What Does It Mean To Be “Born Again”?
The purpose of this article is to show you the scriptures on how to be born again. How to be born again is confusing to many people out. The scripture verses are clear on how a person can be born again; therefore, we will look at the Bible as our final authority on how to be born again into the family of God.
This term “born again” 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).
An unsaved man once said to me, “That born again stuff makes no sense to me.” Perhaps you feel the same. There are “How To Be Saved” articles all over the internet (and I am thankful for them all), but many people want a complete explanation of what it means to be “born-again.” Why do we need to be born again? What does it mean?
That is my purpose in this article, that is, to explain this great Biblical doctrine in layman’s terms. Please give me a moment and I will make it as plain as you’ve ever heard. Most people have religion, but very few people have ever been Biblically born-again. Unless you are born again, you absolutely cannot go to Heaven (John 3:5).
Simply put, to be “born again” means to have He (Jesus) Who is the beginning born in you. In Revelation 1:8 Jesus said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, respectively.
The man by birth is spiritually dead, which I will explain further in a moment. To be born-again is a miracle of God, by which Jesus Christ comes into your body to live, literally in the form of the Spirit of God.
Romans 8:9, “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.”
To understand what it means to be born-again, 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” (that is, God’s Holy Spirit).
Why does a person need to be born spiritually? What is a “spiritual” birth?
The Bible teaches that man is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). There is one God according to Deuteronomy 6:4; but He exists in the three Persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible refers to this triune nature of God as the Godhead (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9 – King James Bible only). Colossians 2:2 refers to the Godhead as “the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.” The Godhead wasn’t meant to be understood; but rather, believed as sound Biblical doctrine by God’s children.
Likewise, mankind is created in God’s image in the form of a body, soul and spirit. Our earthly body is the tabernacle (2nd Corinthians 5:1-4) of the soul and spirit. The body is a temporary dwelling place of man’s soul and spirit. Our soul is composed of the heart (to feel), the mind (to think), and the will (to decide).
Hebrews 4:12 makes a distinction between man’s soul and spirit, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Animals have souls, but not a spirit. Man’s spirit returns to God upon death. Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Animals have a mind to think, and a heart to feel, and a will to decide, but animals do not have a spirit to discern spiritual matters. This is why humans have an inherent need for religion (God). It is the spirit of man that makes humans totally different and unique from animals.
Man’s spirit is dead in sin when we are born; that is, we are born void of God with an inherited sin nature from Adam. 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, nor His Words because they are spiritually discerned…
“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 that 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 free will to decide for yourself where you will spend eternity.
God never forces anyone to accept Jesus 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; 6:23), paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18,19; Revelation 1:5). We must accept God’s gift of eternal life or it WILL be forever forfeited when we leave this world (die).
God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Notice, God said they would die “the day that thou eatest thereof.” Interestingly, Adam and Eve DIDN’T die physically the day they ate the fruit and disobeyed God’s command. Why?
The reason is that they died SPIRITUALLY instead of physically. When Adam sinned, sin and death entered the human race. The Bible teaches that from Adam until the present time, mankind has been born spiritually dead, inherited down from Adam’s sin. This is why humanity MUST be born-again. This is only possible through the Holy Spirit of God, which makes us alive again (quickened the Bible says) by faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are saved by repenting of our unbelief and believing the Gospel that Jesus DIED, was BURIED, and RAISED up three days later.
To be “spiritually” born means that God’s Holy Spirit “quickens” us (or makes us alive). When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus as the Christ—trusting Him alone to forgive all sins—then God the Father and God the Son come into one’s heart in the form of God the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). The “Holy Spirit” is “God within us.” The old man is the flesh. The old man cannot be tamed. There is nothing good about the flesh. When we get saved (born again), the old man doesn’t change. Rather, the new man (which is Jesus Christ) comes to indwell (live) within our body. 1st Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
I have God living in my body in the form of the Holy Spirit. I was born-again at age 13. Romans 8:9 tells us that the Spirit of Christ dwells within every believer. I am not God, but I have God’s Spirit 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 faithful King James Bible).
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 begin to 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 be 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).
How To Be Born Again Biblically
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 burn in hellfire for all eternity (John 3:18,36; Revelation 20:15; 21:8). Perhaps you say with the man I mentioned earlier, “That born again stuff makes no sense to me.”
Well, most people can’t explain how a black cow can eat green grass, give white milk, and then it’s turned into yellow butter—but they still eat it! My friend, you don’t have to figure everything out to be saved, you just need to trust upon Jesus, the Christ, the only begotten Son of God.
Again, being born-again means having He Who is the Beginning (Jesus Christ) born in you.” Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Isn’t that beautiful. When a person is born-again, the Spirit of Christ comes to live in that person’s body.
“Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9b). This birth comes about only through faith in the Son of God.
The GOOD NEWS (the Gospel) is that it is very EASY to have a 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 even once (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). Jesus died, was buried, and rose again after three days (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus shed His precious 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 9:12, 24-26).