THE SIGN OF REGENERATION
Let us now proceed to chapter three. In this chapter we have the signs of regeneration (vv. 1-8), the brass serpent (vv. 9-16), and the bride (vv. 22-36). Some may be surprised to hear that regeneration is a sign. In chapter three of John there is a definite ground for us to say that regeneration is a sign. In verse 2 Nicodemus said to the Lord Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” This indicates that the subject of Nicodemus’ conversation with the Lord is the signs He was doing. After Nicodemus referred to these signs, the Lord answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a man is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). Does this not indicate that being born anew is a sign? The Lord Jesus seemed to be saying to Nicodemus, “You are talking about signs. I would like to speak about a sign that is certainly worthy of consideration. This is the sign of signs, the sign of being born anew.” Regeneration, therefore, is indeed a sign.
THE REALITY OF REGENERATION
We have pointed out that the Gospel of John is a book of mysteries and that these mysteries are divine. Do you not believe that our being regenerated is a mystery? No doubt, our regeneration is a mystery. Do you understand fully what regeneration is? Can you analyze it? Can you explain adequately what happened to you when you were regenerated? Can regeneration be studied scientifically in a laboratory? Scientists may say that there is no such thing as regeneration, for it is beyond their ability to analyze it. When we say that regeneration is a mystery, unbelieving scientists would say that this is altogether something unreal. But we would declare, “Regeneration is a reality. Your pride in your scientific knowledge is vanity. Regeneration is much more real than you are. Nothing you have and nothing you are is real. Everything is vanity. But our regeneration is the reality in human life. We can testify that in human experience nothing is as real as regeneration.”
What in our human life is more real than regeneration? Suppose you have a gold coin in your hand. That coin, of course, is real. You can look at it and touch it. But a gold coin is not as real as regeneration is. Regeneration is the greatest reality in human life.
But although regeneration is a reality, we cannot analyze it or understand it thoroughly. Furthermore, because regeneration is a mystery, it is also a sign. I can testify that after I was regenerated many things happened to me that I could not understand or explain. Has this not been your experience as well? Young people, since you have been regenerated, have your parents not had difficulty explaining certain things that have happened to you? The parents of a young brother may say, “What has happened to our son? He is quite different now from what he was before. As time goes by, he seems more and more different. We cannot explain what has happened, but we know definitely that he is not the same.” This is an illustration of regeneration being a sign.
A person who has been regenerated bears a sign upon him. Every genuine Christian, every one who has been born of God, bears such a sign. Anyone who claims to be a Christian but who does not have the sign of regeneration is a pseudo-Christian, a false believer. Regeneration is a sign, and every one who has been regenerated bears this sign.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)