What does it mean to be born again?

Published 10:55 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

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“Well, being born again doesn’t mean to go back into your mother’s stomach,” says Taylor, 11. “It means being born into the family of God.”

Unlike Taylor, the religious leader (Nicodemus) who came by night to talk with Jesus missed the point entirely. Jesus spoke of being born again spiritually. Nicodemus thought Jesus spoke of a physical birth when he said, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4a).

“To be born again means you have to trust God as your savior,” says Hannah, 10. “What that means is: 1) Believe that Jesus is God’s son. 2) Believe that He died on the cross for your sins. 3) Believe that He rose again.”

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Hannah’s clear presentation sounds like the Apostle Paul’s description of the gospel in his letter to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 15:3-4). Don’t get sidetracked on superfluous issues. Present the gospel clearly and concisely.

“Being born again means being born or adopted into the Lord’s family and becoming one of his children,” says Maranatha, 12. “You must first believe that Jesus died and rose again.

“In I Peter 1:23, it says, ‘having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.’ This means you are saved by the Word of God, and its work is eternal, never perishing.”

God’s Word is God’s agent in spiritual birthing. The Bible has a lot to say about the power of God’s Word. Don’t ever underestimate the power of God’s Word to change lives: your own and others’. The longest Psalm in the Bible is entirely devoted to the importance of God’s Word (Psalm 119).

“Probably the most important thing about being born again is that the Holy Spirit is living in you,” says Anna, 10. “He came, cleaned you out and is now living in you.”

We live in a time that the Old Testament prophets could only dream about. Some foretold of a time when God would dwell in the hearts of his people instead of a Jerusalem temple. That time is now! Yet, many Christians remain unaware of this spiritual reality. They don’t take time to listen to the promptings, guidings and teachings of God’s Spirit.

The Spirit-filled life is not living in Weirdsville. It’s productive. The Apostle Paul describes it as fruitful: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Being born again not only secures your eternal destiny with God in heaven, it gives you the possibility of living a truly productive and satisfying life. However, it’s not automatic. The same Apostle Paul who encouraged Christians to live productive lives also warned them to not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

At the moment people trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, they are delivered forever from the penalty of sin. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, they now possess the power to live productive lives free from sin’s destructive power. Jesus wants to live through his people in a way that involves their willful submission to him. When they fail to submit, God tries to get their attention through loving discipline (Hebrews 12:6).

Think about this: Being delivered from the penalty of sin is called justification. Being delivered from the power of sin is called sanctification.

Memorize this truth: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Ask this question: Am I born again?

(Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost.)