Jesus said to Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of his day, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus meant. Sadly, many today do not understand Jesus’ words either. Let me ask you plainly, have you ever been born again? Have you ever been made a new person in Christ and been set free from the power of sin in your life by believing in Jesus Christ? According to Jesus, if you haven’t been born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. In other words, you will not spend eternity enjoying the presence of God but will instead be separated from him in hell for all eternity. It is not enough to say that you have “accepted Jesus in your heart” or “asked for forgiveness.” Jesus said you must be born again!
But how is one “born again”? Being “born again” is a work accomplished by the Spirit of God. For a person to believe in Jesus Christ and turn away from their sin, God must give them the power to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. This is referred to as being “born again”. The gospel is the good news about what God has done in and through Jesus Christ to reconcile sinners to Himself. To reconcile means to restore a good relationship between two parties who are at odds with one another. According to the Bible, every person born into the world starts out as an enemy of God by birth. According to the Bible (Romans 5:12), we are sinners who are under God’s judgment. The following ideas and Bible verses present foundational truths by which we may rightly understand and receive the promises and blessings of the Gospel and thereby become born again.
GOD. There is only one true God and He has revealed Himself to us in His word (the Bible). He is the holy and just Creator of all things, including you. Because He made you, He has authority over you. Have you ever truly recognized God for who He is and fully submitted to Him as your Creator and God? To do so, you must begin with a proper understanding of who God is. Here are a few verses from the Bible to help you better know Him.
HE IS THE CREATOR: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
HE IS HOLY: Revelation 15:4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy...”
HE IS JUST: Deuteronomy 32:4 "The Rock (God), his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
HE IS AGAINST THOSE WHO LOVE AND PRACTICE THEIR SIN: Psalm 11:5 “The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
HE MADE US FOR HIS PURPOSES: Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and for your will they existed and were created.”
Have you ever truly recognized God for who He is and fully submitted to Him as your Creator and God?
MAN. God created man (men and women) in His image and likeness. This means we are unlike the animals in that we have a soul. However, we have sinned against God by breaking His holy commandments, seeking to live life in our own sinful way. Man is therefore separated from God because of sin. Man is spiritually dead and unable to obey God’s word in his own strength or ability. This is why people continue to practice their sins despite wanting and trying to stop sinning. As a result, man will one day physically die and stand before God to give an account for every thought, word, and deed. According to the Bible we will all be “judged according to our deeds” in the final day of judgment. Imagine what it is to stand before an earthly judge if you are guilty. Now consider that one day you will stand before the Almighty God to be judged.
Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'”
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death….”
1 John 3:4 “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”
Isaiah 64:6 “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our best deeds are like a filthy garment.”
Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Man is spiritually dead and unable to obey God’s word in his own strength or ability.
CHRIST. In light of the previous two truths, what mankind needs is a holy and righteous Savior who can rescue men from their sin. Thankfully, God is a God who also loves. God demonstrated this love by sending Jesus, the eternal Son of God in human flesh. Jesus is the holy and righteous Savior. Jesus is also the only mediator who can restore man to a right relationship with God. This happens when we are born again and become children of God by believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus did what we could not do. Jesus, who Himself is God, came to this earth as a man. He was born of the virgin Mary. He lived in perfect obedience to God’s law. He suffered and died on the cross in the place of sinners (His blood paid the ransom for our sins). He rose in victory from the grave (defeating sin and death), and now sits at the right hand of God the Father where He reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is salvation (deliverance from the power and penalty of sin) in no one else. Sin brings misery, and when Jesus sets someone free from sin, they can finally begin to experience abundant life in Christ. No one is more joyful than those who truly follow Christ.
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
John 10:10 “…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -Jesus
1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 1:15 “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…”
Act 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Romans 1:4 “…and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…”
Jesus is the holy and righteous Savior. Jesus is also the only mediator who can restore man to a right relationship with God.
RESPONSE. The question remains, “How does this become good news for me?” Do you recognize that you have lived a life of sin against God, and are therefore deserving of His just wrath and judgment? Is your heart broken over these things? Do you desire to be forgiven of your sins and restored to a right relationship to God? Are you willing to give up your life of sin and follow Jesus? This is what the Bible calls repentance. To repent is to have a radical change of mind regarding sin and God. It’s a change from loving sin and hating God, to hating sin and loving God. To follow Jesus is a costly matter. It will cost you your very life. You will no longer be able to live as you please, but will seek to do God’s will from this day forward. Are you willing to repent and follow Jesus?
What will you do now? Many people claim to believe in Him whose lives have never been changed.
We must not only repent, but we must also believe in Jesus Christ. Many people claim to believe in Him whose lives have never been changed. It is one thing to sincerely think you believe in Jesus and it is quite another thing to actually put your faith and trust in Him and believe that He will save you from the power of sin in your day to day life. That is why the Bible says to “examine yourself to see if you are in the faith…” (2 Corinthians 13:5). To
believe in Jesus is to believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is and that He has done what the Bible says He has done. When a person repents of their sin and believes in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God works this new birth in them. Please understand, you don’t have the strength in yourself to accomplish this miraculous new birth. To be born again is God’s work.
Luke 13:3 “…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”.
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Acts 20:21 “testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Acts 10:42-43 “And he [God the Father] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he [Jesus] is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
What now? Having read these truths, do you now recognize your desperate need for a Savior? Do you desire to turn from your sin and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sin and rose from the dead for your salvation? Do you recognize that believing in Jesus Christ alone can save you? If you believe with all your heart, it is important for you to understand that “…to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 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). In other words, those who truly believe in Jesus have been born again.
If this miraculous new birth has taken place in your heart, begin to tell others about what Christ has done for you. Start reading God’s Word daily (begin in the Gospel of John and the Psalms) and talk to God in prayer. As soon as possible, obey God by being baptized (not to be saved, but as an act of obedience indicating you have been saved) and begin attending a Bible believing church. However, you need to understand that there are good churches and bad churches. You need to find a church that is truly committed to the Bible, to the gospel you have just believed, and to God’s glory. Be sure to compare everything you are taught, even what has been taught on this website, with the Bible.
“…to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 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).
It is also important to understand that a true Christian (follower of Jesus Christ) will continue to follow Jesus throughout their life. If you find yourself living a life that is contrary to the way Jesus Christ lived, even if you say you have believed in Jesus, do not rely upon this or any other past experience that you may have had and think that you must be a Christian. According to Jesus, even those who had “believed” in Him still must follow him as the evidence of the genuineness of their faith. “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’" (John 8:31-32).
If you still don’t believe in the gospel, then I would lovingly plead with you to continue to think on these things. Recognize that you are under the judgment of a Holy God until you put your faith in Jesus Christ. This is a matter of eternal life or death. Take it seriously. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). My prayer is that you will enter through the narrow gate, which is Jesus Christ, and experience this new birth. By believing in Christ you will bring glory to God with your life and begin to experience the joy and peace that only God can give.