The New Birth

By R.A. Torrey   •   October 4, 2010

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One of the most fundamental and vital doctrines in Christianity is the doctrine of the New Birth.

Our Lord Jesus teaches in the third chapter of John that the necessity of the New Birth is universal. In the third verse He says, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (KJV).

Not one single man or woman or child will be able to see the Kingdom of God except they be born from above.

The necessity of the New Birth is not only universal, it is imperative. Our Lord Jesus says to Nicodemus, “You must be born again,” not merely you may be, but “you must be.”

Jesus taught that the necessity of the New Birth is also absolute. Nothing else will take the place of the New Birth.

Why is the New Birth absolutely necessary? Verse 6 tells us why. The reason is because “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” All that we can get by our human parentage, no matter how godly or pious or moral or cultured, is that which is natural and not spiritual, and the Kingdom of God is spiritual. In order to enter that Kingdom we must be born of the Spirit.

What must we do in order to be born again?

  • First of all, we are born again by the Holy Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit is a living person, and by His transforming power working directly in our spirits, we are regenerated.
  • The New Birth is wrought through the instrumentality of the Word of God. We read in 1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the Word of God.”
  • The New Birth is wrought by the Holy Spirit through His Word in us when we look to or believe on Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has been made in the likeness of sinful flesh and lifted up on the cross of Calvary, where He made a perfect atonement for sin, and as soon as we look at Him on the cross and put our trust in Him as our sin-bearer, in that moment we are born again.”

For more on What Is a Christian, see:
A Choice, a Challenge, a Change by Billy Graham
How to Know You’re a Christian by Greg Laurie

R.A. Torrey (1856-1928) was an American evangelist, pastor, educator and writer. Adapted from “The Voice of God in the Present Hour,” by R.A. Torrey.

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9 Comments

  1. joyelaineedwinajankt says:

    Thankyou. John 3:16-17 “the B-I-B-L-E.”"the churches one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.Amen”

  2. alex medvedev(russia) says:

    Yes, we all need to be born again, but this is the first step. It's not enought for salvation – you need to live like Jesus and be HIS man or woman. There are some things we should do – and He will help us. Salvation is a process with several parts, you need to have it all, and it's possible only with His help

  3. Rose says:

    This is in response to Carolyn d…we are all sinners and will continue to sin till the day we die and if we say there is no sin in is we lie. That is why Jesus took ALL our sin – past, present and future and paid the penalty for it on that cross. So yes I beleive that once I trust Him for my salvation I am saved for life. I will continue to sin – we all will – we are human. That is why he took out place. I thank you Lord Jesus for saving my soul and providing me access to Heaven which i could not achieve by my merits. You can never doo enough good on your own to pay for all the bad you've done. You need to study the Word of God a little closer.

  4. Carolyn d says:

    We must live a holy and acceptable life. I'm afraid some people believe the lie: that once saved always saved. We can't say we are saved one day and live for the devil the rest of our life and expect to go to heaven. All Christians need to be baptized as soon as converting, but that is not a must to reach the kingdom. The thief on the cross did not have the chance to be baptized but Jesus said: this day you will be with me in paradise!!!

  5. Steven says:

    “Unless you are born of water and spirit, you can not enter the kingdom of God” many people treat baptism as a ritual. Including me many years ago. But it is more than that. One must truly understand the meaning of it and study the cross, than only he will experience the new birth. If not, many Christian continue to sin, continue to live in the old self of sinful nature.Who gave us the new life, Holy Spirit. The seed of the Holy Spirit = Word of God. Many Christian dont study The Word of God, they dont have the knowledge about the Truth and Salvation. We have to help them. Lets pray for a revival of all Christians to be walking in Lights again, turning back to God, turning back to the Word of God and carry the cross.

  6. Anne says:

    I thank God every time I read such rich and encouraging word from this Ministry. This is what God can do by His mercies. Indeed we are grateful for Eternal Life. Amen.

  7. Billy says:

    Thank you so much for this real Biblical message on how to be born again and must be for everyone to enter God's glory. God bless you more.

  8. Rini says:

    I like the fact that you brought up the necessity of being born-again. Its an often overlooked fact. So many people ignore this important teaching that Jesus taught and continue living as the same old 'old-man' and forget that through the resurrection of Jesus we all will also walk in newness of life. Thank you for this reminder!

  9. Chris says:

    Thank you for the ministries God has entrusted to you and the zeal displayed by you in advancing the Kingdom of God, one day, one soul, at a time! Cwc