VII. THE WAY TO EXPERIENCE REGENERATION
A. To Be Born of Water—to Be Convicted concerning Sin and to Repent and Confess Our Sins
The way the believers experience regeneration has two aspects. The first aspect is to be born of water (John 3:5) by being convicted concerning sin (16:8-11) and by repenting of and confessing our sins (Acts 2:38).
B. To Be Born of the Spirit—to Call on and Receive Christ and to Believe into Christ
The second aspect of the way the believers experience regeneration is to be born of the Spirit (John 3:5) by calling on and receiving Christ (Rom. 10:13; John 1:12) and by believing into Christ (3:36a). When a person hears the gospel, his conscience is touched and he is convicted. Thus, he repents, confesses his sins, and calls on the Lord Jesus. Once he confesses, prays, and calls on the Lord Jesus, something happens within him. He feels that someone has come into him. Previously he was alone, but now there is another One within him. This One gives him joy and peace. This One does not merely change him but transforms him. I was born into Christianity, grew up in Christianity, and was educated in Christianity. However, I reached the age of nineteen and was still not saved. But one day I heard the gospel, and I could not help but believe. I confessed my sins to the Lord and I prayed. I became different. I used to like certain things, but after I was saved, I did not like them anymore. At that time I was only nineteen years old, but I began to love to read the Bible. I read the Bible constantly from morning until evening. When I was ready to go to sleep, I placed my Bible beside my pillow, and I would still read a couple of verses before turning out the light. Then when I woke up in the morning, I would reach for my Bible to read. Many of us can give the same kind of testimony.
First, the Lord Jesus died on the cross for our redemption. Then in resurrection He became a life-giving Spirit. Now He is omnipresent, and He has come to us. Millions of people can testify to this. In 1942 we were having a big gospel campaign in the church during the time of the New Year festival in my hometown Chefoo in the province of Shantung. Someone from Manchuria who was working in the customs office and who made a lot of money came to see me after these meetings. He said to me, “Mr. Lee, your messages have clearly shown me all the problems within me. I have no questions at all, and I am ready to believe. Please tell me how to believe that I may receive what you have spoken in your messages.” I said, “It’s very simple. When you go home today, try to find a quiet place. Then you pray to the Lord Jesus and confess your sins to Him. According to the feeling in your conscience, confess all your sins, one by one, from your youth until now. At the end you should call on the Lord Jesus.” When he went home, it was not too late but not that early either. His wife and children were waiting for him. Formerly, he liked to joke with them, but this day when he came home, he was very solemn and did not joke. Therefore, his wife and children took notice of him, and they saw him enter his bedroom and shut the door. The children looked through the window and saw him kneeling down and praying there. The next day when he went back to work at the customs office, he was a completely different person. There are many such stories. Why was he different? He was different because Someone had entered into him.
Everyone who is genuinely saved by believing into the Lord Jesus has Someone who entered into him. This One is God, this One is Jesus, and this One is the life-giving Spirit. This is regeneration. When we are regenerated, we are born of God; that is, God is born into us. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name.” These believers are born of God. We are born once of our parents. However, God’s original intention was to enter into man. Therefore, He redeemed us by dying on the cross for our sins; then He regenerated us by entering into us through His becoming the life-giving Spirit. Thus, He dwells in us to be our life.
(God's Salvation in Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)