“This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:2, 3
Nicodemus came to Jesus because he knew in his heart that Jesus was someone special, nothing that he had ever seen or heard before. He saw the miracles Jesus performed, he heard Him teach with authority. He knew Jesus was no ordinary man, he saw the glory of God in Him. What did Jesus mean when He said to Nicodemus, “you must be born again?” I’m sure many people have heard Christians use that term, “born again”. What does it mean to be born again? Nicodemus ask Jesus that very question, not clearly understanding what Jesus was talking about. Jesus was talking about a spiritual rebirth.
Every person that is born, is born of the flesh with a sin nature due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the garden. The result of their disobedience was sin entering the world and sin brought forth death i.e. spiritual death. Mankind was separated from God because of the inherent sin nature that is passed on throughout the generations. The Bible speaks of iniquity and that all were all born in iniquity. What is the definition of iniquity? 1) lack of justice or righteousness; wickedness; injustice. 2) a wicked act; sin. King David wrote about iniquity in the Psalms.
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Ps 51:5. God also spoke about iniquity when He gave the ten commandments: “…you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:5, 6.
This passage makes it pretty clear, that those who hate God and reject Him have a curse upon them, from one generation to another. There is a lot of truth to this, character defects, personality and behaviors get passed on from generation to generation. Many times we hear of people ending up doing the same things previous family generations have done. For example, the son that had an alcoholic father, has a tendency to be an alcoholic himself. The children of a dysfunctional family have the tendency to be dysfunctional themselves when they start a family. People that are born out-of-wedlock, most likely end up doing the same thing, bringing forth children born out-of-wedlock, just as their parent did. Divorces are another example, many children of parents that got divorced end up in divorce themselves. These tendencies get passed on from one generation to another and it is an endless cycle unless that cycle gets broken. The good news is that this generational curse can be broken when a person turns to God. The passage in Exodus states that He will visit the iniquity of people from generation to generation, but only to those who hate Him. “…but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Ex 20:6.
Once a person turns to God, by repentance i.e. change of mind, that person has broken that endless cycle. He or she has becomes a new person, old things have passed away and all things have become new. There are countless testimonies of people who have come to faith in Jesus Christ that had a life transforming experience and not only that, many times other family members will come to faith in Christ because of their radical transformation. I am no exception, I grew up in a non believing family and I inherited many of these iniquities/tendencies. My two grandfathers were alcoholics, my three uncles were alcoholic and I ended up being an alcoholic. I had the tendencies to become an alcoholic and I did. There are many other things that I did. Today I can see certain family members displaying the same behaviors and they have not changed, they go around in circles blaming everybody else or society. So many say, I cannot help myself, I am an addict or this is how I was made. I don’t believe that they were made that way. There is a way out to break free from this inherent curse. The way to true freedom is through Jesus Christ, He can change the life of anybody, if they are willing to come to Him and submit their will.
Most people are self-willed, they want to do as they please, without being accountable for their actions. Actions have consequences and unless the cycle is broken, people will go around in circles doing the same things over and over again, just as the once that came before them, and as the once following them. Jesus wants to set people free from all of this bondage, this heavy load upon people’s lives. Jesus can break this vicious cycle. If you are reading this and find yourself in bondage to sin or in a seemingly endless cycle with no hope or end in sight, may I say that there is? The way out is through Jesus Christ the Savior of mankind who calls you out of this lifestyle of bondage, pain and grief. He wants to set you free from all of this and break the cycle. God loves you and He wants you to return to Him. Turn to Him now and He will shower you with His love and will embrace you into His loving arms. It is never too late to turn, to turn away from those things that offend God. He will change you life, as He has changed mine and the life of countless others. He will give the believers a life of abundance.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
A lifestyle of sin steals the person of true joy. Sin is deceiving and may look inciting for a while, but in the end it stings, making life miserable. That is not what God wants for us. He wants us to be free from the heavy load of sin in our lives. Whatever you may be facing in your life right now, turn it over to Jesus and He will set you free. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
- Jesus Christ; our Propitiation (media4lifeministries.wordpress.com)
- My personal testimony and how Jesus transformed my life. (media4lifeministries.com)
- Relationship or Religion? (media4lifeministries.wordpress.com)
- Jesus or Muhammad? (media4lifeministries.wordpress.com)
15 thoughts on ““You Must Be Born Again””
Read my articles on “The Grace of God”, “Faith a gift from God” and “Repentance before Salvation?”
“WHEN does the Bible, if read in its simple, plain, literal rendering, say that sins are forgiven and washed away?”
“Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Mat 9:2.
“I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” 1John 2:12.
Washed, just one example, it does not speak of water but the blood of Christ, believers are washed/cleansed by His precious blood. ”
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11.
I’m not quite sure if you just pick and choose certain verses, but reading all of God’s word should give you all the answers to the questions you posted, unless you twist the scripture to fit your agenda, as many do.
Hi Gary, thanks for your comment. I could go into a long discussion about why a believer must be born again, but I will not. You write that it is odd that it is only mention 3 times in the Bible. First of all, who said that “you must be born again?” It was Jesus. John 3:3 and John 3:7.
Peter also writes about born again in his epistle 1 Peter 1:23. So, if you have a problem with the term being born again or if you don’t agree with that statement, you should ask Jesus why He said it to Nicodemus.
Paul writes: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2Cr 5:17.
I could give you more examples, but I see your objection to the term being “born again” unfounded and I believe that you may be sincere, but you are sincerely wrong.
Five questions that Baptists and Evangelicals should ask themselves
1. Does the Bible state that a sinner is capable of choosing righteousness/choosing God?
The Bible states that the sinner must believe and repent, but are these actions initiated and performed by man of his own intellectual abilities, or are faith, belief, and repentance a part of the entire “package” of salvation? Are faith, belief, and repentance part of the “free gift”? Does God give you faith, belief and repentance at the moment he “quickens” you, or does he require you to make a decision that you want them first, and only then does he give them to you?
2. Is there any passage of Scripture that describes salvation in the Baptist/evangelical terms of: “Accept Christ into your heart”, “Make a decision for Christ”, “Pray to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and be your Lord and Savior (the Sinner’s Prayer)”. Is it possible that being “born again” is something that God does at a time of his choosing, and not something that man decides to do at a time of his choosing? Is man an active participant in his salvation in that he cooperates with God in a decision to believe, or is man a passive participant in his salvation; God does ALL the work?
3. Is the Bible a static collection of words or do the Words of God have real power, real supernatural power? How does the Bible describe the Word? Is it the meaning of the Word that has power or do the words themselves have supernatural power to “quicken” the souls of sinners, creating faith, belief and repentance?
4. Does preaching the Word save everyone who hears it or only the “predestined”, the “elect”, the “called”, the “appointed” will believe when they hear the Word?
5. WHEN does the Bible, if read in its simple, plain, literal rendering, say that sins are forgiven and washed away?
Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
Isn’t it odd that if the Baptists and evangelicals are correct that their “born again experience” is the true and ONLY means of salvation, the term “born again” is only mentioned three times in the King James Bible? If “making a decision for Christ” is the only means of salvation, why doesn’t God mention it more often in his Word? Why only THREE times? Isn’t that REALLY, REALLY odd?
Why is it that the Apostle Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, NEVER uses this term? Why is this term never used in the Book of Acts to describe the many mentioned Christian conversions? Why is this term only used by Jesus in a late night conversation with Nicodemus, and by Peter once in just one letter to Christians in Asia Minor?
If you attend a Baptist/evangelical worship service what will you hear? You will hear this: “You must be born again: you must make a decision for Christ. You must ask Jesus into your heart. You must pray to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and be your Lord and Savior (the Sinner’s Prayer). You must be an older child or adult who has the mental capacity to make a decision to believe, to make a decision to repent, and to make a decision to ask Jesus into your heart.”
It is very strange, however, that other than “you must be born again” none of this terminology is anywhere to be found in the Bible! Why do Baptists and evangelicals use this non-biblical terminology when discussing salvation?
Maybe…making a “decision” for Christ is NOT the manner in which sinners are saved!
Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
I know this is not directly related to the above discussion, however, something interesting I believe the Lord revealed to me as I was writing my book. You had mentioned Adam and Eve in the article above, and the fall of man. Here’s something that I cannot prove whatsoever, nor can I say that I am one hundred percent corret. I can only say that it is an interesting concept.
Who’s to say that there was an actual ‘tree’ of life? Or, and actual ‘tree’ of the knowledge of good and evil? This is hard to explain, so bear with me. When Adam and Eve sinned, mankind lost access to the TREE OF LIFE. I do not personally believe the tree was an actual tree, nor the fruit Eve ate was an actual fruit. I do not necessarily believe that the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL was a real tree, either.
Throughout the Bible, we find symbolism, parables, examples. Jesus in the New Testament tells the disciples to eat of His body and drink His blood. Also, regarding trees, Jesus was hung on a tree…and what did that tree in which He gave us the life giving fruit of His blood and the bread of His body give to us? Access to the Father! The same access that was lost long ago in the garden of Eden.
God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were always together….all three together make God; the Trinity. God is the head (thoughts), Jesus is the Word (voice), the Holy Spirit is the hands (the doer), and we are the feet (the carriers). Adam and Eve walked with Jesus in the Garden of Eden, and Jesus spoke with them. He constantly gave them His life and His wisdom by being in His mere presence and listening to His Words (the Word is life!) I believe the tree of life is actually symbolic of Jesus, who many years later died on the cross (made of a tree), thus returning our access and our ability to live forever in heaven with the Father.
So, imagine now that the tree of life was actually Jesus…not a physical tree…and the fruit they ate that gave them life was the Words/wisdom of Jesus. It had to have been Jesus who walked and talked with them because He is the Word. But one day, Eve wandered away from her husband’s presence and came across Lucifer (the tree of knowledge of good and evil). This wasn’t actually a tree, it was Satan. She ate of his fruit by giving ear to something he had said to her. Maybe he showed her the fallen angels, who were possibly the giants..the sons of God in Genesis…maybe he said, “God doesn’t want you to talk to me because He knows I will show you how to be like a God! God does not want you to know the secret! Look at these giant, powerful men over here..you and your husband could be God yourselves; you do not have to serve Him! Go Eve, now, and tell your husband what I have told you. Bring him to me and I will show him these mighty men! God knows that once you and your husband see these people, you will have the same powers and knowledge as He does!”
So Eve ran to get her husband. “Adam! Adam! Come and see what the serpent has shown to me! I have seen with my very own eyes Gods just outside of the garden! God has been hiding these people from us, that’s why he forbid us to talk to the Serpent in the first place because we can be just like God!”
Adam wasn’t sure; he feared God and knew what God had specifically warned them not to do. “Eve, we cannot disobey God! He has told us not to talk to the serpent. I’m sorry, but I can not do this thing, and I’m upset that you have!”
Eve shook her head back and forth in frustration, “No Adam, it’s not as you think. I swear! I saw them with my own eyes! God is deceiving us so that we won’t know this secret! Come, come now, I beg you!”
Adam looked all around to make sure the Lord wasn’t anywhere nearby. “Okay Eve, I’ll do this, but I swear, if we get into trouble, I’m blaming you!”
Eve smiled, so sure that what she was doing was right. She took his hand within hers and led him to the Serpent who was patiently waiting, dangling from a branch in the tree. He slithered down and stopped at their feet.
He grinned wickedly, “I see you have brought your husband, my child. Very good! Yes, very good indeed!” He chuckled and hissed.
He continued. “Adam, come this way, follow me, and I will show you God’s hidden secret; for there are God’s here just as powerful, if not more powerful, than Yahweh, and if you listen to me, you can be just like them; then you will no longer need to serve anyone; everyone can serve you instead! Now come on, I will show you!”
Adam followed the serpent until they came to a ravine in the meadow. “Behold, Adam and Eve, the God’s!” As they stared across the way, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They had never seen anyone so tall and so muscular. Why, these giants made them look like dwarfs.
Adam was curious, “So what do I do to look like that?” He asked, as he witnessed one of the giants move something so heavy, it would have taken an army; but he did it alone!
The serpent smiled once again, his tongue flicking about as he cackled. “All you have to do is say that you believe me, and I will give you all of this, you and your lovely wife.”
At the same time, Adam and Eve both shouted, “I believe! I want it! I believe!”
Just then, they heard the sound of sticks breaking, as if someone was walking. The serpent raised his head in alarm as he quickly slithered away, disappearing in the water.
Adam looked at his wife, and then at himself. “Eve! Hurry! Someone is coming and we are naked! Let’s hide!”
Abruptly, he grabbed her hand and they ran to the nearest and thickest spot of foliage they could find. Adam whispered as he handed Eve a leaf-covered vine, “Hurry, put this on!”
A thunderous sound penetrated the silence; the earth shook, and they had never heard or felt anything quite like it. “Adam? Eve? Why do you hide from me? Come out at once!”
They were so afraid, their legs quivered, and they almost tripped and fell as they stepped out from hiding. Adam spoke first, “Uh, hi Lord. How’s your day? Did you and the Holy Spirit just get back from golfing with the angels?”
God didn’t smile as He stood perfect still with His arms crossed over His chest, tapping His finger against his forearm. “Adam, I am in no mood for humor. I asked you and your wife,” God paused and glanced at Eve, “Why you are hiding.”
He looked at Eve, as if the answer would be written on her face, and then back at God. “Uh, well, because we’re naked…yeah…we were embarrassed and we had to put on our,” Adam glanced down at his leafy cloak, “we had to put on our leaves.”
God glanced back and forth between the two of them in disbelief for their excuses, disobedience, and lies. He raised his left eyebrow as he tapped his finger up and down once again. “Adam, you’ve never even noticed that your naked until today. Now tell me, how is that you’re suddenly embarrassed and afraid? Who told you that you were naked?”
Adam’s eyes darted back and forth between Eve and God as a cold sweat began to form all over his body. Suddenly, he was itching incessantly from the leaves and wished he could tear them all off; but he couldn’t, he was too ashamed. He was growing wearier by the moment trying to come up with something when a light came on in his head.
In anger, he pointed his finger at Eve, “It is that woman you gave to me! It is all of her fault! She’s the one who came and demanded that I go with her to see those people. I didn’t want to go, but you know, had to please the wife. I was only trying to keep peace so she wouldn’t be upset. You understand don’t you?”
Eve put her hand on her chest in disbelief. Adam had never treated her like this before. Just as she opened her mouth to defend herself, God raised both of His hands, “Silence!”
Once again, He looked at Adam, as if he was mainly repsonsible. “Adam, you are the head of your household, and your wife serves you…not the other way around. Sure, you serve her in ways and take care of her, but you are the one I look at when your household is out of order…not your wife. I hold you more accountable than she. You are the spiritual leader of your house, son.”
Adam didn’t know what to say. Like a child caught stealing the cookie red handed, he just nodded his head, unable to look into God’s face. “Now both of you must be punished. From now on, you’re going to have to work for everything! No longer will the ground produce for you unless you cultivate it. Eve, you’ve been having lots of babies now for years with only a slight, barely noticeable discomfort; but now I shall multiply your pain in childbearing! And if that’s not enough, the two of you are going to have strife together! You won’t always agree on things!”
God paused to clear His thoat before He yelled. “LUCIFER! Get over her now!”
WIth his head low, the snake that Satan was occupying slithered on out of the water, appearing to be the most frightened, and guilty snake anyone had ever seen. He was whipping his serpent tongue all about. “Lucifer! Hold your tongue! You are in My presence!” The snakes tongue went immediately back into its mouth.
“From now on, you shall strike man’s heal, but he is going to crush your head, do I make myself clear?”
The serpent, terrified, nodded its head up and down, biting his tongue at the same time to keep it from coming out.
Once again, the Lord shouted, “Michael, Gabriel! Send in the Cherubs! We’ve got to secure this place so nobody gets in.”
Finally, He turned back to Adam, Eve, and Lucifer. “Okay everybody, follow me.” He focused his attention on Adam and Eve solely now. “I’m sorry I have to do this; believe Me, I don’t like to punish you kids, but you disobeyed. I specifically told you not to talk to him, and you defied me and did it anyways! Now you have cursed all of mankind, and no one has any access to me anymore. The Father is very upset.”
Eve, tears streaming down her face, “But Lord, will there ever be hope?”
Jesus stopped, but now He could not touch her to bring her comfort because she was corrupted with sin. “Daughter, I can not put My hands upon you now because your covered in darkness; but Love you very much, both of you. There will come a day, a glorious day where access to Me shall be returned, but not for a very long time; and even then the enemy shall have power over humanity; but power will also be given through Me at that time, and so the Father, through Me, will give mankind strength. The only thing is, they have to believe, and they have to call upon Me. If they don’t, they will forever live in corruption and never see the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Eve wiped her eyes, “Never see You? Or the Father? Or the Kingdom of heaven? Oh Lord, that’s awful!”
Adam, more humble now but still angry with Eve whispered, “See what you’ve done?”
Jesus overheard, “Adam, you must forgive your wife just as I forgive you. The Father could have struck you down today, but He is giving you another chance; just not in the way it was.”
Adam looked at Eve, guilty for being so angry. “I’m sorry Eve, I forgive you, and I love you.”
THE END. I hope this story has helped to paint a picture of what I’m trying to say here…I don’t believe they were actual trees. Tree of Life–Jesus, who later returned that life on a tree called a cross. Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil–Satan/Lucifer. The fruit–the wisdom/blessing/curse thereof
Give honor and glory to God every day for giving us back the Tree of Life. We didn’t deserve it, but He did it anyways!
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this is so true. christians do not live under generational curses.
Thank you Joyce.
Thank you my friend, may the Lord richly bless you.
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Thank you for posting. I’m sharing over Twitter so my friends can also read this 🙂