THE NEW BIRTH
There was a man of the Pharisees,
named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by
night and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher
come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest
except God be with him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
John, Chapter III, verses 1-7.
The New Birth is the essence of Jesus' mission. Nowhere else will one find so succinctly and clearly the requirements of the glad tidings of salvation which Jesus received from the Father and proclaimed to mankind. All the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament are here fulfilled.
The meaning of the New Birth, and how it brings salvation to mankind through Jesus the Christ, has never been explained; it is found neither in the Gospel of John, such as it has come down to us, nor in any of the many interpretations of immortality which the fathers of the early church or the spiritual leaders of the later reform sects have sought to inject into the passage.
For the New Birth is not a product of speculation or reasoning coming from the mind; it is an experience of the soul and the fountainhead of that great joy and gladness which constituted the heritage of the early Christians, a heritage now lost to the churches of Christianity. The New Birth resulted in the joyful knowledge that, on leaving this earthly existence, man could look forward with certainty to a life of eternal glory with God.
What, then, is the New Birth? What was this God-given doctrine which Jesus proclaimed, but which has been so long discarded in favor of man-made notions of salvation, to be supposedly achieved through rites and ceremonies? The New Birth is Jesus' revelation to the world that the Divine Love of the Heavenly Father, withdrawn from mankind with the fall of the first parents, had been rebestowed by the Father in His goodness and mercy. Jesus, his soul filled with the Father's Love, was the visible proof of its bestowal.
Our Salvation, then, resides in the Divine Love of the Father. His Love, obtained through earnest longing of the soul and prayer to Him, is not inherent in the soul itself, as some may believe, but it is something added to the soul from the Father in response to individual seeking, and when obtained in sufficient degree, gives that soul the certainty, knowledge and possession of immortality, eternal life in the Kingdom of God. The soul that seeks the Father's Love may continue to obtain it in increasing abundance throughout all eternity.
That is what Jesus meant by being born of the water and the Spirit. The water is not any symbol of purification, but the "living waters" of God's own essence, His Divine Love, which fills the soul and enables it to live. The Spirit does not come to dwell in the soul of man but, being the instrument of God, has the function of conveying the Father's Love into the soul of whomsoever may seek it in earnest prayer.
The Father's Love, as it continues to permeate the soul, transforms that soul from the image of God, in which it was originally created, into His very essence and nature, and brings it into at-onement with Him. As prayer for His Love continues, the evil desires of the flesh which pollute the soul are in time eliminated and only the Father's Love, Goodness and Mercy abide therein.
This is the real meaning of forgiveness of sin, and in this sense can come only with the New Birth. It is not something that comes miraculously through belief in Jesus' name or trust that God by His mere fiat will overlook the transgressions of His children. And this is confirmed throughout the pages of the Old Testament, in which the children of Israel paid with captivity in Assyria and Babylonia and suffered greatly at the hands of oppressors for creating the conditions leading to such calamities by the accumulation of their sins and backslidings. True, by exercising his will, man can seek forgiveness by trying to tear out of his soul those emotions which are not harmonious with his real nature; and indeed, he should strive to do so. Yet everyone knows how difficult this is. And God's help is available to overcome sin for those who seek it, with a contrite heart and in earnest prayer.
God's forgiveness consists in our turning to Him and seeking His Love, which, on entering the soul, progressively eradicates from it those desires and emotions which are at variance with His Laws. The forgiveness that comes with the New Birth, then, is a positive act of cooperation on the part of man and God. Man must seek it in soulful prayer and God confers it upon man through an active process of eradication.
The New Birth, then, as the transformation of the human soul into the Divine Soul and the consequent purification from sin through the Father's Love, thus qualifies the soul to live throughout all eternity with God in His Celestial Mansions. This is the Love which Jesus manifested in his soul and with which he charged his apostles to love one another at the Last Supper (This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved thee, John XV, 12). It is the Love which he explained to Nicodemus, that master in Israel, and taught men of faith to seek for.
Thus Jesus was born from above; indeed, he was born of the Holy Spirit in the sense that it is the agency through which the Father's Love was poured out in abundance into his soul; and he told Nicodemus that he too and all those of God's children who would obey his teachings, could also be reborn through the Spirit and become at-one with the Father. This transformation of the soul, this spiritual regeneration, is the New Birth which Jesus taught and which has now been made crystal clear in the TRUE GOSPEL REVEALED ANEW by JESUS and obtained through the mediumship of Mr. James E. Padgett, a Washington lawyer, between the years of 1914 and 1923. These writings, which Jesus himself declares are his "New and Repeated Gospel for all Mankind," brings to light his true teachings of the New Birth and the Father's Love.
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