What do Christians mean by being born again?

How to become a born-again Christian


The Bible says we must be born again to see the kingdom of God. The term is found in the Gospel according to John, chapter 3, where a humble ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus came to see Jesus one night.

In their conversation, Jesus told Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

So Jesus is essentially telling us that no matter how good we are or what we do, we won't get into God's kingdom if we are not born again. You have to be born again to be saved from eternal punishment in Hell. It's that simple, and that serious.

It is therefore essential that you establish whether you are truly a born-again Christian. Your salvation depends on it.

Being born again and saved means you have put your trust in Jesus Christ, whom the Bible identifies as the Savior of the world, the Son of God, to save you from eternal punishment in Hell (the place of eternal torment) after you die.

You don't go to Heaven by being good

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 only avoid Hell when they die, but 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 is it important to be born again?

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.

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 by being born again and saved.

How can I get born again?

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 to be born again? Something along the lines of what follows is enough — but make it personal by using your own words. It's not the words that save you, but your trust in Jesus Christ.

A guide to what to pray:

Dear God,
I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve to go to Hell. Please forgive me of all my sin and give me eternal life. I'm not trusing in my good works or in my religion. I'm trusting only in You. In the best way I know how, I now invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart and life as my Savior.  Amen.

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 to get to know Jesus Christ better. The Gospel according to John is a good place to start.

May the Lord greatly bless your life as you live it for Him.

Photo credit: Anita B Patterson.

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