What It Means to be “Born Again” (Part 1)

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Born Again and Born from Above

John 3.1-3Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 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.”

3 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 was a very important religious leader. He knew some things about Jesus, but came to Jesus to learn more.

Jesus came quickly to the point and told Nicodemus that all people need to be born again. The Greek word that is usually translated “born again” can also be translated “from above.” We can combine both meanings to obtain a good paraphrase. All persons need to be “born again from above.”

Please explain more.

John 3.4-8Nicodemus 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?”

5 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. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 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.”

Nicodemus latched onto one meaning of the words, “born again.” He needed Jesus to explain further.

Human birth is a natural event that has been given to be part of human existence by God. It involves human interaction, even to the point of the breaking of the mother’s water prior to the birth of a child. Nicodemus is entirely correct. It is a one-time experience and no one can repeat it after the first birth.

Jesus informed Nicodemus that the second birth, the one from above, comes from the action of the Holy Spirit. God promised the activity of the Spirit, “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37.14). Jesus let Nicodemus and us know that the promise is available to bring us to genuine, abundant life.

Your Turn

If you have never been “born again from above” through the power of the Holy Spirit, please pray today’s prayer from your heart. If you have experienced God’s new birth from above by means of His Spirit, be sure to thank him for this magnificent gift.

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, thank you for the gift of Jesus coming into the world. Also, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. I trust my life to what Jesus did for me in his life and ministry. I ask that you give me this new birth from above. I receive your new life and rejoice that I can live in the presence and activity of your Holy Spirit.

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