Summary: An examination of the 4 births that God has designed for every person to experience.
I WAS READING A BOOK ABOUT HEAVEN RECENTLY in which the author compared the death of a Christian to birth. He said our world is like a womb; we are bound within her. Death for the believer is deliverance to a life beyond our imagining.
Interesting, isn’t it?---comparing death to birth. Well, that set my mind to thinking about the whole concept of birth leading to birth. After meditating upon the scriptures I came to realize that actually each person can and should experience four births:
1. Physical birth: out of our mother’s womb.
2. Spiritual birth: out of the womb of darkness and
condemnation—being “born again.”
3. A second spiritual birth: out of the womb of self-
centeredness to Christ-centeredness---the
4. Heaven: out of the womb of this life of sin and
sadness to the dwelling place of God
There are at least two characteristics that are common to all births---even these 4 aforementioned:
1. Pain: physical and spiritual
2. A transfer from one state of existence to another
One of these birth experiences is purely physical and involuntary in nature. Two of them are purely spiritual and voluntary in nature—salvation and sanctification.
And one of these 4 is both physical and spiritual: death and heaven.
The last two (sanctification and entrance into heaven) are completely dependent upon the second. In other words, as Jesus said in John, chapter 3: “You must be born again.” Because of the importance of this experience, we’re going to focus in upon it for a few moments.
I. What Exactly Is the New Birth?
A. It is spiritual in nature. It is like the wind—cannot be seen or touched, but its effects are clearly visible.
B. It is a new creation. II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are become new.” Paul spoke from personal experience---from a persecutor to a preacher of the gospel; from a legalist to a lover of lost souls.
In 1833 Charles Darwin went to the South Sea Islands looking for the so-called “missing link.” As he studied the cannibals who lived there he concluded that no creatures were more primitive and hw as convinced that nothing on earth could possible lift them to a higher level. He thought that he had indeed found a lower stratum of humanity that would fit his theory of evolution.
Thirty-four years later he returned to the same islands. To his amazement he discovered churches, schools, and homes occupied by some of those former cannibals. In fact, many of them wore clothes and frequently gathered to sing hymns. The reason was soon learned. Missionary John G. Paton had been there proclaiming the truths of salvation! Darwin was so moved by their transformation that he made a generous contribution to the London Missionary Society. His “Missing link” remaining missing.
C. The new birth is a passing from death to life. Sin kills (Romans 6:23). Every person is dead in his trespasses until he is born again.
D. The new birth is a calling out of darkness into God’s light. Darkness is always associated with evil, confusion, uncertainty, and fear. But the light of God’s truth usher in a new life of certainty, clarity, purity, peace, and security.