How to be born again? What should one do? What happens then? When you are born again, do you feel a power that you have not had until that moment? Do people who are born again return to the life they have had before? Please, answer me these questions because I really can not understand anything. Thank you.
The Lord Jesus presented this subject broadly to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews. He addressed some of these questions, so the best thing it would be to follow the Savior’s discussion with Nicodemus to understand the essential truths about being born again. I will address them in the form of questions. So then …
Why you must be born again?
Chapter 3 of the Gospel of John begins:
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:1-5)(NASB)
Nicodemus did not know about being born again and unlike the author of the question, he did not even address that question. But because being born again is very important, Jesus went straight to the point and highlighted two major things about the importance of being born again, namely:
- unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God
- unless one is born of water and the Spirit (be born again) he cannot enter into the kingdom of God
Thus, anyone who wants to inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God will not ignore this issue, but will do whatever it takes to know …
What is being born again?
When the Lord Jesus said that unless one is born again he can not see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4)(NASB)
He asked so because he thought that the new birth is a natural birth or similar to it. So ..
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and 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. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
There are two views on the significance of being born of water. The first argues that when Jesus said of water He was referring to the Word of God because the Epistle of James writes:
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:18)(NASB)
And it is true that no man can be born again until he knows and believes the truth of God’s Word.
Another view is that being born of water refers to physical birth, because the fetus is in a water environment and when a woman begins to deliver the baby these waters break at first. But certainly, it does not refer to baptism in this passage, as some believe, because baptism is the one that follows after one is born again.
One thing is absolutely clear and very important in this passage – that Jesus insists a lot that Nicodemus understands that the new birth is the birth of the Holy Spirit and he contrasts this birth of the Spirit with the birth of the flesh. The Scripture tells us more about being born again when It says about the coming of the Lord Jesus on the earth and about the people who accepted Him into their hearts:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)(NASB)
So, the new birth:
- is not birth of flesh (physical birth)
- is birth of the Spirit
- is not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man
- is birth of God
If we have found out what is being born again, we want to know …
How is a born again man?
Lord Jesus told Nicodemus the following things about the man who is born again:
Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:7-8)(NASB)
As the wind can not be seen with the eyes how and where it comes from, so it is with the born again man. The new birth can not be seen with physical eyes by other people, but they see the effects of being born again. People can not see how a man was born of the Holy Spirit and can not see how the new birth takes one into the Kingdom of God, but they see the effect of being born again, because the life of a born again man is totally different from the way he has lived before being born again. Once you know these things about being born again and if you believe, then, without doubt, your next question will be …
How to be born again?
After the Lord Jesus presented these important truths about being born again:
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” (John 3:9)
By faith. Only through faith in Jesus. Here’s why the Savior began his answer with a rebuke to the Pharisees who did not believe, saying:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. (John 3:10-13)(NASB)
After having rebuked the Pharisees (in the person of Nicodemus) for their unbelief, Jesus answers the question “How can one be born again?” and says:
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
The Kingdom of God is eternal life and to enter into this kingdom is to have eternal life. Jesus says that only he who believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Do not forget that in this passage Jesus answers the question of Nicodemus how one can be born again. This can occur only through faith in Jesus Christ. But someone will say: “But today all believe in Jesus Christ. So, automatically, all are born again …” How great that would be … But unfortunately, there are very few people who are born again and truly Christians. Then …
What should you do specifically to be born again?
The new birth and salvation (deliverance from eternal destruction) are almost synonymous in the Scriptures, because only when someone is born again one is saved from eternal destruction. In the Epistle to Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote:
if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
You must believe wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus and if you believe in Him, then you will confess Him as the Lord with your mouth. Today the word “Lord” does not have the meaning in the first century. Today, the word “Lord” is rather an appeal for civility. Then, however, slaves addressed this way to their masters, because they were totally dependent on them and were in total obedience to them. To confess Jesus as the Lord means to make a firm decision in your heart to totally obey to the will of the Savior, for the rest of your life. His will is written in the Scripture. So, to confess Jesus as the Lord means to firmly decide to live in complete obedience to Him. If this is your heart’s desire, then after reading this article, get your knees and in prayer address to God. Here is a model of prayer for entering the New Covenant and be born again
What happens at the new birth?
Major and very important things. You receive forgiveness from God for all your sins. You also receive the Holy Spirit of God who will guide you into all truth and will empower you to be victorious over sin from that moment on.
What do you feel when you are born again?
The Scripture does not teach that one must feel something special when being born again. But it is clear that at the new birth takes place a major change in people’s lives and their priorities are changed. A born again man will have a great desire to know and to study the Scriptures, because He is impassioned by the desire to be pleasing to God and to do everything according to His Word.
I think it is welcome to share here how my new birth took place and what I felt then. On the evening of November 27, 1991, I was in the Hotel “Izmailovo” in Moscow and I firmly decided to enter into the New Covenant with Jesus Christ. I knelt down and prayed to God with a prayer similar with the model I gave you above. After I prayed, fully convinced of God’s promise in the Bible, I knew that He forgave my sins, that He made me His child and gave me His Holy Spirit. I slept well and quietly that night, unlike other nights when I stirred in my unbelief and indecision. The next day I woke up with an indescribable peace in my heart. The greatest desire was to read and understand the Scriptures. Therefore, I chose to go to a Christian bookstore and I bought a Bible Encyclopedia to find an explanation of what I would not understand from the Bible. In a short time I read the whole Bible again. I was burning with desire to come to Chisinau and to apologize to the people to whom I had done something bad, a thing which I had never practiced before. I was also burning with desire to get home quickly and tell mine about my new birth. When I came home, I did so. Then, I quickly searched for an evangelical church with born again people like me, who had the same living desire to live according to Holy Scriptures.
Do those born again go back to their sinful life?
No way. Because these people have made a covenant with the Lord Jesus and have received the Holy Spirit and live by faith, they are victorious over sin and they do not return to their sinful life anymore. Here’s what Scripture says in this regard:
No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (1 John 3:9)(NASB)
But someone will ask …
And what will be if it happens that the born again one sins?
It happens to the born again one to sin accidentally. But in such cases he does not have rest until he confesses his sin before God and before men against whom he has sinned. That is why the Apostle John wrote:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)(NASB)
And he also says …
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. (1 John 2:1-3)(NASB)
When I tell people about the new birth, I am often asked this question …
Can you can be born again and do not get attached to any church?
No, you can not do not like that. The Scripture says:
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. (1 John 5:1-2)(NASB)
The born-again Christian loves other children of God. On the day when you are born again you become a member of the family of God. The church is the assembly of the born again Christians. How can you be part of this family and ignore other members? Then, each Christian has a duty to serve the Church with his spiritual gifts. How can you serve some people if you ignore them. If you are born again it is very important to look for a local church made up of born again people who study the Scripture and have committed themselves to live according to the teachings of Christ. God help you so.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru