THE WAY TO BE REGENERATED
The process, the way, to be born of God is first to confess that we are sinful and good for nothing but to be buried. This is not a small matter. Many people before becoming Christians think that they are good, but upon becoming Christians, they repent and say, “Lord, I am sinful.” However, after they have been regenerated, many do not continue to have the sense that they are sinful to such an extent that they are good for nothing but death and burial. We need the sense that we are truly sinful and good for nothing but burial. We must not think that we are good for anything.
Once in China, a learned man with a doctoral degree and a high rank came to our gospel meeting. After the meeting, some young brothers told me, “If this man will be saved, he will be a great help to the church.” I asked them, “Brothers, do you think this man is good for the church? You are one hundred percent wrong. This great man is good for nothing. As Christians, the first thing we must do is be buried. If you commit yourself to the church, the church first must bury you. We do not need that great man; he is good for nothing but to be buried.” To bury people is the right way to build up the church. The more the worldly giants come into the church, the more the church will be divided and damaged. All the worldly people need to be buried. Do not forget that in the church we baptize people to bury them. Do you want to come to the church? Then you must be terminated and buried. We are good for nothing but death and burial.
If we realize this, we are blessed because resurrection life comes out of death. If we realize that we are good for nothing but death, we will be willing to come to the Lord to receive Him. Then, we will have the Lord as life in us; we will have the second life, the divine life, which is God Himself in Christ through the Holy Spirit. What is the real way to be born again? It is simple. It is to realize that we are sinful, that we are good for nothing but death, and that we need the second life, the divine life, the heavenly life, which is God Himself. This very life today is in Christ, and this very Christ today is the Spirit.
When we repent and recognize and realize that we are good for nothing but death and that we need the life of God, we simply come to Him, open ourselves with our heart and spirit, and receive Him as life and everything to us. Then we are born anew of God, we have the life of God, and we become the sons of God. This is the beginning of the experience of life. The beginning of the experience of life is to be born of God to have His life. We cannot have the experiences of life if we do not have life. The first experience is to receive this life, which is God Himself in Christ.
THE RESULT OF REGENERATION
The issue of regeneration is that we have life. Furthermore, since we have the life of God, we become the sons of God. To be the sons of God is not a small matter. The Lord Jesus is the Son of God who became the Son of Man by incarnation, and we are the sons of man who became the sons of God by regeneration. This is a very basic matter. We need to realize that regeneration makes us the sons of God, the children of God.
Moreover, according to the Scriptures, since we have been regenerated, we have become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). There is a difference between the old creation and the new creation. The old creation had nothing of God in it, but God Himself is in the new creation. We have God within us, so we have become the new creation.
Since we have been regenerated, we also have become one with God in the Spirit. First Corinthians 6:17 says, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” What are we today? Are we Americans? Are we Chinese? Because we have been regenerated, that is, born of God, we should have the boldness and boast to say, “We are the sons of God, we are the new creation, and we are joined to God as one spirit!” This is not a small matter.
Do you have the assurance that you have been born of God? A little over two centuries ago, a certain young slave girl in America was saved. She was so happy and full of joy. A gentleman came to be a guest at her master’s home. Seeing that she was so happy, he asked her, “What are you happy for?” She said, “Oh, I have been saved by Jesus!” That gentleman joked with her, saying, “Don’t laugh too much. If you laugh too much, you may be lost. The hands of Jesus are so big, and you are so little. You might slip between His fingers and drown.” The little girl told this gentleman, “If His fingers were so big, and I am so small, it would be possible to be lost. But now I have become one of His fingers.” She was right. We have become one with Jesus. We are now one with God because we have been regenerated, born of Him.
BEING REGENERATED IN OUR HUMAN SPIRIT
In what part of us did the Holy Spirit regenerate us? It is in our human spirit. John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The first Spirit is the Spirit of God, while the second spirit is our regenerated human spirit. Our being born of God is accomplished through the Holy Spirit in our spirit. The Holy Spirit comes into our spirit to enliven our spirit with the Lord Jesus as life. Therefore, by regeneration our spirit has been enlivened, regenerated, and recreated, remade. When God first created our spirit, there was nothing of God in it, but the second time, when God comes to regenerate our spirit, God does so with Himself. God comes into our spirit to remake us, to recreate us, to regenerate us, in our spirit. This is a wonderful matter. If we are clear about this, we will know how to go on in life. Our spirit has been regenerated with God, with Christ as life. Therefore, we have a new spirit, an enlivened spirit, a spirit with Christ as life. In the following chapters we will further consider what we have received through regeneration.
(Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)