We received the question, “What does it mean by someone being born again“?
This is a great question and very important to understand. First let’s break things down a bit. There are two types of people:
- Believers / Saved: Those who have repented of their sin, and believe in the person and work of Jesus, accepting Him as their Lord and Savior. Aka Christians or followers of Jesus.
- Non-believers / Not Saved: Those who do not believe in the person and work of Jesus, and/or do not believe in God.
Let’s focus in the non-believers for a moment, those not saved. They have one life and two deaths.
- One life: Born from their mothers womb as a baby. All of us are born this way to enter the world.
- First death: When the physical body dies.
- Second death: This is when the person is thrown into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his demon angels (fallen angels). This is the eternal separation from God. (Revelation 20:6; Revelation 20:14-15; Revelation 20)
Now let’s look at the believers, those who are saved. They have two life’s, and one death.
Life one: Born from their mothers womb as a baby. All of us are born this way to enter the world.
Original sin:The problem is, we inherit original sin from the fall, the disobedience of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21; Romans 5:12) in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). This disobedience created a bad smell, a bad aroma, already separating us from God.
Even while in the womb being formed (Psalm 51:5), each person has this bad aroma, which follows them out of the womb (Isaiah 48:8), and as they grow up. Even though the baby has not personally sinned, had no evil thoughts, said nothing bad, and committed no evil actions, they still have this bad aroma, which is not pleasing to God, and must be wiped away in order to be in His presence in heaven. This bad aroma within us, causes us to have a natural instinct to rebel against God, which grows into thoughts, desires, and actions as we grow up (1 John 3:8; James 1:15).
Personal sin: The original sin is a trigger in a person to be drawn towards, like a magnet, to pride, wanting our own way, power, greed, lust, envy, etc (Matthew 15:19; Jeremiah 17:9). Sin is not like a tsunami which enters our life all once once, something that we can easily see present in our life, but rather the very opposite. Sin is more like yeast (1 Corinthians 5:6), that slowly spreads through the bread dough, slowly making it rise. A person who sins belongs to the devil, because they cannot belong to God (Matthew 6:24). A person who sins prefers the darkness, to do evil deeds (John 3:19-21), the deeds of the devil (John 8:44).
As a baby we take ownership of our parents, of our toys, don’t like to share, and often become envious of other kids toys, wanting them for ourselves. We don’t know or realize what we are doing, this is our instinct, in our nature, however, is like the growing stem of a plant, leading to more, and the realization of it.
As young people we grow, and are not often times humble, but prideful, rather stubborn, blaming others for what we did, not taking ownership or being accountable for what we do. We begin to know good from bad.
As teenagers we grow, our eyes begin to see what money, fame, and power can do. We desire more and more to be popular, and do not often care the method it takes to obtain it, or how it affects others. We become defiant, knowing something is wrong, but doing it anyway to satisfy our selfishness.
As adults, the desire of our heart becomes wealth, power, and status. We chase the almighty dollar to which we believe will bring our happiness and security for this life. We tend to want more, often times putting the God of our creation, family, and friends, behind our drive for success.
As parents, grandparents, mentors, teachers, brothers, sisters cousins, uncles, aunts, etc, our example in this life is seen and mimicked. We teach the younger generations, and the follow suit, lusting, craving, desiring, and striving for the same things, believing the same things, to their own peril.
Second Life: There are those, some young people, others on their death bed, and those in between, who God allows them to go through a season of life that drops them to their knees. In this time of vulnerability, they are humbled. Their heart of stone, the walls of rejecting God and His Son are down, their pride is gone, crumbled, and their ears are open.
Just like the ancient days where God would send a prophet to tell the people to repent of their sins, and to look to the Lord. God sends a messenger to this person (Isaiah 52:7). They may have heard the Gospel message before in life, and this is a reminder, or this is the first time they are hearing it. At this moment, their ears do not reject the message, their eyes are seeing the sin in their life, they understand the person and work of Jesus on the cross, who died for their sins, and they see the love that God has for them. In that moment, the walls of pride and rejection are down, and they do what they were unable to before in their defiance (1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14). In His perfect timing, God uses this vulnerable time to allow them to see Him through Jesus (John 14:6-7).
This person, in agreement of the sins in their life, their rebellion against God, confesses their sins, repents, turning away from their sins, and toward God (Acts 3:19), believing in the person and work of Jesus as their personal Savior (John 3:16-17; Romans 1:9), that He is the Lord of their life. This person now instantly receives the Holy Spirit within them (John 20:22; Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:13), and is wiped clean of their sin (Isaiah 44:22; Luke 7:48; Ephesians 1:7). They are no longer being seen as evil in God’s eyes (Ephesians 2:3-5), but rather one of His children, part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5). Their heart of stone is now a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). They have been born again (John 3:5-8), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), not longer belonging to the world (John 17:16), of the devil , but of God (Ephesians 2:6), and in His protection.
The phrase born again means that the person is like a little baby all over again. They have spent a lifetime consumed in the darkness, and must now be taught, discipled (1 Peter 2:1-3), grown up in the ways of God, conforming more and more into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). The Holy Spirit will help them to see and understand scripture in a new way (John 14:26), where they could not before. The Holy Spirit will reveal to the person the dark chambers of their heart (Proverbs 20:27, to purge their old life out (Job 12:22), and the light and love of God in. Their love for their Father God will burn and grow like a flame. The person will love others more and more, with the desire to be kind, compassionate, giving, helping, and share the same Gospel message with them (Matthew 22:36-40). All of this conforms the person more and more into the image of Jesus. The person will disciple their home, spouse and children, in the ways of the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
This is what is means to be born again.