“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18)
The term “born again” has come into wide use—too wide and popular, in fact, for many who use it have little comprehension of its meaning. First of all, there can be no real Christian who is not a “born-again Christian.” Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Ye must be born again” (John 3:3, 7).
The Creator of the new birth is the Creator of the universe, as the text declares. He begat us as a kind of first fruits of His creatures. The new birth is not a new leaf, or a new morality, but a new creation! “Except a man be born of . . . the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
The miracle is accomplished through faith in Christ, believing the record of His saving work, as revealed by the Scriptures. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).
Those who are truly born again will inevitably exhibit the characteristics of a spiritual birth, just as those who are born physically exhibit signs of physical life. As one characteristic of the new birth, “whosoever is born of God doth not commit [i.e., ‘practice’] sin” (1 John 3:9). Another sign is that of true Christian love, for “every one that loveth is born of God” (1 John 4:7). Furthermore, “whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
The new birth is not a religious cliché but a miracle generating everlasting life. “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). HMM