Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

How can we be “born again?”

Meditation for the week of September 7, 2008

1 Peter 1:23
Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible (seed that does not die), through the word of God which lives and abides forever.

The Lord told a very good man by the name of Nicodemus that he needed to be born again. He then says that we all MUST be born again to be part of His kingdom (John 3: 3, 7). This “born again” business confused Nicodemus and it confuses us when we first hear the Lord speak about it. Nicodemus thought he had to enter the second time into his mother’s womb to be born again (John 3:4). Even as a Christian, I had trouble sorting out the truth of this concept. I am going to share with you some of my thoughts on the subject.

Some people who are not familiar with their Bibles and who cannot remember being being born again have told me that we who preach the Gospel make too much of the new birth. However, we cannot make too much of the new birth. In addition to John chapter 3, the new birth is explained in John 1:13. John also mentions it several times in his letters. Peter writes about it in 1 Peter 1:23. James uses the concept in James 1:18. Apparently, this was a concept with which the new testament writers were familiar. The new birth is an absolute necessity if we are going to be in heaven when we leave this world behind.

Not only must we be born again but we must also be saved (Acts 4:12). Salvation and the new birth are both deliverances and are referring to the same thing but from different points of view. We must be saved since Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The glory of God refers to God’s beauty and standard of perfection. The new birth and salvation both refer to that time in our lives when by simple faith, we trusted in the truth that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). The new birth is deliverance for a new life in Christ and is all about a new relationship with the Lord built on trust. Salvation is deliverance from the penalty that we deserve because of our sins and is all about God’s love, justice and mercy for those who trust the Lord. Those who are born again are saved for a home in heaven and are saved from eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

Many people that I talk to believe that they have been born again because they “believe in God”. However, they usually think that they have always believed in God and so they do not know when they were born again. They think it may have been when they were baptized or confirmed . However, the new birth is not brought about by something we do or by something that is done for us by others according to John 1:13. Others tell me that the new birth happened to them in such a way that they didn’t realize that it had happened to them. However, I am convinced that if we are born again, we will remember the events that gave us this new life and the peace that came with believing in Christ. We may have always believed that there is a God, but the Bible says that we need a time in our lives when we trust in the work of Christ at the cross and are born again.

John 1:11-13 states that this new life is obtained when we receive Christ. This passage also says that we receive Christ by believing or trusting in His name or authority. Peter states that that the Word of God is the seed that produces this new life. When the Lord explains the new birth to Nicodemus, He says that this birth is a spiritual birth. We all had a natural birth and now we all need a spiritual birth. In verse 5 where the Lord says we must be born of water and of the Spirit, the Lord is contrasting the natural and the spiritual birth. A baby’s natural birth involves the water of the womb while the new birth is a work of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convince us that we need to be saved and that Christ died to save us.

The new birth occurs the moment we can honestly say that we know that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. That faith will not be based on something we have done or said, it will be based on what Christ has done and said. When a person has trusted Christ, they will be able to go to the Word of God to assure themselves that what they believe is in fact the very Truth of God. We believe people by believing the words that they say and the promises that they make. We believe in the Lord the same way.

The Lord says, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.” Since He says it, it must be important. We should not assume that this happened sometime when we weren’t paying attention. A birth is a joyous occasion when it happens naturally and we mark those dates on the calendar. We may not be able to remember the exact date when we were born again, but we should remember finding out that we were sinners on our way to a lost eternity. We should also be able to remember the joy that came when we found out that Christ died to save us.

Trusting Christ gives us a new life, a new Friend, and a new eternal destiny. It gives us peace with God. I know I am born again by the word of God which lives and abides forever. I hope that all of you who read this meditation know that as well.

Bruce Collins

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