What Does it Mean to be Born Again?

John 3: 1-8
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of 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. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

I imagine that this was probably a pretty hard teaching in Jesus' day. In fact, still today, it can be a difficult teaching to understand for the one that is not led by the Spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus to "marvel not" at this teaching. In other words, he was saying, don't be astonished or wonder at this teaching because this is the only way to see the kingdom of God!

So what does it mean to be born again? Being born again is a miracle that only God can perform in your life. He draws you near to Him by the power of His Holy Spirit. Once you ask God to save you, repent of your sin, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, then God supernaturally transforms you. Believe it or not, this was not a brand new teaching. The Scribes and Pharisees prided themselves as experts on Jewish law, the first five books of the Bible, and knowing the Books of the Prophets as well. They were students of what was their Bible, however, they reacted as if this concept was unheard of. I believe it's safe to say that the way Jesus worded the concept of God's saving grace by terming the process "being born again" is what made the Scribes and Pharisees marvel over it. I am going to explain what I am saying, please bear with me.

What is actually happening in the body and spirit of a person when they are born again? The heart is being cleansed, changed, or circumcised. Remember God's covenant with Abraham? God had Abraham to circumcise the flesh of every male in his clan. God still uses circumcision as a sign of His covenant with the people, however, the circumcision that takes place now is circumcision of the heart. This is where I am going to link my previous statement about the concept not being brand new. Let's take a look at Ezekiel 36:26, it says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give an heart of flesh." Here God tells us what is going to take place in the heart during the "new birth" or when we are "born again". Along with getting a new heart, we also receive a new spirit. Let's look at the next verse in Ezekiel, verse 27. "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Now do you see what I mean by saying that the teaching itself should not have been new to Nicodemus. The wording of the teaching is what made him marvel. This was also to fulfill prophecy that they would be hearing but not understanding.

Why do we need to be born again in order to see the kingdom of God? Paul gives us the answer to this question in 1 Corinthians 2:11-14. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the thing of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." You can't know God without having His Spirit put in you.

You see friend, in order to know the things of God, to know His ways, and to understand or discern His will, we must be changed in our hearts and in our spirits. Our hearts were hardened by the troubles of the world. We had become like stone with no emotion to the harshness of this evil world. We were not aware of the wiles or trickery of the enemy. We had no desire to know God personally because our human, sinful nature kept a veil between us and God. We were under judgment from the law. The law only seemed like a set of rules put in place that we could not follow, had no interest in following, took the "fun" out of life. But once we were "born again" and received a new heart and new life from the Spirit, the law was no longer a stumbling block for us. Through new birth in Christ, we were set free from the judgement of the law.

Friend, Jesus stressed and reiterated in John 3:1-8 to marvel not at his teaching. Don't be surprised by it; don't be in wonder over it; don't gruel over the teaching. If we want to see the kingdom of God, we must be born again! I pray that one of two things have happened as you read this post: 1. You received confirmation, 2. You were convicted. I pray that you will pray about it and ask God to give you assurance in faith that you have been born again, born of the Spirit of God! In Jesus Name, Amen. God bless you!


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