What does it MEAN to be ‘BORN AGAIN’?
You Must Be Born Again
Jesus said you must be born again. And unless you are is born again, you cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God. But what does it mean to be ‘born again.? Let’s consider the important passage of Scripture in the book of John.
John 3:3-20 3 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Buy WHY must be we be saved and FROM WHAT?
Romans 3:23 ” … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, …”
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”
So what is sin? The Bible often equates sin to lawlessness. It means that anyone who lives a lawless life (i.e. having no regard for God’s moral laws), is guilty of breaking God’s laws. Just as we can be found guilty by earthly judges when we break the laws of society, so too we are judged by God when we break his laws. But some will say that they have no obligation to keep laws that they are not aware of. In human law, ignorance of the laws of a land cannot be used as a defense when standing on trial before a righteous earthly judge. We are also without excuse if we break God’s laws – even if we are not aware of their existence. Just as the laws of the land come into effect when they are published in public domain (promulgated), God has also published his laws in public domain. His publication is called the Bible.
The Bible states that every human being is born with a sinful nature. This sin entered the world through the sin of one man – Adam, causing all of creation to be in rebellion against God. But just as original sin entered the world through one man (Adam), God has sent the last Adam (Jesus Christ) as the Savior of mankind. Just a righteous earthly judge must pass judgement on all those who break earthly laws, a righteous and holy God has already decided what constitutes right and wrong living, and has described His moral laws in the Bible. The Bible is like an instruction manual that leads to freedom and eternal life if we respond to what it teaches. The Bible states that, by default, everyone is guilty of breaking God’s laws. It says that anyone who claims they are without sin is a liar, and that the penalty for rebellion against God is death. The Bible warns that we are not to fear the first death (of our bodies), but the second death – which is eternal separation from the presence of God. Those who do not accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ will be eternally damned. However, this it is not God’s will!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
What you must KNOW about being saved
God created you because he wants to have a relationship with you. He loves you. He wants you to know Him personally and intimately, not just know about Him. Through God’s written Word (the Bible), and through His only Son (Jesus), God reveals that He wants you to enjoy a life that’s in line with His purpose and destiny for your life, not just an idea in your head. Knowing Him means receiving His love. Following Him means following His leadership. And let’s tell it like it is: Accepting that leadership will affect your lifestyle. As you come to know God, He no longer is a concept simply to be believed or disbelieved; He is a living reality who is known and followed along a pathway that leads to freedom.
According to the Bible, until you come to terms with Jesus, you haven’t dealt with the issue that’s most important in getting to know God. in John 14:6 Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Through Him, countless millions have come to know the Father, transforming their lives as well as the entire course of human history.
And Jesus continues to change history – one person at a time. He wants to change your life too. But He will not do so unless you ask Him. It’s not enough simply to agree intellectually with Jesus’ claims. You must believe in Him – believe that He is the Son of God sent to earth to pay the penalty for all sin, once for all, through His death on the cross – and ask Him to come into your life.
Receiving this free gift of salvation is as simple as saying, “Jesus, I acknowledge my sin and Your payment for it on the cross. I now ask You to forgive me, and I willingly give my life to You.” At that moment, He will come into your innermost being and start you on a wonderful journey toward intimacy with God.
Another way to explain this is through a step-by-step ‘path of salvation.’ Many people find this sort of process helpful as they consider the important decision to give their life to Jesus. Here is a brief four-step system to explaining why we all need the Lord and how we can go about making that decision. It includes key Scripture passages supporting each statement. You can look up these verses in the Bible. If you’d like to read more of the context.
What you must DO to be saved
Realise that everyone needs to be saved. No one is righteous. We are all guilty of breaking God’s law in some way and therefore already condemned and sentenced.
Romans 3:19-20 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Understand that there is hope in Christ. Salvation does not come by keeping laws or being good or doing good works, but only through faith in Christ. All have sinned, but anyone who receives Christ can be forgiven and accepted by God as righteous.
Romans 3:21-25 “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed …”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Know that God forgives and accepts unconditionally anyone who believes in Christ.
Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Trust Christ in your heart and confess Him as Lord with your mouth.
Romans 10:9-10 “ … that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Repeat aloud this prayer (or something similar – what you MEAN matters more than the exact words you use.
I thank you heavenly Father, for sending your own Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and pay the penalty for my sin. I now believe in Him and accept Him as my Lord. Thank you that I am saved in Him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Some other HELPFUL PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE relating to the topic of SALVATION
Luke 18:9-14 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: …”
John 3:16-18 “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
John 20:31 “ … but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Acts 10:43 “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
2 Corinthians 6:2 “For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 5:13 “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ ..”
Some PRACTICAL STEPS to take
You may be wondering what kind of practical steps you might take to guide you as you discover your personal path toward knowing God. Consider some of these ideas:
- Get baptised in water. The Bible teaches that baptism means full immersion in water (not christening as taught in Catholicism). So-called “christening” of children is not biblical. In short, baptism is a public declaration that your old sinful nature has died. You have become ‘born again’ with a new spirit and nature; you are a new creation in Christ.
- Ask God to reveal Himself to you if you’re not sure He’s there.
- Talk to people who display a genuine relationship with God – those who obviously love Him and who live by a different set of principles.
- Spend time enjoying God’s creation.
- Listen to the stories of others who have walked with God for a long time.
- Be a lover of truth, and don’t hesitate to raise questions about things many others seem to take for granted.
- Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. You can trust God’s ‘gentle whisper’ to give you direction. If you lack understanding, ask Him for it.
- Read what other believers have said about Christianity. Ask your Christian friends for a list of authors who have inspired them in their walk with God.
- Write down your questions, including those that occur to you as you read the Bible, and take them to a believer who will respect your search for the truth.
- Be aware that moments of doubts and questions are normal and legitimate as you discover your personal path of faith.
- Be alert to your presuppositions – the things you already believe – and your personal roadblocks, and try not to let them stand in the way of your discovery process.
- Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings during your search.
- Determine to spend a specified time each day walking the pathway toward faith, and keep evaluating your progress.
- Act on what you decide.