Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
Jesus had a totally different way of looking at everything. What do I mean? He said things like the first must be last and you have to die if you want to live. Give and it will be given, if you forsake your life you will find it. In John 3 He said we must be born again if we want to even see the kingdom of God. He went on to explain what He meant, you have to be born of the Spirit. Today’s verse reminds us that we have to continue in this spiritual impartation if we want to continue in life. Once we are born of the Spirit we have to continue in the Spirit. Life is not only started by the new birth, every day life is dependent on renewal by the Spirit. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on today’s verse.
“A natural life cannot subsist unless it is immediately and continually under the working power of that root or source from which it sprang. Hence, nothing but obedience to the Spirit, faith in Him, and continual inspiration from Him can possibly keep men from sin. The truth and perfection of the gospel state could not show itself until it became a ministration of the Holy Spirit, or a kingdom controlled by the Spirit of God.
When Christ told His disciples that it would be better for them if He left, He taught them the need of their present condition and to joyfully expect the coming of a higher and more blessed state. This, however, could only happen after Christ’s departure when He gave His Holy Spirit to live within them. His outward teaching in human language was changed into the inspiration and operation of His Spirit in their souls.”
If Murray is right, just as we receive forgiveness for sin at the new birth through the washing of regeneration, we receive renewal of the Spirit continually to live a life free from sin and the contamination of this world. The amazing thing to me is that all of this is available to us. The Lord holds up a high standard of a holy lifestyle in front of us and then does the unthinkable. He doesn’t stop with just a demand and an expectation of purity of life, He enables us to live it by doing it Himself through His indwelling Spirit. What an amazing God!! His Spirit gives birth to spirit in me.