What Does It *Really* Mean to Be Born Again?

What Does It Really Mean to be Born Again?

To some this might seem elementary, but I think it is worth review. What does it really mean to be born again? Even for those of us who claim to be born again, we must know how to define it clearly. If not for ourselves, then we must know for the sake of those who might ask.

Some around us may even quip, “Here we go again with all the ‘Christian-ese!’”

However, this phrase appears in the Bible a few times, and we want to know what they mean when reading the verses they contain, even if we don’t use the phrase ourselves.

In John 3:7, Jesus tells Nicodemus: “You must be born again.” 1 Peter 1:22-23 also uses the phrase:

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (NASB)

If we define the term “born again” we will discover whether we actually are in fact living as those who are born again.

The Definition of “Born Again”

The Greek word for this phrase as used in 1 Peter 1:23 is anagennaō. It means “to have one’s mind changed so that they lives a new life [as one] conformed to the will of God.“ It also means “born anew” or “regenerated.”

Have you truly been born again?

Have you had your mind changed by meeting Christ Jesus so that you now desire to live a new life in alignment with His will? Are you living a life in fellowship with God, seeking His heart and mind? Do you now desire to walk in His ways?

Bible commentator David Guzik says, “it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Christ to be comfortable in habitual sin.”

Before you experience condemnation, first remember: This does not mean perfection; we all sin at times no matter how hard we try. The question is, when you do succumb to temptation, is it your desire to turn from it still and honor God with all your life?

Do you aim to live a life that is pleasing to God in obedience to Him, even despite the times you fail? Do you have a heart that is willing or at least wants to be willing to obey in every area?

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:3)

To have our mind changed so that we live out that new creation life as those in alignment with God’s will. That is what it means to be living as people who have been born again.

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What Does It Really Mean to be Born Again?