What does being born-again mean?

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What do Christians mean by being saved or born again?

Teenage girl prayingBeing “saved” and being “born again” are terms used frequently by Christians. Both come from the Bible.

The Bible says we must be born again to see the kingdom of God (see the Bible's book according to John, 3:3 (chapter 3, verse 3)). Being born again means entering into a new spiritual life through God's Holy Spirit.

Christians say that when someone gets “saved”, it means they have put their trust in Jesus Christ, whom the Bible identifies as the Son of God, to “save” them from eternal punishment in Hell (the place of eternal torment) after they die.

Good or bad?

People will not go to Heaven because of their good deeds, nor to Hell because of their sins. And this is a good thing, because if people went to Hell because of their sins, everyone would go there. So God has made a way of escape for us.

Born-again Christians believe that when they are saved they will not go to Hell when they die, but instead they receive eternal life, and will go to be with God and all other saved people in Heaven.

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, came to earth more than 2000 years ago and died on a cross to pay for the sins of mankind. God the Father then raised Him from the dead, proving He has power over life and death. This raising from the dead is called the Resurrection. The Bible says that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will not perish, but will have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Why do Christians believe it is so important to be saved?

The Bible says that all people are sinners and that sin brings death (Romans 3:23 and 6:23). God won't allow sin into Heaven, so Christians believe that people need to be cleansed from their sins to experience life in Heaven with God. (Can we trust the Bible? Absolutely. See our article How can I believe the Bible if I don't know it's true?)

The Bible says that God has already made this easy for us by allowing Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that we can have salvation (get saved). All we have to do is receive this free gift. It is like a situation in which you cannot get something yourself because the price is too high, and then someone pays for it for you. You still won't have the item until you decide to receive the gift.

Likewise, even though Christ has died for us (Romans 5:8), we will not have His gift of eternal life until we decide to receive it.

How do people receive this free gift of salvation?

The Bible says to repent (Luke 13:5). That means to be sorry for, and to turn away from, sinful habits. The King James Bible says: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Born-again Christians are just people like you and me who have said with their mouth that they are now making Jesus Christ the Lord of their life. They also genuinely believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. According to the Bible, they are then saved.

What type of prayer do Christians pray to God when they become saved and born again? Something along the lines of what follows is enough — but you can make it personal by using your own words.

A guide to what to pray:

“Dear Father in Heaven, I realize that I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sin. I am willing to turn from my sins and lead the life you want me to lead. I now invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart and I receive Him into my life as my personal Savior. I am willing, by God's grace, to follow and obey Christ as the Lord of my life.”

What next?

If you have decided to become a born-again Christian and have received Jesus Christ as your Savior by praying something similar to the prayer above, proclaim your faith in Jesus right now by letting someone (another Christian) know you are now saved. (Or even just let us know if you are not sure that anyone close to you is a Christian.) Then …

Get a Bible and read it every day to get to know Christ better.

  • Talk to God in prayer every day.
  • Tell others about Christ.
  • Join a Bible-believing church and get baptized. Worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church that truly believes the Bible and where Christ is preached.
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