WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BORN AGAIN
There was a man of pharises, 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, exept God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Exept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:13,7)
In this passage, Jesus had a discussion with a man called Nicodemus. Jesus was at home one night when Nicodemus came to Him. Nicodemus was a very important person in town.
The Bible says he was a ruler of the Jews, a master of Israel, a leader in the sinagogues. Nicodemus went to see Jesus at night, so that all the people who respected him would not see him.
This prominent Jewish leader said something to Jesus, which prompted Him to give an interesting reply. Nicodemus told Jesus that he recognized Him as a great man of God.
Jesus saw right through him and replied, “You must be born again. You are a good person. I know you pay tithes and fast often. You are Pharisee, and a ruler of the Jews, but you still need to be born again!”
Now, the questions we have to ask ourselves are these: Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he had to be born again? Why did He launch out into this sermon?
The word “born” means “to be produced or created”. Therefore, to be “born again” means “to be produced or crated again”.
There are lots of people doing all sorts of religious things. These things look “Christian”, but they are not. Such people are not born again. There is no religion that requires a person to be born again. All the major religions of this world give instructions for following certain rules of conduct. There is, however, no religion that claims an inner new birth. Christianity stands alone in this claim!
To understand what it means to be born again, we can look at what being born again is not! To understand the Bible better, I often try to view the opposite of what is written. This can be very revealing.
For example: “….Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these shall be added unto you” (Mathew 6:33).
The opposite of this is “….Do not seek first the kingdom of God, and all these shall not be added unto you.” It is as simple as that. If you do not seek first the kingdom of God, you cannot expect God to give you the things you need. So, to understand the concept of being born again, we are going to look at twenty things that are NOT the same as being born again.
TWENTY THINGS THAT ARE NOT THE SAME AS BEING BORN AGAIN
1. ADMIRING MIRACLES
Whenever there is a miracle worker, large crowds gather. These crowds are often for a season. But it is sad to say that many of them are not born again.
Whenever Jesus himself organized miracle crusades, large crowds gathered but when he began teaching certain hard truths, he was deserted by all, except the twelve disciples (John 6).
A deep admiration for miracles is not the same as being born again.
2. BEFRIENDING “MEN OF GOD”
Nicodemus got acquainted with Jesus and became His friend. In the same way, there are many who have become friends of pastors and men of God. Jesus did not say, “Except a man has a pastor as his friend. . .”; He did say, “. . .except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
3. SENDING MONEY TO CHURCH
sending money to church is not the same as being born again. Some people have given money to churches for many years, but that is not a substitute for being born again. It will not result in the giver receiving special treatment at the gates of Heaven.
Though it is good to give to God, no matter how much you contribute to the church, you still need to be born again.
4. JOINING A CHURCH
A person may join a church by registering as a member of that church and still not be born again.
I have been in church all my life but I did not get born again until I got to form three in Achimota Secondary School in Accra, Ghana. In a “religious” country such as Ghana, you could easily be a member of a church, and not be born again.
5. PLAYING A ROLE IN CHURCH
It is possible to play a prominent role in church without being born again.
For instance during an alter call in our church, some choristers responded to the call to give their lives to Christ. The were members of the choir, but were not born again. A person who is not born again may get involved in church activities and even become a priest. There are preist standing behind the “sacred desks” in many curches who are not even born again! Playing a role in church is not the same as being born again.