Jesus told Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3,5). Most religious institutions teach some form of being born again. It is often discussed, but seldom understood.
Being created in the image of God, mankind is commanded to be holy (1 Pet. 1:15). Living in the flesh, we commit sin. Sin is so unlike the perfect holiness of God; therefore, we spoil the perfect nature. All sin and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Who needs to be born again?
The Morally Good Man
Nicodemus was a very good man, yet Jesus told him he must be born again. Often, morally good people pride themselves in being so much better than the average person, that they fail to obey the commands of God.
The Religiously Sincere Person
Cornelius was a “. . .devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2). Cornelius was told, “And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter . . . he shall tell you what you ought to do” (10:5-6). In chapter 11:14, Cornelius was told that Peter would “…tell you words, whereby you and all your house shall be saved.” He yet needed to be born again.
The Zealously Mistaken
Saul said, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23: 1). But, Saul was guilty of murdering Christians. When Saul was convinced that Jesus was the Christ, Saul asked, “Lord, what will you have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do” (Acts 9:6). Later Paul reminisced about this wonderful happening within his life, and he recalls the preacher, Ananias, coming to him, saying, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
The Sinfully Rebellious
The unbelieving Jews, the ones guilty of taking the innocent Jesus and crucifying Him, heard the very first gospel sermon. They were convinced by powerful preaching that Jesus is Christ. They asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (2:38).
Conclusion: One is born again when the Word of Jesus Christ cleanses him from his sin. He then becomes a servant of righteousness (Rom 6:17,18). Paul observes, “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Do you desire to be in Christ and in the Kingdom of God? Then with confessed faith (Rom 10:9,10) repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38). “Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3,4). This is the only way one can and must be born again!