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). Let’s discover what Jesus meant by his answer.

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A miracle needs to happen.

We enter a new relationship with God because of a miracle God does in us, not because of anything we do for God.

Theme Verse
John 3:3 NIV

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

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.

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What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?
Article: 10 Min

Three Things
We Learn About
the New Birth

The truest description of the
change which we all need
in order to make us real
Christians is the expression,
"new birth."

by J.C. Ryle, adapted by

Messages: 28 Min

You Must Be
Born Again

by R.C. Sproul



(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.
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.”


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



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

New Birth: A Miraculous Operation

by Charles Spurgeon, from his sermon "Regeneration"

"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.

See quote source
How Are You Born Again?
Video: 3 Min
by Tim Keller at The Gospel Coalition
John 3:5-8 NIV

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Article: 12 Min

What Does
"Born of Water
and the Spirit"
Mean in John 3:5?

by D.A. Carson at The Gospel Coalition


Birth altogether
excludes the idea
of any effort or work
on the part
of the one born,
hence it is written
“It is the Spirit
that quickens;
the flesh profits nothing”
(John 6:63 KJV).

Praise & Worship

My Lord I did not Choose You

by Benjamin Brainard feat. Amanda Brainard
James 1:17-18 NIV

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.


Unless God acts first,
we will never be reborn
in the first place.


Which Comes First:
Belief or New Birth?

by John Piper in his book "Five Points"

New birth is a miraculous creation of God that enables a formerly “dead” person to receive Christ and so be saved. We do not bring about the new birth by our faith. God brings about our faith by the new birth. Notice the way John expresses this relationship in 1 John 5:1: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” This means that being born of God comes first and believing follows. Believing in Jesus is not the cause of being born again; it is the evidence that we “have been born of God.”

See quote source


He's Not Here

by Cochren & Co.

A man is not regenerated
because he has first
believed in Christ,
but he believes in Christ
because he has been


Rise Up (Lazarus)

John 1:12-13 NIV

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Messages: 49 Min

The Life-Transforming
Power of the
New Birth

by Drew Hunter

1 Peter 1:23 NIV

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

What Happens When You’re Born Again?
Article: 20 Min

What Happened
When You Became
a Christian

by Colin Smith, a Friend of

Folk | Country Gospel

This My Soul

by The Gray Havens

if anyone is
in Christ,
he is a new creation.
The old has
passed away;
the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

What Happens
to You When
You’re Born Again?

by R.C. Sproul

Our natural prejudgment of reality is against God. To receive the truth of God requires that our “anti” bias be changed. The key work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration [new birth] is not giving new knowledge to the brain but changing the disposition of the heart.

Before the Spirit turns that heart of stone into a heart of flesh, we have no desire for the things of God. We may desire the blessings that only God can give us, but we have no affection for the things of God.

At the moment of regeneration [new birth], the eyes of the heart are opened somewhat, but this is just the beginning.

The whole Christian life involves an unfolding and enlarging of the heart’s openness to the things of God.

See quote source
Article: 10 Min

The Problem
of Nice and the
Promise of New

by Michael Lawrence at Crossway


God became man
to turn creatures into sons:
not simply to produce
better men
of the old kind
but to produce
a new kind of man.


In The Light

by D.C. Talk

The Change You
Need in Your Life

by J.C. Ryle

The change which our Lord here declares needful to salvation is evidently no slight or superficial one (John 3:3). It is not merely reformation, or amendment, or moral change, or outward alteration of life.

It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection. It is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is a passing from death to life. It is the implanting into our dead hearts of a new principle from above.

It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears.

All this, and nothing less than this, is implied when our Lord declares that we all need a "new birth."

See quote source
Messages: 53 Min

You Must Be
Born Again

by Tim Keller

1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

by Colin Smith, 25 Min

Praise & Worship

Living Hope

by Phil Wickham
by Colin Smith, 25 Min
Titus 3:5 NIV

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit...

How Do I Know I'm Born Again?
Video: 3 Min
by John Piper at Desiring God

Are You Born Again?

Ask yourself these searching questions, based on nine evidences (from the book of 1 John) that indicate whether you have been born again.

Messages: 49 Min

How You
Can Know
You Are a
Child of God

by John Piper

Romans 8:14-16 NIV

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Video: 3 Min
by Tim Keller
at The Gospel Coalition
1 John 5:1-5 NIV

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.


How Do I Know that
I Have Been Born Again?

by Charles Spurgeon

If you have been truly born again you have a new and holy nature, and you are no longer moved towards sinful objects as you were before. The things that you once loved you now hate, and therefore you will not run after them.

You can hardly understand it but so it is, that your thoughts and tastes are radically changed. You long for that very holiness which once it was irksome to hear of; and you loathe those vain pursuits which were once your delights.

The man who puts his trust in the Lord sees the pleasures of sin in a new light. For he sees the evil which follows them by noting the agonies which they brought upon our Lord when he bore our sins in his own body on the tree.

Without faith a man says to himself, “This sin is a very pleasant thing, why should I not enjoy it? Surely I may eat this fruit, which looks so charming and is so much to be desired.”

The flesh sees honey in the drink, but faith at once perceives that there is poison in the cup. Faith spies the snake in the grass and gives warning of it. Faith remembers death, judgment, the great reward, the just punishment and that dread word, eternity.

See quote source

Just as the first sign
of the life of an infant
when born
into the world
is the act of breathing,
so the first act of men and women
when they are born again is praying.

Video: 10 Min
by Richard Caldwell
at the Straight Truth Podcast