What does it mean to be Born Again?

There are many people who don't have the slightest idea what this "born again" business is all about. The first time the expression was used, the person hearing it didn't know what it meant either. The person hearing this expression, Nicodemus, was the religious ruler of the Jews at the time. If the leading Pharisee of all Israel didn't know what it meant, there is certainly no shame in the average person needing an explanation. To be born again means to receive salvation. This is accomplished by receiving The Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Jesus Christ's death is the payment in full for all the sins of anyone who will accept His death as that payment. For some, that is a basic scriptural truth that is very difficult to comprehend. One reason for this lack of comprehension is many do not understand the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament. The blood of animals was never an adequate cleansing of sin. This is clearly stated in the book of Hebrews.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Hebrews 10:4 KJV

The blood was an example that should show us that one life is being offered for the life of the sinner. Sin separates us from God. To be absolved from sin requires a sacrifice. The Jewish sacrificial system with its "covering" offerings (the Hebrew word for atonement, kaphir, means "covering") made possible man's approach to the presence of a holy God. The sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat in the tabernacle as described in Leviticus is one example.

Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

leviticus 16:15-16 kjv

This clearly shows that a sacrifice was being made for the sins of Israel. The book of Hebrews shows that the blood of Christ was the New Testament sacrifice for sin, with the difference being that His sacrifice was once and for all.

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Hebrews 9:22 KJV

The fact that christ died for us is repeated again in I Peter. This time, it explains that through Christ's death we are able to come to God.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

i peter 3:18 kjv

Christ himself explained the term in the book of John.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto h im, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not bel ieved in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:1-21 KJV

These 21 verses cover a lot of territory. As this applies to the topic of being born again, I believe this is stating that whosoever believes in Jesus Christ, shall not perish, but have eternal life.

I started all of this with the statement "To be born again means to receive salvation". This may lead into a very basic question; "Do I need salvation?". I believe that anyone who wants deliverance from the effects of sin needs salvation. This, of course, begs the question "who needs deliverance from the effects of sin?". The book of Romans answers that pretty clearly.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Romans 3:10-11 KJV

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:23 KJV

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:12 KJV