What Does It Mean to Be Born Again

In an earlier article, I had touched on the importance of being born again as a condition for inheriting eternal life (Proof text — John 3:3 [NLT; with emphasis mine]: “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.””). Now, let me show you what it means to be born again.

1. It starts with hearing the Word of God that is preached to you

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God…. And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:22-25, NIV; emphasis mine)

2. Merely listening to the Word of God would do you little good unless you obey it

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:22-23, NIV; emphasis mine)

3. And obedience leads to your purification/sanctification:

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:22-23, NIV; emphasis mine)

To put it in another way, being born again involves a change in your nature:

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24; NIV)

Now, you may wonder to yourself: “Doesn’t that take a lot of human effort?” And indeed, you may know of people who tried to change their ways, but who ultimately fell short.

Being born again does require one’s effort, however, you are not relying on your human strength alone. Rather, it is like you are co-operating with God to bring about that needed change in your life, something which is not impossible for those of us who truly believe in Jesus Christ, because “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts” (Galatians 4:6, NIV).

There are four major hallmarks among those who are born again:

1. They believe that Jesus is Christ

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. (1 John 5:1, NIV)

2. They do not continue to sin

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. (1 John 5:18, NIV)

3. They overcome the world

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4, NIV)

4. They have love for fellow believers

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7, NIV)

Do you wish to be born again? You can do so right now by asking the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life.

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