What Does it Mean to be Born Again?
by Darrell Mayo
Chances are you have heard someone identify himself or herself as a born again Christian. Maybe you have always wondered exactly what they mean by that term but have never felt comfortable asking. Perhaps you have never heard that term before. However, it is undenyably the most important subject taught in the Bible. If you will continue to read I will explain precisely what it means.
To begin with, it would help us to understand where the term born again originated. The first mention of this term appeared in the gospel of John in the Bible and the subject was taught by Jesus Christ some two thousand years ago. The scriptures read as follows:
Now when he (Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles that he did.....
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jew's: 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 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 in spirit. Notice what Nicodemus said to Jesus, "No man can do the miracles that you do except God be with Him." Then Jesus replied, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Many others believed when they saw the miracles he did, but Nicodemus had his doubts, so he went to talk to Jesus in person.
Nicodemus was right, only a man of God can do miracles like Jesus did. However, Jesus said no man could see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. Jesus was saying the greatest miracle of all miracles is the one that would bring you into the kingdom of God. Jesus did many miracles to help people through life, but until a person believes him that person cannot be born again and enter the kingdom of God. It is sad to say, but God has helped many people in our day and time, yet they will not be born again because they will not believe.
Therefore, we see here that a person that is born again qualifies to enter the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, those who are not born again will not enter God's kingdom.
What does Jesus say takes place when a person is born again? Nicodemus asked him, "how can a man enter again into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus explains that he is not talking about a man's body being born again, but his spirit is born again. You must be born again in your spirit not your body. It is an inward experience.
Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of spirit is spirit.
What does he mean by being born of water and of the spirit? Water is symbolic in this scripture and symbolizes the Word of God, which is truth. When a man hears the truth that he must be born again and believes it, he can be born again. When a person believes that Jesus came into this world to save him from their sins and eternal death, this person can be born again. The first time a person is born is when he or she has come into existence in this world. The second time a person is born his or her spirit is reborn.
This brings up another question you may have about this subject. That is, why must a person be born again? Answering this question will help us understand what takes place in a person's spirit when he or she is born again. We can find the answer in the book of Romans chapter 5 verse 19:
For as by one man's (Adam's) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous.
The first man Adam, created by God disobeyed the command not to eat of one particular tree in the Garden of Eden. All other trees in the garden he was permitted to eat, but God said if he ate from this one tree he would surely die. He disobeyed and ate of the tree. He immediately died spiritually. Later he died physically. It was not the fruit that made him die, but his disobedience to God's word. His nature changed from a righteous nature to a sin nature.
Because of Adam's disobedience, the sin nature was passed on to all mankind from birth. Physical death is the separation of the spirit and soul from the body. Spiritual death is man's separation from God who is the source of all life. Because man's nature is no longer righteous and just before God, he must be redeemed from the sin nature. He must be born again and restored to righteousness and fellowship with God. All mankind is destined to eternal death and separation from God.
However, God had a plan to restore mankind and bring them back to himself. Jesus the Son of God would be born into this world. He would obey God fully without sin and die in our place. Jesus was our substitute when he died on the cross, yet he never sinned or disobeyed God. On the third day after his death, he arose from the dead by the power of God.
So by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous. Because he died in our place, we can be born again and restored to righteousness. No longer separated from God, but restored to sonship and fellowship with Him. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18
I am (Jesus) the way, the truth, the life, no man can come to the Father, but by me. John 14:6
A person who is born again is saved. What is that person saved from?
That person is saved from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
The person that is born again is saved from condemnation (John 3:18).
The person that is born again is saved from eternal death (James 5:19,20).
The born again person is saved from hell, the place of eternal punishment (Matthew 10:28).
He or she is saved from all these things, can live in fellowship with God forever, no longer under condemnation, and will go to heaven instead of hell when he leaves this world.
Now we know that we must be born again and the reason why. The next question you might ask is, how can I be born again? Sometimes it is easier to explain how to by explaining how not to. First let me explain how not to be saved or born again. In other words, what is it that will not save you.
Doing good works will not save you. Good works will not cause you to be born again. If your good works could save you, then God would not have sent Jesus into the world to die for your sins. If you think your good works and deeds will save you, then you think your deeds are greater than what Jesus did. Nothing you do outwardly is going to cause you to be born again.
Thinking good thoughts will not save you. What you think about God and salvation will not save you unless your thinking lines up with God's thinking. We find out what he thinks in the Bible. Maybe you think you are a good person because you do good deeds. You think God will save you because of your goodness. You are going to be disappointed when your life is over and you see you did not make it to heaven.
You could sell all that you have and give the money to the poor, but if you are not born again you will miss heaven.
Being a religious person will not save you. You can attend church all your life and participate in all kinds of religious activities, but if you are not born again you are not saved.
You can fast on a regular basis. You can pray many hours a day, you can even experience a vision, but those things will not save you. These things are commendable, but only believing in your heart what Jesus did can save you. Believing contrarywise to this does not change the truth.
A good example that will prove to you these facts is in the story of the centurion named Cornelius. In the book of Acts, chapters ten and eleven we find the story.
Cornelius was a captain over 100 men in the Roman army. The Bible says that he was a devout man, he feared God and so did all his family. He gave much alms (offerings) to the poor, and he prayed to God always. He had a vision and saw an angel of God who said to him to send for Peter in a certain place. Peter would come to him and tell him how he could be saved.
In Acts 11:13,14, Peter was telling this story to the elders in Jerusalem saying.
And he (Cornelius) showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
You see, Cornelius was not saved although he was a devout man and had done many good works. Peter came and gave him the words by which he could be saved. When they heard how that Jesus came and died in their place and arose the third day, then Cornelius and his entire house were born again.
You may think you have to clean yourself up before you come to God, but you do not. Only Jesus can clean you from your sins. Do you wait for a fish to clean itself before you throw your hook in to catch him? A fish cannot clean himself. Neither can you. However, You can be saved just like Cornelius and his family did. The Bible tells you how.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
God loves you, has forgiven you of all your sins, and offers you everlasting life. Jesus died in your place and is alive now reaching out to you. All you have to do is believe and receive it. You must believe it from your heart, from your deepest desire, not just your mind and your words only. Then with you mouth call upon Jesus and he will save you. Then you will know without a doubt that you are born again.
If you Believe Jesus died for you and God has raised him from the dead then say this prayer with me. If you want to be born again and have everlasting life, you can right now. Just say this prayer with me from your heart.
Jesus, I call on you to save me. Forgive me of my sin. I believe in my heart that you died for me. I believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead and you are alive. I want that everlasting life that you offer me I thank you for saving me now. I thank you for forgiving me now. Amen.
If you said that prayer from your heart then you are born again.
I Spent many years doing my own thing, seeking this thrill and that thrill to satisfy the desires of my heart. But none of these thrills were lasting. The more things I did to make me happy, the less satisfied I was with my life. It wasn't until I heard this truth about Jesus and asked him into my heart that I found true satisfaction. Maybe you are wondering where your life is taking you. Maybe you have had the thoughts I had as to why you are here on this earth and what will your end be. I am here to tell you that life is for keeps. I remember when I was in the fifth grade and a group of us boys used to play with marbles. Sometimes we would play for fun. Other times we would play for keeps. We would draw a large circle in the dirt and everyone would put several of their marbles within the circle. When it was your turn to shoot, what ever you knocked out of the cirlce you would keep. You would keep shooting until you missed. Life and death is for keeps. Once your life is over you can't go back and change it. But you can change your future by believing in Jesus and following his example. If you prayed the above prayer with me than you have changed your future. Now you need to find other people that believe in Jesus. You need to find a good Bible believing church to attend so you can grow spiritually. Please e-mail us and let us know what is happening in your life.
God Bless You.
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