You may have heard the term “born again” in Christian circles, but what does it actually mean? What does it mean to be a born again Christian? How do you know if this has happened to you? How is it even possible to be born again?
To be ‘born again’ is a term Christians use to describe the new birth that occurs in a person’s spirit when they accept Jesus as the final sacrifice for their sin and receive His free gift of righteousness.
The Bible refers to this experience of being born again using many different terms including:
- the new birth (John 1:13 and 3:3)
- the new creation (Galatians 6:15)
- His workmanship created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10)
- newness of life (Romans 6:4)
- a spiritual quickening (Ephesians 2:1 and 5)
- a spiritual resurrection (Colossians 2:12 and 3:1)
- a new heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26 and Romans 7:6)
- the putting on of the new man (Ephesians 4:24)
- the inward man (Romans 7:22)
- the circumcised heart (Romans 2:29)
- the divine nature (2 Peter 1:14)
- regeneration (Titus 3:5).
Jesus Explains Being Born Again
There was a man who came to Jesus in the secret of the night because he was a Pharisee (see John chapter 3). His name was Nicodemus and he was a ruler of the Jews.
The Jews believed that obeying the laws of Moses would bring them right standing with God. Jesus was teaching something very different. He was teaching that He was the Son of God and that believing on Him would bring relationship with God and salvation. This infuriated the Jewish leaders, who had total control over the religious system of the time.
Because of the signs that Jesus was doing, Nicodemus knew that Jesus must be from God. So he came to him at night when no one saw, and questioned him to find out more. Jesus told him that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Nicodemus asked Jesus “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4)
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that first you are born of water (physical birth) but then you must be born again of the Spirit. He went on to explain that He was indeed the Son of God and would one day be lifted up (crucified) and that whoever believes on Him would be born of the Spirit, receive eternal life, and no longer be condemned.
How To Believe On Jesus
When you believe on Jesus for salvation, it means that you believe He was crucified in your place.
It means that you believe that Jesus, the Son of God, who lived a completely sinless life, decided to take all your sin and the resulting curse, judgment, guilt and condemnation on the cross.
It means you believe that every bit of your judgment and guilt was put on Jesus when He was on that cross.
Believing on Jesus also means that you believe after He gave up His life and died, He was raised from the dead without your sin and made you a new creation, created in righteousness and true holiness. This is what being born again means.
What is the Free Gift of Righteousness?
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus was the great exchange. He was the pure and innocent sacrifice for sin. He actually became sin on the cross and gave you His righteousness in exchange.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Once you receive this gift of righteousness, this new life, you can never again be condemned. You can never again be found guilty before God.
Your new spirit is completely holy and perfect and in right standing with God forever. In fact, it looks just like Jesus. You can never be cursed or judged for sin. This is the amazing grace of Jesus and it is wonderful news!!
…and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24
There is nothing you can do to earn salvation. No man has ever lived a completely sinless perfect life except for Jesus Christ.
The more you try to earn right standing with God by your own efforts, the more you will feel condemned because you will always fall short of perfection. Believing that Jesus did it for you is the only way.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
What a wonderful gift! An eternal gift that no one can ever take from you. Being born again is the beginning of an amazing journey of getting to know Jesus and everything He has done for you.
How To Receive Salvation
If you would like to receive all that Jesus has done for you and accept His free gift of righteousness, you can pray something like the following prayer. The specific words are not what’s important. Your belief and agreement with who Jesus is and what He has done is what matters.
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
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. Romans 10:9
Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and giving your life on the cross. Your precious blood washes me clean of every sin. You are my Lord and my Savior, now and forever. I believe You rose from the dead and that You are alive today. Because of Your finished work, I am now a beloved child of God and heaven is my home. Thank You for giving me eternal life and filling my heart with Your peace and joy. Amen
What Does it Mean When You Are Born Again?
When you are born again, it means that your spirit has been raised from the dead. Your old spirit man is dead, and the new has come.
You have been raised to life in Christ. Now that you are born again, you can begin to discover who you truly are. The more you discover who Jesus is, the more you will know yourself because you look just like Him!
You are one Spirit with Jesus, seated in Heavenly places. You have free access to the Father. He will never judge you or condemn you.
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6-7
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17
It is your spirit that is miraculously, instantly changed when you receive salvation. Your spirit is made perfect and can never sin (Hebrews 12:23, 1 John 3:9).
Everything that is true of Jesus is true of your born-again spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 1:3, 15-23; Colossians 2:9-10; and 1 John 4:17).
When you receive salvation, you receive the same spirit that you will have throughout all eternity. Your spiritual salvation is complete.
Your spirit will never have to be changed or cleansed again! Your spirit has been sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Nothing will ever be able to separate your spirit from God.
What is Included in Salvation?
The work that Jesus did on the cross was a finished work. Everything you could ever need was provided for you in that work.
Peace, joy, life, health, prosperity, wisdom, protection and so much more were given to you when you were born again. It’s all in your spirit right now!
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 2 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, Ephesians 1:3
Remember that these realities occurred in your spirit being, which is the real you, but you also have a soul (your mind, will, and emotions) that will have to be renewed to the change that has occurred.
Your soul is like your operating system. It must be completely changed to operate according to the new you so that you can experience the wonderful benefits of salvation.
In your spirit, you are completely righteous, healed, delivered, and prosperous.
The word “saved” in the New Testament actually is translated from the Greek word “sozo” which means healed, delivered, made whole, prospered, saved.
All these realities are true in your spirit. As you begin to renew your mind to the Word of God, and think according to the truth, your life will be dramatically changed in every way. This is how you begin to live in the wonderful reality of what has happened in your spirit.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
The rest of your Christian life is a wonderful journey of discovering everything that was accomplished for you on the cross and learning to think in agreement with the Word of God. It is like a treasure hunt of discovering everything inside you!
Find a good Bible believing community and enjoy getting to know your beautiful savior, Jesus Christ.