What Does Born Again Mean?

Let’s Explore the Answer

Perhaps you’ve seen on TV or in movies a person talking about having been “born again”. Maybe you’ve been flipping through the channels late at night, stumbled across a preacher asking people to be “born again”, and wondered what that meant. Sometimes followers of Jesus are even referred to as “born-again Christians.” This term – “born again” – comes from Christianity and is distinctly Christian. It refers to the process of becoming a follower of Jesus.

In the Bible, a Jewish religious leader named Nicodeumus came to Jesus at night asking if He was from God. Jesus explained there was more to faith than what he had come to know. True faith was more than good deeds and following rules; it required a change. He told Nicodeumus that the person looking for true life in God needed a complete change- from the inside out. This change could be compared to a “new birth” in the same way a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. Jesus explained that Nicodemus needed this change in order to truly become a follower of Jesus.

Later in the Bible, a leader in the developing church named Peter was writing to Christians spread around the Roman Empire and referenced those who were “born again” or were “made new” because of God’s work in their lives.

The concept of being “born again” has been central to the Christian faith since its inception. But skeptics, atheists, and believers will respond to this idea differently.

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What Skeptics & Atheists Say

The idea of being “born again” begins with acknowledging a need for significant soul change. Although skeptics and atheists might agree that everyone could benefit from personal growth, they may question the need for a complete change. Some atheists will reject the concepts of good or bad altogether, as socially-created constructs. Instead, they may lean on tenets that promote love and freedom. If a person rejects the concept of evil, then that person would not need any sort of significant change that would improve their moral choices or outlook on life. Therefore, the perceived need to be “born again” would seem confusing and unnecessary.

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What The Bible Says

Have you ever felt like something wasn’t right in the world? Have you ever felt like something was broken inside people? You may experience it through broken relationships or pains from your past. The Bible says your experiences are real and that there is something broken in the world.

The good news is God wants to help! In fact, God sent his son Jesus to fix our problem. The Bible says, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one needs to be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to that the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” (John 3:16-17).

Jesus came to fix our problem and to offer us the fullest life possible. In fact, Jesus offers everyone a fresh start; a new life. Christians call this being “born again”, or “salvation”. Being born again involves acknowledging that your present way of living isn’t working. Instead of doing what you’ve always done, Jesus invites you to experience a new way of living- His way. It’s about making Jesus the leader of your life and inviting His Spirit to begin changing you from the inside out; to make you more like Jesus. Being born again is not something you earn, it’s a gift from God. He hopes every person on earth will accept His invitation for new life.

What would happen if you embraced the possibility that the God of the Bible really did create the world and really does care for you?

Pascal's Wager

In the seventeenth century, a famous philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, encouraged people to make a wager when it came to belief in God. If a person chose to believe in God and God did exist, that person would gain everything (eternal life). If a person chose to believe in God and God did not exist, that person would lose nothing. On the other hand, if a person chose not to believe in God and he was right, he would lose nothing. But if that person did not believe in God and he was wrong- he would lose everything (lose eternal life).

This wager can be said another way:

Based on this logic, Pascal suggested the rational person would choose to believe in God as believing offers a person everything (eternal life) while losing nothing. Wherever you are in your faith journey, would you consider taking Pascal’s wager? If the good God of the Bible exists, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in Him today.

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