You Did WHAT Again?

The decision to accept Jesus begins a new life

by Edward Langenback

© 05/25/02

In a comment on a recent article a reader writes:

"Born again Christian" is one who is Baptized. That is my understanding of what it means. I feel a person who strives for goodness is the one who will see the Kingdom of God. He may not have been baptized, but his acts if pure like the Holy Water, he is destined to be in heaven. Keep writing.

This comment raises some questions about what many people have gone through life believing. They have assumed certain things to be true without proper foundation in God's Word.

The first question is the main one that I want to look at here:

Just What Is a "Born again Christian"?

To answer this, let us once again revisit that late night meeting with Nicodemus which is the root of the whole concept of being born again:

John 3:3, "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."

Take a look at verse three when Jesus says 'born again'. The word 'born' is translated from the Greek word gennao {ghen-nah'-o} [strongs number 1080] and means 'to be born' a new life is created as when a child is born. The word 'again' is translated from the Greek word anothen {an'-o-then} [strongs number 509] and means from above, from a higher place, things which come from heaven or God, from the first, from the beginning, from the very first, anew, over again. This begins to give us a clearer understanding that being born again means literally undergoing a spiritual rebirth, where God gives birth to our spirit.

Also important to understand are the statements in verse five about being 'born of water' and 'of the spirit'.

John 3:5, "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."

In this verse, we'll first examine the phrase 'born of water':

The word 'born' is the same as in the verse above The word 'of' is translated from the Greek word ek {ek} or ex {ex} [strongs number 1537] and means out of, from, by. The word 'water is translated from the Greek hudor {hoo'-dore} [strongs number 5204] and means water in any of the earth's repositories (rivers, in fountains, in pools, oceans, seas, etc.). This word speaks of the earthly, or physical nature of the event where we are born into this world. For example when a woman is ready to give birth, the water sac around the baby breaks, and the baby is literally born 'out of water'.

The next phrase to look at is 'and of the Spirit':

The original Greek text, if translated literally reads, 'and Spirit'. The words 'of the' were inserted by the translators, and in this case, the text can actually read more clearly without them.

The word 'and' is translated from the Greek word kai {kahee} [strongs number 2532] and means and, also, even, indeed, but.

The word 'Spirit' is translated from the Greek pneuma {pnyoo'-mah} [strongs number 4151] and has a host of meanings, all of which center on the concept of spirit, specifically the Spirit that is God. The animating force that is the source of life itself.

Given these meanings, the statement that Jesus made in verse five can be much better rendered to be 'unless you are born spiritually as well as physically, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.'

Simply put, we humans in our 'natural' state when not born again, are spiritually dead. The sin nature that we inherit from Adam infects our entire being, making it impossible for us to enter the kingdom of God. However, Jesus makes it clear that being born again, this time in a spiritual birth. In this way we gain a new inheritance. By being born spiritually, we inherit His spiritual nature and life. Thus we gain the ability to enter the kingdom of God. Whether we USE that ability or not is another matter.

To be born again is to allow your dead spirit to be immersed in the death of Jesus on the cross, and to be reborn with Him when He is raised from the dead.

When we make this choice, we relinquish control of our own lives to Jesus, choosing instead to follow His will in all that we do. Living not our own lives, but His.

In these last days, the time during which we have the option of making this choice is growing to a close. For while we are breathing on this earth is the only time that we have the authority to make our own decisions. If we do not choose to honor Jesus as Lord now, then we will do so later at the judgement. At that point it will be too late.

At this moment, Jesus is calling out to all of us. I urge you to answer that call and give your life to Him. Accept the new life that He has bought for you on the cross. Choose to be born again and live the life of the Spirit.