Ye Must Be Born Again!

by David J. Stewart | January 2008 | Updated June 2017

What Does It Mean To Be “Born Again”?

       My friend, if you believe (personally trust) that Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten Son of God Who DIED on the cross for your sins, was BURIED and bodily RESURRECTED three days later, you are saved. According to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 in the Scriptures, we are saved by believing THE GOSPEL (i.e., Good News) of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. If you've made the Gospel your only hope for Heaven, then you are a born-again child of God.

I'd like to explain to you in depth what it means to be “born again.” This term first appears in the Bible in John chapter three...

“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.” (John 3:1-7; NOTE: All Scripture references are ONLY to the precious KING JAMES BIBLE).

To understand this Biblical term, it is necessary to understand that there are TWO BIRTHS. The "first" birth is the PHYSICAL BIRTH when you were born into this world from your mother and father. When the Bible speaks of being "born of water," it is speaking about the physical birth (NOT baptism). The "second" birth is a SPIRITUAL BIRTH, which means to be born of the "Spirit" (God's Holy Spirit). Why does a person need to be born spiritually? What is a "spiritual" birth?

The Bible teaches that man is created in the image of God. God manifests Himself to mankind in the Persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Likewise, mankind is composed of a body, soul, and spirit. Our body is the "tent" you could say of the soul and spirit (the body is a temporary dwelling place). Our soul is composed of the heart (to feel), the mind (to think), and the will (to decide). 

Our spirit is dead in sin when we are born; that is, we are born void of God. No person is ever born with God. The only exception is the Lord Jesus Christ Who came as God in the flesh (1st Timothy 3:16). Our spirit is dead in trespasses and sin the Bible says...

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:1,2)

The unsaved person cannot understand God, nor His Word...

“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.” (1st Corinthians 2:14)

The reason why you need to be “spiritually” born is because you have never been spiritually born to begin with. So when the Bible speaks of being “born again,” it actually means “born for the second time.” You were born physically into this world, but you were born without the Spirit of God in your soul (spiritually dead). Yes, God created you, but He gave you a freewill to decide for yourself where you will spend eternity. 

God never forces anyone to accept Jesus as their Savior. He simply offers a warm invitation to anyone who wants to have their sins forgiven and go to Heaven. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 5:15), paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18,19). We must accept God's gift of eternal life or it WILL be forever forfeited when we leave this world (die). God has made it very simple and easy to be saved. All you have to do is place your complete trust in Jesus Christ, believing that He DIED on the cross for your sins, and was BURIED, and bodily RAISED UP three days later. This Good News is Biblically referred to as the Gospel” (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).

God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Notice, God said they would die “the day that thou eatest thereof.” Interestingly, Adam and Eve DIDN'T die physically the day they ate the fruit and disobeyed God's command. Do you know why?

The reason is because they died SPIRITUALLY instead of bodily (physical death came many years later). Sin had now entered the human race. The Bible teaches that, from Adam until present time, mankind has been born spiritually dead, inherited from Adam's sin. This is why humanity MUST be born-again. This is only possible through the Holy Spirit of God, which makes us alive again (quickeneth the Bible says) by faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

God's Holy Spirit gives spiritual life. John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” That's what “inspired” means when we talk about the Holy Spirit. Think of “inspired” as “in-Spirit.” That is, God's Holy Spirit gives life to His Words. According to Google's advanced algorithms, there have been approximately 129,864,800 books published in history!

To be “spiritually” born means that God's Holy Spirit “quickens” (or makes alive) our dead spirit. When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus as the Christ, trusting Him alone to forgive all sins—then God the Father and God the Son come into one's heart in the form of God the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). The “Holy Spirit” is “God within us.” 

I have God living in my body in the form of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 tells us that the Spirit of Christ dwells within every believer. I am not God, but I have God's Spirit living in my body. The Godhead indwells every believer. The Holy Spirit of God guides me, comforts me, teaches me, rebukes me, chastises me, convicts me, encourages me, empowers me, loves me, strengthens me, and so much more. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to do these things. This is why it is critically important for every believer to live in their Bible (and make sure you have a reliable Bible—I only use the King James). 

A person cannot understand the Bible without the presence of the Author, and God is the Author. When you become born-again (or born for the second time), God's Holy Spirit comes into your body (1st Corinthians 3:16), never to leave (Hebrews 13:5), and you will understand many new things for the first time in your life...

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” —2nd Corinthians 5:17

It is ONLY through the Precious Word of God that anyone can be born-again. Surely, no one can be born into this world again physically... there is no turning back the hands of time. However, you most certainly can be born again, spiritually, into God's family through the Spirit of Christ... “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). The way we become "born again" is found in the Word of God...

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” —1st Peter 1:23

We are born again by the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1,14: Revelation 19:13). The following statement sums it up pretty good...

If you're born once, then you die TWICE;
If you're born twice, then you die ONCE.

If you don't receive Jesus Christ and become a born again Christian, then you will sadly burn in Hellfire for all eternity (John 3:18, 36; Revelation 20:15; 21:8). Perhaps you say, “That born again stuff makes no sense to me.” Well, most people can't explain how a black cow can eat green grass, give white milk, and then it's turned into yellow butter—but they still eat it!

As my pastor used to say, “Being born-again means having He Who is the Beginning (Jesus Christ) born in you.” Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” That's a beautiful way to explain it. When a person is born-again, the Spirit of Christ comes to live in that person's body. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9b). This birth comes about only through faith in the Son of God.

The GOOD NEWS (the Gospel) is that it is very EASY to have the second birth, i.e., a spiritual birth. God came down to this earth 2,000 years ago and took upon Himself the form of a man.  That man was the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14; 1st Timothy 3:16). Literally, the GODHEAD became incarnate (Colossians 2:9--King James Bible). 

Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus never sinned even once (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). Jesus died, was buried and rose again after three days (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus shed His precious blood to pay for all our sins (Colossians 1:14; 1st Peter 1:18,19), and applied that blood to the Mercyseat in Heaven (Hebrews 9:12, 24-26).

Jesus is the Savior (i.e., the Christ) who paid for our sins. If you realize that you're a guilty sinner (and thus need a Savior), then you simply need to believe on Jesus to have your sins forgiven. All God the Father asks is that we come for salvation through His Son, Jesus.

Acts 20:21 states: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Repentance and faith are inseparable. Repentance is simply a change of mind that involves turning to Jesus Christ to be forgiven of one's sins. The words “believe” and “believeth” appear 85-times in the Gospel of John; but the word “repent” isn't mentioned even once. Obviously, the person who believes has repented.

Salvation happens when a person acknowledges their guilt of sin, and comes to God on the basis of being a hell-deserving sinner; believing on Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, for forgiveness. Acts 10:43 states: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”

Jesus Came To Save Sinners!

You may pray if you'd like, but you don't have to. Salvation is of the heart (Romans 10:10). If you'd like to pray, simply ask Jesus to forgive your sins and tell Him that you're trusting Him as your Savior. It matters not exactly what you pray, just as long as you realize these two main truths:

  1. You are a guilty sinner under the condemnation of God's Law!
  2. Jesus is the Savior who shed His blood to take away your sins!

You might pray something like this...

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a Hell-deserving sinner. I believe You are the only begotten Son of God, the Savior, who shed your blood to pay for my sins. I believe the Good News (Gospel) that You DIED on the cross to pay for my sins, and that You were BURIED, and You bodily RAISED UP three days later for my justification. That is all I am trusting in to get me to Heaven. I accept your free gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Thank you Jesus! Amen.

That's it my friend. If you BELIEVE the Gospel, then you are saved. Did you know that you don't have to “ask” Jesus to forgive your sins? That is 100% correct! Jesus has already paid for everyone's sins with His precious blood. That's why eternal life is called a “free gift” in Romans 5:15. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God has already PROMISED to save anyone who BELIEVES! 1st John 2:25, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”

Salvation is NOT a prayer, although you may prayer a sinner's prayer to express your heart's faith in Jesus. We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ which is charged to our account at the time of salvation. This is the IMPUTED righteousness of Jesus Christ... “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. We are saved by God's grace through faith in Christ Jesus, because of the blood that He sacrificed for our sins. Our part is only to believe.

Salvation is not a matter of praying some special words. The publican merely cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” The thief on the cross simply asked Jesus to "remember" him, and Jesus most certainly did. It was their faith in Christ and not their words, that brought salvation. Both men acknowledged their guilt of sin and turned to Jesus Christ for forgiveness. There is nothing “magic” about the words you pray, it is your faith (trust) upon Jesus Christ that brings salvation. It is your faith that causes you to call upon Jesus to forgive your sins and take you to Heaven. God wants to save you more than you could ever want to be saved (2nd Peter 3:9).

Salvation is very simple—we are sinners and Jesus is the Savior. Anyone who believes on the name of Jesus for salvation becomes a part of God's family (Romans 10:13; Galatians 3:26). Eternal life is a free gift—freely given and freely received. Salvation is receiving; not giving. Our part is to acknowledge our guilt of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven.

You see friend, there is no religion involved here, ONLY Jesus. The big issue is that we are all sinners, and that sin MUST be dealt with. The Word of God indicts all of us as guilty sinners. Jesus wants to be our Attorney and set us free. You must accept God's plea-agreement in Christ Jesus, or stand trial at The Great White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). Please read Divine Justice. Thankfully, God offers us a full pardon by way of the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Amen!

Salvation is NOT found in a religion, but in a Person—The Lord Jesus Christ.

P.S. —I have written a 40 chapter book concerning Salvation if you'd like to learn more. It covers everything from information about Hell to the precious literal blood sacrifice of Christ. The book is based upon my own battle with the assurance of salvation for several years, when I first became saved.

Also, The Simplicity of Salvation  |  You Need HIS Righteousness  |  Salvation Crystal Clear


Peter Preaches The Simple Gospel

God's Imputed Righteousness By Faith

The Gospel In Just One Minute (by Pastor Max D. Younce)

I Never Knew You (a helpful .PDF book by Michael P. Bowen defending the clarity of the Gospel)

A correct view of Biblical salvation!

Why Lordship Salvation Is Wrong!
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold)

The Fundamental Top 500