Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What Does it Mean to be a Born Again Christian?

What does it mean to be a born again Christian?

What does it mean to be a born again Christian?

To be born again is:

  • Not merely an outward conversion of faith.
  • Not a decision to follow the teachings of the Bible.
  • Not a resolution to change your ways or live like a Christian should.

The meaning of being “born again” is totally different from this.

To be born again is to have an inward change of life, that results from a spiritual, divine birth. The Bible also refers to this experience as “regeneration” (1 Peter 1:3, 23).

The meaning of being born again or regenerated

Let’s consider the meaning of being born again or regenerated from the Bible so that we can enter into the experience and then share this experience with others.

Footnote 2 on John 3:6 in the Recovery Version says,

Regeneration is accomplished in the human spirit by the Holy Spirit of God with God’s life, the uncreated eternal life. Thus, to be regenerated is to have the divine, eternal life (in addition to the human, natural life) as the new source and new element of a new person.

5 Bible verses that define the meaning of being regenerated

1. To be reborn is to be born from above or born anew into the kingdom of God—John 3:3.

John 3:3 says,

Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born anew [or, born from above], he cannot see the kingdom of God.

To be born again is to be born from above, that is, from God who is in heaven. From our parents we were born of the earthly source. But nothing from that source can give us an entrance into God’s kingdom.

First, we were born of our parents to have our human life. Then, at  the time we believe in Jesus Christ, we are born anew, that is, born from above—born of the heavenly source, God.

By such a divine birth we enter into God’s kingdom—the realm of God’s life.

The principle is consistent with all living things. For example, entering the “dog kingdom” requires a dog’s life. The same  holds for the birds, humans…and similarly for the kingdom of God.

We need the divine life to live in the divine kingdom.

2. To be born anew is to be born of water and of the Spirit—John 3:5.

John 3:5  says,

Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

This means that this divine birth is first to have our old life terminated (signified by the “water” of baptism that buries our old man (Rom. 6:6). Second, it is to be germinated with the new life of Christ (signified by the “Spirit”).

So to be regenerated is not for us to improve ourselves. It is to be buried with Christ in His death so that we can live in union with Him in His resurrection, that is in the newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

3. To be regenerated is to be born of the Spirit in our spirit—John 3:6.

John 3:6 says,

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

The real experience of being born again or regenerated is a matter of our receiving the divine Spirit into our human spirit such that these two spirits are joined as one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17).

For more on this matter you may enjoy reading my post entitled Knowing the Two Spirits—The Spirit with Your Spirit.

4. To be born anew is to be regenerated of incorruptible seed through God’s living and abiding Word—1 Pet. 1:23.

 First Peter 1:23 says,

Having been regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.

Footnote 2 on the word “seed” in this verse from the Recovery Version says,

“A seed is a container of life. The word of God, as the incorruptible seed, contains God’s life. Hence, it is living and abiding. Through this word we were regenerated. It is God’s living and abiding word of life that conveys God’s life into our spirit for our regeneration.”

Since it is of God’s incorruptible “seed” that we are born anew, we can say that as believers we have been “re-gene-rated”!  When we’re born again we receive the divine “gene.” We partake of  God’s divine life and nature (2 Pet. 1:4). It is only in this way that we can become His many sons expressing Him.

Simply by believing the word of the gospel concerning Christ, we receive this incorruptible seed, the divine “gene,” into our spirit and are regenerated.

5. To be born again is to be born of God to become children of God—John 1:12-13.

John 1:12-13 says,

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten [or born] of God.

When we believe in the Lord Jesus, we’re born of God receiving Him as the life that makes us God’s children. First John 5:11-12 tell us clearly that “…this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life…”

It is the divine life in Christ that makes us children of God. Do you have God’s Son, Jesus Christ living in you?

If not, please stop and receive Him right now…simply by praying,

“Lord Jesus, I believe in You, and receive You as my Savior and life. Thank you that as God’s eternal Son, you became a genuine, sinless man, and died on the cross for my sins. God accepted Your sacrifice on the cross for me and raised You from the dead as the living proof. Forgive me of all my sins and come into my spirit to be my life. Thank you I’m now regenerated, born again, to be a child of God.”

If you’ve received the Lord Jesus by praying the prayer in this post, we’d love to hear from you. Also, if you’ve been helped by these five verses to appreciate the meaning of being born again or regenerated, from the Bible, we hope you’ll take a moment to confirm in a brief comment.  

Further Reading:

  • For a more thorough consideration of regeneration, you may enjoy reading What is Regeneration? by Witness Lee or  The Knowledge of Life, Chapter Three by the same author. You can read them for free at ministrybooks.org. You can also download a free PDF of the second title here.
  • Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, may be viewed at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry. Bibles for America also distributes free copies in the USA.




About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

19 Replies

  1. Henry Ugochukwu

    Thank you bro. Tom Smith for sharing the truth about born again. I want to know if is the salvation prayer in (Romans 10:9) and water baptism that makes a believer a born again & spirit regeneration or the work of the Holy Spirit that will baptize & seal us into the body of Christ after we hear the gospel and believe (1 Corinthians 12:13) & (Ephesians 1:13) that makes us born again.

  2. Glenn

    Amen, brother Tom. You have provided us with an excellent and wonderful view of regeneration, salvation, and what it is to be “born again.” Thank you, and Praise the Lord!

    1. Tom Smith

      Glenn, thanks for the encouraging comment. I believe that this “organic view” of being “born again” is missing in the understanding of many believers as well as the unbelievers who hold a secular, sociological understanding of the term. Without the opening of God’s word our understanding of being “born again” may easily frustrate the Lord’s further working in us, that is, the ongoing salvation in the life of Christ that continues from the moment of our regeneration until we are fully conformed to the image of Christ and glorified. May this vision be a real unveiling to all of God’s children!

  3. Deborah Wang

    Wow, such a simple matter yet so profound according to the Bible! To be born again is not an outward conversion of faith, to be born again is to transfer us into God’s kingdom, to enable to live with Him in the newness of life, and most wonderfully, to join our spirit with the divine Spirit. Praise Him that through the regeneration, we received the incorruptible seed and day by day we can continue to partake of God’s divine life and nature. Wow. Hallelujah for God’s wisdom and wonderful design! I am so glad that I a born again Christian! Thank you for this post!

  4. Ubi

    Hallelujah. Jesus is Lord! Thank you Lord for Regeneration.

  5. Prem Prakash

    What I,mean to be born again,to be changed according to the gospel.And feel eternally different.Full of holy spirit and to live with the words of God .

    1. Tom Smith

      So glad you enjoyed this post. To be born again is not a mere outward change in our thought or actions. It is receiving of Christ by believing into His name resulting in our being born of God (John 1:12-13). Such a divine birth is to be born of the Spirit in our spirit (John 3:6). When we receive the word of Christ, we are infused with the faith to believe in our heart and to confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord (Rom.10:8-13). As we call , Lord Jesus!, He comes into our spirit to regenerate our spirit making us a true born again Christian. Thank you for sharing your comment.

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