What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?
This term first appears in the Bible in John chapter three...
"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 thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into 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 3:1-7
To understand this Biblical term, it is necessary to understand that there are TWO BIRTHS. The "first" birth is the PHYSICAL BIRTH when you were born into this world from your mother and father. When the Bible speaks of being "born of water," it is speaking about the physical birth (NOT baptism). The "second" birth is a SPIRITUAL BIRTH, which means to be born of the "Spirit" (God's Holy Spirit). This raises a couple of questions: Why does a person need to be born spiritually?...and, What is a "spiritual" birth?
The Bible teaches that man is created in the image of God. God manifests Himself to mankind in the Persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Likewise, mankind is composed of a body, soul, and spirit. Our body is the "tent" you could say of the soul and spirit (the body is a temporary dwelling place). Our soul is composed of the heart (to feel), the mind (to think), and the will (to decide). Our spirit is dead in sin when we are born; that is, we are born void of God. No person is ever born with God. The only exception is the Lord Jesus Christ Who came as God in the flesh (1st Timothy 3:16). Our spirit is dead in trespasses and sin the Bible says...
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" -Ephesians 2:1,2
The unsaved person cannot understand God...
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." -1st Corinthians 2:14
The reason why you need to be "spiritually" born is because you have never been spiritually born to begin with. So when the Bible speaks of being "born again," it actually means "born for the second time." You were born physically into this world, but you were born without the Spirit of God in your soul (spiritually dead). Yes, God created you, but He gave you a freewill to decide for yourself where you will spend eternity. God never forces anyone to accept Christ as their Savior, He simply offers a warm invitation to anyone who wants to have their sins forgiven and go to Heaven. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 5:15), paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18,19). We must accept God's gift of eternal life or it WILL be forever forfeited when we leave this world (die).
To be "spiritually" born means that God's Holy Spirit "quickens" (or makes alive) your dead spirit. When you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, trusting Him alone to forgive all your sins--then God the Father and God the Son come into your heart in the form of God the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). The "Holy Spirit" is "God within us."
I have God living in my soul as the Holy Spirit of God. I am not God, but I have God living in my body. The Godhead indwells every believer. The Holy Spirit of God guides me, comforts me, teaches me, rebukes me, chastises me, convicts me, encourages me, empowers me, loves me, strengthens me, and so much more. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to do these things. This is why it is critically important for every believer to live in their Bible (and make sure you have a reliable Bible--I only use the King James... not the "new" King James). A person cannot understand the Bible without the presence of the Author, and God is the Author. When you become born again (or born for the second time), God's Holy Spirit comes into your body (1st Corinthians 3:16), never to leave (Hebrews 13:5), and you will understand many new things for the first time in your life...
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." -2nd Corinthians 5:17
It is ONLY through the Precious Word of God that anyone can be born-again. Surely, no one can born into this world again physically... there is no turning back the hands of time. However, you most certainly can be born again spiritually into God's family through the Spirit of Christ... "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9). The way we become "born again" is found in the Word of God...
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." -1st Peter 1:23
We are born again by the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1,14: Revelation 19:13). The following statement sums it up pretty good...
If you're born once, then you die TWICE; If you're born twice, then you die ONCE.
If you don't receive Jesus Christ and become a born again Christian, then you will sadly spend all eternity in hell. (John 3:18, 36; Revelation 20:15; 21:8).
The GOOD NEWS (the Gospel) is that it is very EASY to have the second birth, i.e., a spiritual birth. God came down to this earth 2,000 years ago and took upon Himself the form of a man. That man was the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14; 1st Timothy 3:16). Literally, the GODHEAD became incarnate (Colossians 2:9--King James Bible). Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus never sinned once (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died, was buried and rose again after three days (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus shed His blood to pay for all our sins (Colossians 1:14; 1st Peter 1:18,19), and applied that blood to the Mercy Seat in Heaven (Hebrews 9:24-26).
There are a few things you must know to be saved:
You are a sinner under the condemnation of God's Law
You are GUILTY, and deserve to go to Hellfire as
punishment for your sins (Romans 3:19; 6:23; Revelation 21:8).
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh (God's Son), died upon the cross to pay for your sins (John 3:16-18; Romans 5:8). It is Jesus' blood that takes our sins away (1st John 1:7).
If you believe that Jesus is the Savior (the Christ) who paid for your sins, and you realize your sinful condition (and thus your need for a Savior), then you're ready to be born again. All you need to do is repent (i.e., turn) to Jesus Christ in faith, believing upon Him to forgive your sins and save you... "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." You may pray if you'd like, but you don't have to. Salvation is of the heart (Romans 10:10). If you'd like to pray, simply ask Jesus to forgive your sins and tell Him that you're trusting Him as your Savior. It matters not exactly what you pray, just as long as you realize these two main truths:
1. You are a guilty sinner under the condemnation of God's Law!
2. Jesus is the Savior who shed His blood to take away your sins!
You might pray something like this...
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a Hell-deserving sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God, the Savior, who shed your blood to pay for my sins. I now believe upon You as my personal Savior, and ask you to please forgive me of all my sins. Please save me and take me to Heaven when I die. Amen.
If you sincerely asked Jesus to forgive your sins, then you are now part of God's family. You could have just prayed, "God be merciful to me a sinner." The thief on the cross simply asked Jesus to "remember" him, and Jesus most certainly did. There is nothing "magic" about the words you pray, it is your faith (trust) in Jesus Christ that saves you. It is your faith that causes you to call upon Jesus to forgive your sins and take you to Heaven. God wants to save you more than you could ever want to be saved (2nd Peter 3:9). If you were sincere, then you are now a born-again Christian. Thank God!
Salvation is very simple. We are sinners, and Jesus is the Savior. You see friend, there is no religion involved here, ONLY Jesus. Salvation is NOT found in a religion, but in a Person---The Lord Jesus Christ.
By David J. Stewart
What Does It Mean To Be Born
Again?..... (take 2)
This paper is intended to be compilation of facts and quotes regarding the topic of the New Birth.
We must first examine what Jesus said about the New Birth:
John 3:3-8 “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 thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into 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. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
We see that unless a man is born again....
1) he cannot see the kingdom of God and
2) he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
So, unless someone is born again, they can neither see nor enter the
kingdom of God.
This makes it a
matter of importance.
Jesus clarifies the distinction between the man born of flesh and the man born
of spirit. You, in your physical
body are flesh. You are tangible
and may be seen, touched and you have body mass.
That which is born of Spirit is spirit.
It is intangible, may not be seen, touched, and does not have tangible
Jesus describes one who is born of the Spirit as having the characteristics of wind in several regards. The word ‘bloweth’ means to breathe hard or blow. Listeth is from the Greek word thelo which means ‘to determine, option, choose, prefer, be inclined, delight in, desire, be disposed, love, please’. Now lets compare the physical body and mind with that which is born of Spirit. Your human body has many automatic functions that you have little control over. If you become excessively hot, your body perspires. You cannot stop it from doing so. If you become extremely cold, your skin will get goose bumps. You did not will for them to be there, they just appear. If someone injures your body you automatically recoil away from the source of the harm. There are many automatic reflexes that your human body has which is hardly a result of your willing.
One who is born of the
Spirit is in charge of where it goes.
The wind goes, unhampered, wherever it chooses to go. You can hear the
sound of it, but it does not have a visible body.
It is self-willed. Of
course, we know that its environment causes it, but apart from that, for analogy
sake, it could be said to make choices and decide for itself where it will blow
and where it will not. Jesus
describes those who are born of the Spirit as having these characteristics.
If one who is born of the Spirit resembles the wind, then that spirit person exercises a will and determines courses of action, speed of action, and duration of action. All of this is taking place in an area which cannot be seen. If you are born of the Spirit, you make decisions, and more decisions that determine your responses to the will of God, the speed of growth, and the duration of growth and tenacity.
persons may see the fruits of your spiritual labors, they cannot see your Spirit
man, or soul, they may only see the manifestations of its operations.
So far we have learned that one must be born again to be able to see and enter the kingdom of God. Also we have learned that one who is born again resembles the wind in the characteristic of choosing courses of action and reaction. It becomes necessary at this point to clarify what is meant by the expression The kingdom of God. Let’s look at Jesus’ statement:
Luke 17:20: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
John 18:36: Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
We begin by noting 2 main things.....
1) the kingdom of God is not visible and
2) the kingdom of God is not of this world.
You can see that it is
altogether a spiritual kingdom and is not in Jerusalem, or any other physical
location. Now we know that it is
invisible to the material eye. Now
we will explore what it is.
Apparently it is a
relationship. Properly understood, the kingdom of God is the kingdom
Let he who has ears to hear, hear.
From the Greek, the term kingdom simply means ‘realm’ or ‘the realm in which God’s will is fulfilled.’ There is a difference between God’s kingdom and the kingdom OF GOD. God’s kingdom is something that belongs to Him and leaves the subject as simply that…..a subject. The kingdom OF GOD, however denotes a kingdom of those who are OF GOD, that are born by Him, sired by Him, and Son-shipped by him. Those who are in the kingdom of God are there, not as subjects to a king, but as children of a Heavenly Father.
Throughout his teaching career Jesus repeatedly taught his disciples to dwell on the relationship of God and child. In the Lord’s prayer it begins with Our Father. Below are scriptures in which Jesus stresses the importance of entering the kingdom of God as a Child:
Matthew: 18:1-4 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 19:14 But
Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of
such is the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 10:14-15 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
From these scriptures we learn that one must be converted and become as a little child in order to enter the kingdom of God. This, of course would be a little child who has God as the Father. A child in these verses is pictured as being essentially innocent, unlearned, trusting, and depending upon the parent for sustenance. There is danger in learning a great deal about scripture and spiritual things as we get older. Although we would never say it out loud, we might think to ourselves “I know some stuff!” To some extent the more we learn, the less likely it is that anyone can teach us. The downfall of the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus was their spiritual conceit. They imagined themselves to understand both scripture and God’s nature when in truth they understood neither.
They lacked the humility that a child has, and were therefore not teachable. A little child, however, knows that he doesn’t know much of anything and is content to trust that the parent is in charge. The status of a child regarding himself as unknowing and trusting the parent is the classroom where the child and parent may interrelate. If ever the child becomes arrogant and untrusting, little learning can take place. We must be converted and become as little children, otherwise, we cannot enter into the realm or kingdom of God’s tutoring. We become that way as an act of our own will and we remain that way by ever agreeing with Paul who wrote:
1 Corinthians 8:1: Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
1 Corinthians 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
Thus far we have learned that in order to enter the kingdom of God we must be born again, and must be converted and become as little children. The spirit man is important, whereas the man born of woman is short lived. The verses below show that the flesh and blood man, born of woman does not inherit the kingdom of God:
1 Corinthians 15:48-54 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Your human body is corruptible. This means that it is subject to aging, death, and decay. It was never designed to enter the kingdom of God because it is flesh and blood. These verses clearly state that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and the flesh and blood body doesn’t inherit a state of incorruption either. Instead, the mortal soul is given a fresh start in a spiritual body. You will have lived this lifetime in a material body, but proceed from there in a spiritual body. Our concern, therefore should be twofold: We must be born again and become as little children to enter the kingdom of God.
What would be the characteristics of one who has been born again and become as a child in the kingdom of God? The verses below give examples:
1 John:3:9 Whosoever
is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot
sin, because he is born of God.
We know that we have passed from death
unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother
abideth in death.
1 John:3:24 And he
that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know
that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Beloved, let us love one another: for
love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth
not God; for God is love.
1 John:4:12-13 No
man hath seen God at any time.
If we love one another, God dwelleth in
us, and his love is perfected in us.
Hereby know we that we dwell
in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1 John:4:16 And we
have known and believed the love that God hath to us.
God is love; and he that dwelleth in
love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
We know that whosoever is born of God
sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked
one toucheth him not. And we know
that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
Romans:8:13-16 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through
the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the
Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have
received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the
children of God:
John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
From the verses above we see that when one’s desire is to love the brethren, it
is evidence that God lives in them and that they are functioning as a child of
Furthermore, it declares that
if you are led by the Spirit of God, you are a son of God.
Once you have been born again, you are a child of God and that
relationship overshadows and supplants any previous relationship you made have
Having become a child of God, we are given instructions by Jesus to love one another and also to go beyond that and become perfect as our parent God is perfect. For most, that is considered to be beyond accomplishment so they lay that verse aside. According to the dictionary, perfect, means whole, complete, and lacking nothing. Most are content to know that they have obtained immortality. Would you want an immortality while straddled with occasional sin thoughts and desires? That would be an eternal wrestling match. I believe that our heavenly Father wants us to become so indwelth with his love that it pushes out all that is less than himself just as light casts out darkness. Jesus prayed that we arrive as such a state:
John:14:20-21: At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John:17:14-17 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
If you have been born again, you were born OF GOD with God as your parent who sired you in your spirit man. This spirit man will one day leave here in your spirit body. While still here you can help bring into reality that which Jesus also prayed on your behalf:
And this is life eternal, that they might
know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John:17:20-23: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
John:17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
From the verses above we see that Jesus regarded knowing the true God and Himself with being eternal life. Of considerable importance in Jesus’ prayers he prayed that we be at one with God as He was. He repeated it several times. It is in our interest to pray without ceasing that God so infuse and indwell our soul with His love that it could be said of us ‘if you have seen me you have seen the Father, for my Father and I are one.’ Incredible? Impossible? It is if you so appraise it. It appears that Jesus prayed for more than that the disciples quit quarreling and become likeminded. Jesus was praying for us to experience the same level of one-on-one relationship with God the Father that he had enjoyed. “that the love wherewith thou hast love me may be in them, and I in them. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us”.
The new birth is far far more than just a changed human attitude.
It is actually the birth of a spiritual being designed to enjoy
a oneness with the parent.
1John:4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
I would have us briefly revisit part of the story of the prodigal son:
Luke:15:20-24 “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
The Father saw the prodigal son far off
and ran to him, fell on his neck, and
We note the absence of judging.
Instead we see the joy of the Father of seeing his lost son.
The son started giving his little speech " Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”
The son was unable to complete the speech which would have been, “make me
as one of thy hired servants.” The
Father interrupted his dialogue saying; “Bring forth the best robe, and put it
on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring hither the
fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was
dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
Here we see total restoration without looking back.
The Father did not order a robe; he ordered
the best robe.
Apparently we need to make a quantum leap in our thinking in the way we regard ourselves. We will go so far as to call ourselves God’s children, but cling to our human identity fiercely. If God is your Father, then you are a child of God by definition. I would think that our goal would be to live up to our potential. Jesus stretched the potential enormously as he gave the following commandment:
Matthew:5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
This should be our goal. We should earnestly desire to be perfect even to the degree that our Heavenly Father is perfect. To be perfect is to be whole, complete, and lacking nothing. He said “…as your Father which is in heaven…”. In other words, we are to become like our Daddy. (Abba) We are not without resources as we see in the following verses:
But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire,
wanting nothing. If any
of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not; and it shall be
1 John:4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
We can use the following verse to guide us in our prayers:
Romans:5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
We should feel comfortable praying to the Father to send His Holy Spirit to shed abroad into our hearts God’s love. As born again children of God, this is our daily bread.