572. Unless We Are Born Again and Created Anew, So to Speak, We Cannot Enter the Kingdom of God
The Lord teaches in John that if we are not born again we cannot enter the kingdom of God: "Jesus said to Nicodemus, 'Truly, truly I say to you, unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God'" (John 3:3). And again, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you have been born of water and the spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit" (John 3:5-6). The kingdom of God here means both heaven and the church, because the church is the kingdom of God on earth. The same is true in other passages in the Word where the kingdom of God is mentioned; see, for example, Matthew 11:12; 12:28; 21:43; Luke 4:43; 6:20; 8:1, 10; 9:11, 60, 62; 17:21; and elsewhere. To be born of water and the spirit means to be born of truths related to faith and of a life lived by those truths. For truth as the meaning of water, see Revelation Unveiled 50, 614, 615, 685, 932. The fact that spirit means living our lives by divine truths is clear from the Lord's words in John 6:63. Truly, truly means that this is the truth. Because the Lord was truth itself, Scripture frequently says Amen [or Truly]. The Lord himself is called Amen (Revelation 3:14). In the Word, those who are regenerated are referred to as children of God and those born of God; and regeneration is expressed as our having a new heart and a new spirit.