Foundation Topic

What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?

A man named Nicodemus asked Jesus a simple question—How do I enter the kingdom of heaven? We might ask Nicodemus' question this way: how do I get right with God? Jesus responded with this befuddling phrase, “you must be born again” (John 3:7 ESV). In short, Jesus meant that a miracle needs to happen. We enter God's kingdom because of a miracle God does in us, not because of anything we do for God.

Short Content

Are You Born Again?

Are you born again? You might think that question is just as strange as the first guy who heard it. He was a Jewish religious leader in the first century named Nicodemus. He visited Jesus of Nazareth at night because he wanted to know who Jesus was and what he had to say about God. 

But Nicodemus had a problem. Like most of the Jewish religious leaders of his day, he assumed that he was already able to enter God’s kingdom because he was born into the right family and he did his best to live a good life. To Nicodemus’ surprise, Jesus told him that those things weren’t enough. In fact, Jesus told him that unless he was born again, Nicodemus couldn’t see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus was confused. He marveled over Jesus’ statement and wondered what Jesus meant by it. By saying, “you must be born again,” Jesus explained to Nicodemus the “how” of Christian faith. In other words, how does the God of the Bible tell us that we can enter a personal relationship with him, and become part of his kingdom?

Like Nicodemus, we're prone to think that as long as we try to be good people and follow some religious laws that God will be pleased with us and heaven awaits us. But Jesus says that in order to be right with God, we need to be made brand new—born again.



Theme Verse

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”


What Does "Born Again" Mean?
Article: 9 Min

Three Things We Learn About the New Birth

by J.C. Ryle, adapted by
Messages: 28 Min

You Must Be
Born Again

by R.C. Sproul


New Birth and Conversion

The Scriptures teach that regeneration is the work of God, changing the heart of man by his sovereign will, while conversion is the act of man turning toward God with the new inclination thus given to his heart.

by James Boyce

Luke 18:26-27 ESV

Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”



(In Greek: palingenesia, in Latin: regeneratio, “new birth,” “new life”) The action of the Holy Spirit, who transforms the lives of those given the gift of faith so they experience a “new birth” and salvation through Jesus Christ.



by Shai Linne
Video: 2 Min
by Charles Spurgeon at Hear Spurgeon

New Birth: A Miraculous Operation

"What!" says someone, "do you mean to say that God absolutely interposes in the salvation of every person to make them regenerate?" I do indeed; in the salvation of every person there is an actual putting forth of the divine power, whereby the dead sinner is quickened, the unwilling sinner is made willing, the desperately hard sinner has his conscience made tender; and he who rejected God and despised Christ, is brought to cast himself down at the feet of Jesus.

This is called fanatical doctrine, maybe; we cannot help that; it is scriptural doctrine, that is enough for us. "Except a man be born of the Spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God; that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:3; 3:6). If you don't like it, quarrel with my Master, not with me; I do but simply declare his own revelation, that there must be in your heart something more than you can ever work there. There must be a divine operation; call it a miraculous operation, if you please; it is in some sense so.

by Charles Spurgeon, from his sermon "Regeneration" | Source
How Are You Born Again?