What does the new birth have to do with a person’s relationship to God? You are probably familiar with what Jesus said to religious Nicodemus: “You must be born again.” Despite this man’s reputation as a Bible teacher, Jesus said that he still needed to be born again spiritually. This applies to everyone because we are all born sinners. All of us need to be born again. But what exactly does that mean?
In the paragraph below, I have revised a portion of our church’s doctrinal statement about the new birth. As you read through the statement, be careful to read each Bible passage in the parentheses.
We believe (1) that in order to be saved a sinner must be born again (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8), (2) that a believer becomes a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; 2 Pet. 1:4), (3) that this is instantaneous and not a process (Acts 16:31), (4) that in the new birth the one dead in sin is made spiritually alive (Eph. 2:1-5; Col. 2:13), (5) that the new birth is not a result of someone’s ancestry, will, or good works (John 1:13; Eph. 2:8-10), but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) in connection with divine truth (Rom. 10:17), and (6) that the evidence of the new birth is seen in a believer’s repentance (Acts 3:19), faith (1 John 5:1), and new life (Gal. 5:22-23).
If you read each Bible reference, you know that being born again/experiencing the new birth is necessary for someone to be changed by God. No matter how hard you try, you (a sinner) cannot give birth to yourself spiritually. You can’t give yourself spiritual life; this must come from God. However, when God brings you to repentance (a change of mind about your sin against God) and faith in Jesus (He died in your place to pay for our sins), the immediate result is the new birth (being made alive spiritually to God).
Have you been born again?