“Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.” (John 3:3)
What does it mean to be “born again?”
Jesus made this statement to a prominent member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jews), named Nicodemus. As a Jewish leader, Nicodemus was a seeker of the truth. He most likely heard of many of Jesus’s previous teachings and witnessed the miracles He was performing. Clearly, his curiosity got the best of him and his question was more in line with, “Where does your teaching and ability to perform miracles come from?” He was inferring that these activities, performed by Jesus, were not normal within the Jewish population.
Jesus knew Nicodemus was spiritually dead (like we all are at some point in time) and could not understand the things of God. Jesus told him that the way to enter the kingdom was to be born again. Nicodemus asked Him the same question we might have asked Him stating, “How can a man be born again? Can he enter into his mother’s womb again?” It is clear that Nicodemus was not comprehending what Jesus was saying, even with Jesus talking to him in a way he could easily understand. A newborn baby entering life for the first time was the perfect illustration of a person beginning a “new” life.
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the new birth he was talking about was not physical, but spiritual. Nicodemus (as a representative of all unbelievers) had a real need. He needed a change of heart; a spiritual transformation, but he didn’t realize it.
This new birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby the Holy Spirit (eternal life) is imparted to the person who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The logical question then becomes, “Why does a person need to be born again?” We know that all creation has inherited a “sin nature” from Adam. Sinners are spiritually dead and cannot know God on their own merit. When they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they receive spiritual life through faith is Christ. The Bible likens this to a rebirth.
Only those who are born again have their sins forgiven and can be SURE of their salvation. We do this by:
Sin, and admitting that we are sinners
Understanding that there are consequences to sin
Repent and accept Jesus (being born again) as Lord and Savior
Enhance the Kingdom by bringing others to Salvation
Additional References: 1 John 3:9, 1 Peter 1:23, John 3:5
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