Becoming A Born Again Christian – WHAT IT MEANS

To become a true Christian and receive the life that Jesus gives, one has to be born again.
The word 'born again' was first used by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in John 3:3 which reads thus:
'Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God'
Jesus was addressing a man named Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee. That means he was a very religious man yet he didn't know what it meant to be born again. It is possible to be religious, very religious, and yet not be born again.

What was Nicodemus' response? See verse four:
'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?"

He didn't understand but rather misunderstood it completely. And that is what is happening today - many people have misunderstood that same phrase 'born again'. But thank God that Nicodemus didn't hide his ignorance as many often do.

Some think that it means to be religious: joining a church or denomination and attending such regularly, undergoing water baptism and having titles in the church. Others think it is trying to keep the ten commandments, doing good or trying to do the best you can.
But it is none of these. If were, this religious man, Nicodemus, wouldn't have had any problems.

And it is such an important matter - more serious than many of us realise! Jesus' clear declaration is : 'Unless one is born again, he cannot (not he may not) see the kingdom of God'
Therefore it is of utmost importance that we understand what it means to be born again and ensure that we truly are, if we expect to see (and enter) the kingdom of God.  

Now what does it mean to be born again? Let's allow the Lord Jesus Himself to answer this crucial question.

'Jesus answered, verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God' (John 3:5). That is saying the same thing in another way but giving greater insight into what it means to be born again.

The key words are 'born of water and of the Spirit' and we need to know what these mean. The water symbolises the word of God and to be born of water means to be born of the word of God as disclosed in 1 Peter 1:23 –

'Being born again not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever'. Jesus called the word of God water because it cleanses and washes the soul just like water does to the physical body.

Some people think that to be born again means to be baptised in water.  But this is wrong. Water cannot wash away sins. Water baptism becomes relevant and meaningful after a person has genuinely repented of his or her sins and surrendered his or her life to the Lord Jesus Christ, not until then.

This is why infant baptism is meaningless as far as salvation is concerned. Water baptism is meant to be an outward testimony to inward regeneration.
Consider what the following scripture says: 'Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptised every one of you....' Acts 2:38.  'Then they that gladly received the word were baptised....'

Notice the sequence. Water baptism comes after repentance, not before. This is also what we see in Acts 8:25 - 27.
Baptizing an unrepentant sinner makes no difference whatsoever - except of course that he goes into the water a dry sinner and comes out a wet sinner!

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