The term born again occurs three times in the Bible. You might think it occurred more than that by the emphasis some folks put on the phrase itself. Two of those are in John 3 in a conversation the LORD Jesus Christ has with Nicodemus. And the other one is in 1 Peter.
What does it mean to be born again?
What are some misunderstandings about being born again?
John 3:1-2 Nicodemus says we KNOW you came from God because you do miracles.
John 3:3 Jesus corrects Nicodemus and says seeing miracles is no assurance I came from God. In fact, you couldn’t know if I came from God unless you’ve received what the Spirit of God has already said. The emphasis from day one was on hearing the words of God. (It reminds me of Abraham’s comments to the rich man in hell in Luke 16:31, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Or, My sheep HEAR my voice…) Fact is you can’t SEE God’s kingdom unless the Spirit of God describes it to you and you receive His description. This is the first time Jesus uses the phrase born again to mean born of the Spirit by virtue of receiving God’s revelation.
Can you know God’s future for His people without revelation from the LORD?
- 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
- The Spirit of God acts as the camera, the lens, the eyes, to everything the LORD wants you to know about Him, heaven, judgment, the future, etc.
- Isaiah 64 – Isaiah laments that the LORD will not physically reveal Himself.
- The only connection anyone has ever had to God’s kingdom after sin entered is what? What’s the first thing that is required if you or I am going to know anything about God’s future rewards?
- First, what God was willing to reveal.
- Second, what a soul would believe about what God revealed.
John 3:4 Carnal mind thinks about physical things. Even if you could be physically born again it wouldn’t make any difference or change your condition or blindness.
John 3:5-7 The LORD clarifies for Nicodemus. Born of water is your first birth and being born again would be born of the Spirit – spiritual birth. How? By receiving what comes from God the Father.
John 3:9-10 The frustration in the LORD Jesus is evident. You’re a teacher in Israel, supposedly a teacher of the things of God, but you don’t understand that everything you’re a minister of you got from God?! So Nicodemus, you’re wasting your time overseeing religious duties about a God you’ve never known or heard from?! How is that even possible?
John 3:11-13 Jesus says the Spirit of God and the Son of God are telling you, this nation, the world, things we’ve SEEN. We aren’t philosophizing, we aren’t speculating. We bring you eye witness testimony of the things of God. This revelation has been going on for centuries. Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…
Being born again is being spiritually born when a soul receives God’s revelation. If man will receive the words of life, he will receive life. Jesus Christ was the Word spoken and the Word instructed in the Old Testament. The Word became flesh named Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…
John 3:14-17 Last thing about being born again. You’ve got some very famous verses about the love of God in this same conversation with Nicodemus. John 3:16. Now watch what Peter says about being born again and the love of God in 1 Peter 1:22-25.
Why is understanding being born again important?
- It can’t be a water baptism because water baptism isn’t going to give you eyes to see the kingdom of God.
- It can’t mean anything Calvinists say it means. They say you have to be born again before God gives you life. What ignorance! Clearly, a Calvinist has no idea what being born again means.
- It can’t mean surviving a deadly accident.
- It doesn’t mean reinventing yourself.
- It doesn’t mean reincarnation.
- I’ll give you something a little more tough to chew on. Born again is not even a New Testament doctrine. Because it has to do with receiving God’s revelation and faithful people had been doing that for years before Jesus Christ became a man. Didn’t you hear the LORD scold Nicodemus. How are you an instructor in Israel and you don’t know what I’m talking about?!