins, you are born again. I invite you now to trust Christ as your Savior, and receive the gift of eternal life He purchased for you with His precious blood. I pray that you do so. Amen.

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