We’re all born once since that is how we arrived, through a birth. But did you know that it is possible to be born again a second time? What does born again mean anyway?
Today we’re going to find out the answer to this question by answering two other questions then we’ll talk about the Gospel message.
To answer our first three questions, we need to refer to a time when Jesus had a conversation with a man by the name of Nicodemus.
You’ll find the full story in John 3:1-21 but for now, we’ll look at a condensed version.
Nicodemus had heard of Jesus and His teachings and wanted to talk with Jesus privately about some of the things he had heard and seen. Jesus mentioned a term that no one had heard of before. He told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again.
What Does Born Again Mean?
This term confused Nicodemus as he asked Jesus how it is possible to be born a second time? Nicodemus is thinking of the natural birth and questioned how an old man could be born again from his mother.
The term ‘born again’ does not mean to have a second birth because that is simply impossible. Born again means to be born of water and of the Spirit, John 3:5.
In Nicodemus’ day, the term “water” did not mean water baptism as might be thought of today. Jesus was referring to the spiritual cleansing or spiritual washing of the spirit. We call this regeneration.
Why Do You Need to be Born Again?
Jesus’ response to his question was that you cannot see the kingdom of God unless you are born again.
So, anyone who wants to go to heaven can only get there by one way, (John 10:10) and that is through a rebirth of his spirit with a spiritual cleansing and the Spirit of God.
Jesus also said that no man will see the Father except through Him, John 14:6. And again, in John 6:47, He said that whoever believed Him will have everlasting life.
Some people, well, in fact, a lot of people attend church regularly but have not made the decision to be born again. They may be called religious people but do not have the Spirit of God in them. If this is you, then you need to carefully read this so that you can find out how and why you need to be born again.
How to be Born Again?
To be born again, you must be born of water and of the Spirit, John 3:5-6.
It’s like this: your first birth was a natural physical body birth when you became a human being.
The second birth is not referring to a physical birth but to a spiritual birth. God is spirit and He made us in His image, Genesis 1:26. We have physical bodies with a spirit inside of us. It is our spirit that becomes born again by water and of the Spirit of God.
While you may not understand how this is done, it’s important that you accept this truth and believe it.
Romans 10:9-10 explains this quite plainly. Let’s look at it:
- You need to confess, that is, speak out the words that Jesus Christ is Lord
- You need to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead
These two things will result in your salvation as it continues to say that when you believe, that is, you are believing unto righteousness, and through your spoken words (confession), you have received the gift of salvation.
So, being born again means your confession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead. This is the cleansing of your spirit when the Spirit of God comes to dwell in you upon your confession of faith.
Here’s how Billy Graham puts it in his post on How to be Born Again.
Some of us have changed on the outside to conform to certain social standards or behavior that is expected of us in our churches, but down inside we have never been changed. That is what Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about. He said, “Nicodemus, you need changing inside,” and only the Holy Spirit can do that.Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, September 2010
Being born from above is a supernatural act of God. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin; He disturbs us because we have sinned against God. And then the Holy Spirit regenerates us. That is when we are born again. The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts to help us in our daily lives. The Spirit of God gives us assurance, gives us joy, produces fruit in our lives and teaches us the Scriptures.Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, September 2010
The Need for Salvation
Mankind surrendered to sin back in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve committed the sin of disobedience concerning a particular tree in the garden.
Their decision to disobey and eat the fruit cost them life as they knew it. It cost an animal its life as that animal was killed to provide a type of salvation as well as clothing for Adam and Eve.
Since then, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. And since then we have tried to get right with God by working out good deeds. That is not the solution for a permanent dissolution of our sins.
Throughout the Old Testament, we read of the sin offering of an animal’s life to forgive the Israelite of their sins. This was an annual rite that every Hebrew person took part in bringing a sin offering to the temple priests.
The Gospel Message
But God had a plan that would remove the annual sin offerings for the Israelites. His plan was developed from before the foundation of time and it involved His Son, Jesus. It included Jesus’ birth from a virgin, His death on a cross, His burial and His resurrection.
Jesus became the sin offering once and for all, Hebrews 10:10. He offered His life as an atonement for all sin when He died on the cross of Calvary.
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After His death on the cross, His body was buried in a tomb and the morning after the Sabbath, it was discovered by two of His women disciples that His body had risen from the dead. You can read the full story in Matthew 27:1-66;28:1-20.
It is by His death and resurrection that you and I can receive forgiveness from our sins, past, present and future.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is the gospel of Jesus Christ in a brief word. Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.
To receive this forgiveness, we need to make a conscious decision to repent of our sins, that is, turn away from them and not do them anymore.
Once we decide to turn away from our sins, we accept by faith in Jesus, His atonement for our sins.
Upon the forgiveness of our sins, we are accepted by faith into the family of God. We are now considered born again or, another term is, we are saved.
So, What Does Born Again Mean?
To be born again, you are changed from the inside out. Your spirit is renewed by faith in Jesus, accepting His atonement for your sins when He died on the cross, was buried and rose again. This is the Gospel and this is how you are born again.
To be born again means that “[God] will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4); we have “passed from death into life” (John 5:24). The new birth brings about a change in our philosophy and manner of living.Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, September 2010
The Next Steps
So, now we know what born again means and we know what the Gospel message is. We also know the importance of why everyone should be born again and that is to be forgiven of our sins and to have eternal life in heaven.
If you have made a decision to be born again, then know that the angels in heaven are rejoicing (Luke 15:10) over your decision to “come home!”
Your decision is the beginning of your new life with Christ. There are three of six next steps for you to take, such as:
- get yourself a Bible, either, King James, New King James, New American Standard, or English Standard Version
- start reading your Bible
- find a Bible-believing church to attend
Wrapping this Up
Well, there’s so much more to say but this has been a good start in finding out what does born again mean and most importantly, why do you need to be born again. Great questions that have your life hanging in the balance, so to speak.
If your name has been written in the Book of Life in heaven, would you leave me a comment? I’d love to rejoice with you!
If this has been a blessing to you, please share it on Facebook and pin it on Pinterest! Thank you for helping me get the Word out!
Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through 215 Ministry.