Jesus on the New Birth

Jesus once spoke to a Jewish leader named Nicodemus about the necessity of a rebirth of the human spirit by the action of the Holy Spirit:

Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again'” (John 3:3-7).

At first, Nicodemus thought Jesus was talking about a physical rebirth when He said that a person must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, however, made it clear that He was speaking of a spiritual rebirth. That is, a person’s spirit must be reborn.

The reason that we need a spiritual rebirth is because our spirits have been infected with an evil, sinful nature. That sinful nature is often referred to in the Bible as death. For the sake of understanding, we will refer to that evil nature as spiritual death so we can differentiate between it and physical death (which is when the physical body ceases to function).