Jn. 3:3-5 Jesus taught that the new birth is essential to being saved. To become a christian you must be born again. But what is the new birth? Is it an experience? Is it accomplished by faith only? To understand what the new birth is, note the chart below as it compares three scriptures that discuss the new birth.
1. Washing: Is it regeneration that is washed? is it water that is washed? Surely this is a washing that involves water and a regeneration. Rev. 1:5 (Sin is washed away by the blood of Jesus.) Acts 22:16 (Saul's sin would be washed away when he was baptized. Therefore the parallel phrases in the first column speak of baptism in water. Thus the claim of some that "born of water" refers to physical birth is wrong.)
2. Renewing: Is it the Holy Ghost that is renewed? Rom. 12:2, Col. 3:9-10 (It is a renewal of the mind that involves the Holy Ghost.)
3. By The Word: Is this renewal accomplished by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit? The above parallel shows that the Spirit does his work by the word. 2 Thes. 2:14 (We are influenced by the preaching of the gospel to be born again.) 1 Cor. 4:15 (These were begotten by the gospel. The word begotten is the same as born.) Jas. 1:18, 1 Pet. 1:22-23 (The word is the seed of the new birth that brings about the spiritual conception, the renewed mind, that follows through with the birth process.)
"when they heard this"
"pricked in their heart"
"repent and be baptized"
"whose heart the Lord opened"
"when she was baptized"
"faith comes by hearing"
"with the heart man believeth"
"call on the name of the Lord"