How can I be born again?
The term 'Born again' is a biblical expression which is used three times in the New Testament. It occurs twice in John chapter 3, where Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus. He is not answering the question that has just been asked, but Jesus sees Nicodemus’s heart and tells him: 'Your ways of getting to God and His kingdom are wrong. You can only get there if you are born again by the Spirit of God'. The Bible teaches that we cannot work our way into God’s kingdom, and we cannot cancel out the bad things in our lives by doing good things, and so earn ourselves a place there. The only way to God and His kingdom is to be born again into God’s family, to be given a new heart and a new spirit. This new birth can only happen by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. This is not an automatic process, and if we want to be born again we must:
- Make a decision to choose Jesus and His way, instead of this world and your way (Joshua 24:15).
- Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and Lord of all creation, and believe that He died for you on the cross and that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9, John 3:16-18).
- Ask Jesus to come into your life and give you the strength to live life in Him (John 1:12).
- Repent of your past and current sins (Acts 3:19, Luke 13:5). To properly repent you must identify the sin and sinful habits in your life, and confess them to God with your mouth (saying this prayer in your head is not enough – it must be spoken out). You must be sorry for these sins, and the damage they have done to you and to others, and you must firmly decide to turn your back on these sins and leave them behind.
- You must go and tell other people who Jesus is and what you have done (Romans 10:9-10).
- The final step is to be baptised (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:15-16). Baptism is a sign, both to you and to others, that you have turned to Jesus, believed in Him, repented of your sins and have been forgiven by Him.
All of these steps are important, and we should stress that the belief or faith in Jesus in step two is not just a belief in your head (the devil believes in Jesus in his head, but he is not saved). Real faith always results in action. Our belief or faith leads us to ask Jesus into our lives, to repent of our sins and follow Jesus more closely, to tell others about Him, to be baptised and to live a life serving Jesus. This is what it means to be born again!