What does it mean—really really mean—to bw born again? To some this question might seem elementary, but I think it is worth review because it has eternal significance.
How do we define what it means to be born again? Even for those of us who claim to be born again, we must understand this clearly. And not only for ourselves, but for the sake of those who might ask. Since this phrase appears in the Bible, we want to know what it means.
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)
As we define the term “born again,” we will discover whether we are truly seeking to live 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 live 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 in reading such a statement, remember this: This does not mean we are perfect; we all sin at times no matter how hard we try. We all struggle with our motives and self-focus at times, and we can do no good without the help of God’s Spirit through His grace. The question to ask ourselves is this: When we do succumb to temptation, is it our desire to turn from it still and honor God with our all?
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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