1 There was a man named Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees.17 He was an important Jewish leader. 2 One night he came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs18 that you do unless they have God’s help.”
5 Jesus answered, “Believe me when I say that everyone must be born from water and the Spirit.20 Anyone who is not born from water and the Spirit cannot enter God’s kingdom. 6 The only life people get from their human parents is physical. But the new life that the Spirit gives a person is spiritual. 7 Don’t be surprised that I told you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants to. You hear it, but you don’t know where it is coming from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born from the Spirit.”
“Well, being born again doesn’t mean to go back into your mother’s stomach. It means being born into the family of God.” Taylor, 11
“To be born again means you have to trust God as your savior. What that means is: 1) Believe that Jesus is God’s son. 2) Believe that He died on the cross for your sins. 3) Believe that He rose again.” Hannah, 10
“Being born again means being born or adopted into the Lord’s family and becoming one of his children. You must first believe that Jesus died and rose again. In I Peter 1:23, it says, ‘having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.’ This means you are saved by the Word of God, and its work is eternal, never perishing.” Maranatha, 12
“Probably the most important thing about being born again is that the Holy Spirit is living in you. He came, cleaned you out and is now living in you.” Anna, 10
When Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again, he thought Jesus spoke of a physical birth. He said, “But if a person is already old, how can he be born again?” (John 3:4a).
Jesus spoke of a spiritual birth. It’s not enough to be born physically. To live with Jesus forever in his kingdom, you must be born again spiritually.
How are you born again? Hannah, 10, knows how: “To be born again means you have to trust God as your savior. What that means is: 1) Believe that Jesus is God’s son. 2) Believe that He died on the cross for your sins. 3) Believe that He rose again.”
Hannah sounds like the Apostle Paul. In his letter to Christians at Corinth, he wrote this: “I gave you the message that I received. I told you the most important things: that Christ died for our sins, like the Scriptures say; that Christ was buried and was raised to life on the third day, like the Scriptures say” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).
When you talk to someone about Christ, don’t argue about silly things. Present the gospel clearly. Let people know that Jesus died for their sins. Eternal life is a free gift to be received by faith alone in Christ alone.
In speaking of the spiritual birth, Jesus said, “A person must be born from water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). People have different ideas about what Jesus meant when he said we must be born from “water” as well as the Spirit. Some say “water” stands for our physical birth. When a baby is in his mother’s stomach, he is surrounded by a sack of water. Others say, “water” refers to water baptism.
Whatever Jesus meant by the word “water” must refer to the new birth. Jesus used the phrase “from water and the Spirit” to describe the new, spiritual birth. In his letter to Titus, the Apostle Paul described being born again in this way: “He saved us because of his mercy (love), not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. God poured out (gave) to us that Holy Spirit fully through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6).
The New King James Version of the Bible uses the word “regeneration.” This is a fancy word for “born again.” In other words, being born again is like a “washing.” Like water, God pours out his Holy Spirit upon all who trust Jesus Christ as their savior. You could say that God gives a spiritual bath to all who believe in Jesus. God cleans us on the inside so that the Holy Spirit can come to live in our hearts.
The man who asked the question about being born again was an important Jewish leader. He had studied the Old Testament a lot. The Old Testament is full of commands for the temple priests to use water to cleanse themselves and their sacrifices. Here are a few of those Bible verses: Leviticus 1:9; 6:28; 11:32; 14:5; 16:4; 17:15; 22:6, Numbers 19:7 and Exodus 29:4; 30:18-21; 40:12. As a Jewish leader, Nicodemus understood that Jesus used the word “water” as a symbol for spiritual cleansing.
We live in a time that the Old Testament prophets could only dream about. Some prophets wrote about a time when God would dwell in the hearts of his people instead of a Jerusalem temple (Jeremiah 31:31-34 & Joel 2:28-29).That time is now! Yet, many Christians don’t know that their bodies are places where God lives (I Corinthians 6:19). They don’t take time to listen to listen to the Holy Spirit who lives inside of them.
When the Holy Spirit controls your life, Jesus Christ lives through you. Your life will be different because you will live to please God. You will have purpose and meaning. The Apostle Paul wrote about the Spirit-filled life in this way: “But the Spirit gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that can say these things are wrong ” (Galatians 5:22-23).
All who are born again will live with God forever. All your sins are paid for because Jesus died on the cross. With the Holy Spirit filling your life, you can please God. Jesus called this the abundant or full life: “A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came to give life–life that is full and good” (John 10:10).
The same Apostle Paul who told Christians to live full lives also warned them to not grieve the Holy Spirit. When the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians at Ephesus, he warned them: “And don’t make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to God. God gave you that Spirit to show that God will make you free at the right time” (Ephesians 4:30).
God wants to bless you, but you have to let his Spirit control your life. When you disobey God, it makes the Holy Spirit sad. When God’s children keep disobeying him, he will discipline them just as loving parents do with their children. When Christians keep disobeying God, he will get their attention through loving discipline. The Bible says, “The Lord punishes every person he loves, and he punishes every person he accepts as a child” (Hebrews 12:6).
Jesus said the Holy Spirit and the wind are similar in several ways. Just as we can’t control the wind, we can’t control the Holy Spirit. God knows what he wants to do through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Our job is to listen to his voice and obey.
People who are not Christians don’t understand why some Christians are full of God’s love. They can see the love, joy and peace that Christians enjoy, but they don’t understand the reasons for it.
Think about this: Being free from the penalty of sin is called justification. Being free from the power of sin is called sanctification.
Memorize this truth: “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth. A person must be born again. If a person is not born again, then that person cannot be in God’s kingdom’” (John 3:3).
Ask this question: Are you born again?