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 are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, 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? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter 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 marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus took Jesus literally asking him, “How can an old man be born again”? By this we see that Nicodemus understood exactly what Jesus said, he just did not understand the meaning of what Jesus said. Then Jesus explained it to him. Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Here Jesus is making a distinction between physical birth and spiritual birth. He says they are two entirely different things. Notice also that Jesus says you must be born both physically and spiritually to enter the kingdom of heaven. First comes the physical birth (conception) - you become a physical human being, then comes the spiritual birth - the second birth or being born again. Jesus called it being born of the Spirit two times in this passage of scripture. So obviously the Spirit of God has a lot to do with being born again.
Matthew 9:16,17 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
Jesus made this statement to show that something new would be coming. That He would bring the new life by the Holy Spirit and place it inside of you such that you would become a new person. Of course at the time they didn’t know what he meant, but notice what the crowd said later when the Holy Spirit did come into people.
Acts 2:12,13 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
Isn’t it amazing that the crowd described the Holy Spirit entering into people as being drunk with new wine! The very thing that Jesus said he would do he did! These things were said by Jesus and experienced by the first believers. Later as God delivered His words through the apostles they taught on the subject of being born again.
II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Here we read that being placed “in Christ” is involved in a person being born again. When you are born again you become a new creation, a new being. You are not the same person you were before. You now have an old life, life before Christ, and a new life, life with Christ. This is so true that Paul wrote…
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Paul said that he died with Christ and that he himself no longer lives (the old life), but now Christ has come in to him (being in Christ and being born again) so that now he has a new life (Christ himself) which is lived by faith. Here are some more verses that clearly teach that when a person surrenders to Jesus they become a new person by the Holy Spirit.
- Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
- Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.
- Ephesians 4:24 And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
- Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.
- Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We see that the Christians acknowledged that they too once lived in sin, but now they no longer do because they became saved (born again) not by doing good things, but by the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit...through Jesus Christ.” This is a very clear reference to being born again. The phrase “born of God” is used seven times in I John:
- I John 3:9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
- I John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
- I John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.
- I John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.
- I John 5:18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
Below in I Peter is the second place in the New Testament that uses the phrase “born again”. We read that a person is born again of incorruptible seed that is Jesus - who was not corrupted - who did not sin. Seed produces life.
I Peter 1:23...having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
John 1:12,13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, 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.
'Born again' does not refer to the false belief called reincarnation. It is clear from the Bible that you must be born again while you are a person in this life. As a human being you must choose to believe and receive Jesus and at that moment you will become a new person being born again of the Spirit of God. God is clear that being born again is "of the Spirit and not of the flesh". It is spiritual not physical. Jesus said, "You must be born again..."
A person becomes born again when they believe in Jesus and surrender themselves over to him. When you do that Jesus himself will come into you by his Spirit. In an instant you will be a new person and you will know it. You will be born of God and become a member of God’s family becoming one of his children. Jesus will then live in you for all eternity therefore you have eternal life. Why not believe in Jesus right now and surrender yourself to him. You have all of heaven to gain and hell to lose. Jesus is ready, willing and waiting for you with his arms open wide to receive you to himself. God says...
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)