Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’~ John 3:7 (NKJV)
This proclamation from our Lord Jesus to Nicodemus in John chapter 3 still stand as the watershed declaration that separates true followers of Jesus Christ from the rest of the world. Jesus’ words sets Christianity apart from all else. To be Christ’s disciple, to be adopted into the family of the Lord, to be established in covenant with Jehovah God, you must be born again.
So what does it mean when the Bible says one must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven? Well, this is where knowing the original language can be helpful. The word translated here “again” means “from above”. The phrase could be literally translated “You must be born from above, or from a higher place”. The idea Jesus was conveying is that of a spiritual birth.
To be born again, that is, from above, means we are transformed in our very being, in our principles, our feelings, and our manner of life. The beginning of this new life is called the new birth, or regeneration. It is so called because in many respects it has a striking analogy to our natural birth. It is the beginning of spiritual life. It reveals the light of the Gospel. It is the moment when we really begin to live with any purpose. Being born again is the moment when God reveals Himself to us as our reconciled Father, and we as adopted sons and daughters.
Though this new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit, we realize this glorious regenerating grace through our own personal repentance and faith. That is, through turning away from sin and turning towards Christ. There is no other way to be reconciled to God. My prayer is, dear reader, that you already know, or come to know Jesus’ words as your own, “You must be born again”.