Born Again MEAN?
Q. What does it mean to be BORN AGAIN as John 3:3 states?
(Submitted by: M. S.)
A. Your question is a very important one. The context of your question comes from the following verses in the gospel of John:
"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 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.'
"Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?'
"Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.' " (John 3:1-8, NKJV)
In the world of Christianity the expression "born again" is generally used to refer to someone who has "accepted Jesus" and been baptized. Some say they believe in the doctrine of 'once saved, always saved' by this. It should be abundantly clear from the discussion between Nicodemus and Jesus that there is a SECOND birth. Note Nicodemus asks if one can enter a SECOND time into his mother's womb. Jesus, however, is talking about a DIFFERENT womb.
The womb Jesus was referring to was the EARTH. He was discussing this womb when later in John he said:
"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth . . . " (John 5:28-29, NKJV)
In John 3 there are three
Born of the flesh
Born of water
Born of the spirit.
One could say that a baptized Christian who was symbolically laid to death and resurrected from a watery grave has been born or BEGOTTEN (or "begun" as the Greek seems to indicate) again of water, receiving the earnest of God's spirit for his mind, giving him the mind of Christ. However, we are most interested in the new start which will bring immortality to us. Jesus was born of the flesh as the seed of David. However, you will notice that he was the Son of God with POWER when he was resurrected from the dead:
" . . . concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. " (Romans 1:3-4, NKJV)
Were the disciples SAVED
when they followed Jesus?
The answer to the question is YES and NO.
The disciples certainly had God's Holy Spirit WITH them, meaning influencing them and leading them to understand certain things. Jesus stated this fact when he told the disciples:
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, FOR HE DWELLS WITH YOU and will be IN you. " (John 14:16-17, NKJV)
It is God's spirit, dwelling IN a person, that makes them truly converted. Though WITH them, the Holy Spirit was not yet IN the disciples. WHY? The apostle John gives us the answer:
"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'
"But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS NOT YET GIVEN, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:37-39, NKJV)
We will not have been "saved" from death until we are born again with spirit bodies by a resurrection out of the womb of the earth, as John 3:6 stated when it said "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Those born of the spirit can be invisible or visible (John 3:8). The power to make us spirit beings comes from above, from God, of course. While there are many other scriptures showing the resurrection as the birth of a new body, I hope this brief answer aids your studies.
Written by: Bill Hillebrenner
edited and expanded by BibleStudy.org