A REGENERATED MAN
We still need to look at the Scripture to understand the matter of regeneration. First Corinthians 2:14: "But a soulish man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he is not able to know them because they are discerned spiritually." An unregenerated person is a fleshly person. Not only is he unable to understand the things of God, but he regards them as foolishness. He cannot comprehend even if he wants to, for he lacks that faculty of comprehension. Without regeneration he does not have that other life, and as a result he does not have that power of understanding.
Read Romans 8:5-8 again: "For those who are according to the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but those who are according to the spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace. Because the mind set on the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, for neither can it be. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
These verses show us clearly that there are some people who mind the flesh and live according to the flesh. They are under the control of the flesh and are against God. Therefore, they can never submit to the laws of God. They cannot even if they wanted to. Much less can they please God. A regenerated person, however, follows the Holy Spirit and enjoys life and peace. The difference between the two kinds of persons lies in whether or not the life has been exchanged.
BORN OF THE SPIRIT
John 3:3: "Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." If a man only possesses his natural life, that is, the life that he originally owns as a man, he cannot see the kingdom of God! What is the kingdom of God? Romans 14:17 says, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." The kingdom of God is about these spiritual things: righteousness, peace, and joy. And all these are in the Holy Spirit. Without regeneration, these things are incomprehensible and impossible to see. If a man wants to see these things, he has to be regenerated.
THE SEPARATING LINE—LIFE
John 3:6: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Christ Jesus gave us a clear separating line. What is born of the Spirit is absolutely different from what is born of the flesh. He would never come to improve the flesh of man. That which is born of the flesh is still flesh. No matter how much you reform, it is still flesh. There is no other way but to be born of the Spirit. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Regeneration is not a reckoning of "everything in the past as dead yesterday and of everything in the future as born today." There is no such thing! Without an exchange of life, even if you are born over and over again, you are still the flesh. There is still no regeneration. There is a wide chasm between the two lives which cannot be crossed over. Only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
I only wish to ask you a few questions. Are you reforming your life, or have you received God’s life? Are you in the process of improving yourself, or are you ready to accept the life of God? The true faith of Jesus Christ gives the life of God to man. This is the life that Christ offers to man. If you receive it, you are a regenerated person, and you will be able to live the life of God on earth.
Blessed are those who have lost hope in their own life. A divine life has been prepared. If you are satisfied with your own life, Christ can do nothing. He never helps you improve your own life. God wants you to be born again and to exchange your life. This is the salvation of Christ.
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)