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What Does “Born Again” Mean? Why Did Jesus Say “You Must Be Born Again”?

Being “born again” is required for salvation. The term, “born again” was introduced to Nicodemus in the Bible and explained by Jesus in Scripture. A person is “born again” through faith in Jesus Christ, who took the judgement for our sins to give his righteousness to anyone who would believe.
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Updated Aug 15, 2019
What Does “Born Again” Mean? Why Did Jesus Say “You Must Be Born Again”?

The principle of being “born-again” is difficult for the sinner to fully understand. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul taught “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

“Born Again” Is Introduced to Nicodemus and Explained by Jesus in Scripture

This was reflected during the conversation of being “born again” between Jesus and Nicodemus.  Their conversation reflects this confusion over a physical action being attributed to a spiritual beginning.

In John 3:7-8, Jesus spoke of the mystery of the gift of grace to the world.  He said, “You must be born again.” Then he detailed, “the wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

In John 3:3-4, Jesus announced, “truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot be the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus sought an explanation to this novel idea and asked, “how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Thus, the reader can initially gather that being “born again” is required for salvation and a heavenly destination. Jesus then explained the difference between the physical birth and the spiritual birth to which he was referring.

Why Did Jesus Say: “You Must Be Born Again”?

A birth contemplates the non-existence of life prior to conception. The fall of Adam and Eve imputed the presence of sin upon all of mankind. Just as aging affects the body, sin damages and infects the soul. But the soul dies to the power of sin when its faith is placed upon Jesus Christ. Paul gave a great explanation in Romans.

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4.

Without God’s grace, humans are judged under the law. Upon judgment, God will not make a distinction between the Jew and Gentile. In Romans 2:12, Paul revealed, “for all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law” (ESV). The New Living Translation explains it this way: “When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it” (Romans 2:12, NLT).

Sin must be paid with a sacrifice. Under the law, Hebrews 9:22, informs, “almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

When we accept the salvation of Jesus Christ, the judgement for our sins is substituted with the righteousness of Jesus who sacrificed himself for the sins of the world.

Bible Verses about How Jesus Died for Our Sins

In Romans 6:6, Paul noted, “we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” The old soul and the bondage of sin are put to death.

1 Peter 2:24 explained that Jesus “bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”

Also: John 3:16, Romans 3:25-26, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and Galatians 3:13.

As a person is “born again” through faith in Jesus Christ, their spirit is regenerated and God gives them “newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Chad is a believer in Christ, attorney at law, wannabe golfer, runner, dog lover, and writer. He enjoys serving his church as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and at his golf devotion par3sixteen.com. He and his wife Brandi reside in Tennessee with their canine son Alistair.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Fuu J


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