Born Again: A New Religion?

Born Again: A New Religion?

When I tell my friends and acquaintances that I’m a born again Christian, they quickly assume that I belong to another sect of Christianity, and I get that. I completely understand why. That is because the term born again” is often misunderstood. Is born again a new religion?

Most people think that it is another religion or denomination of Christianity. Before I came into a covenant relationship with God, I also thought the same thing and that is why I struggled to come out from where I used to belong. That although I have already received Christ in my life as Lord and Savior, I still thought that leaving my traditional belief was big deal.

What is Born again Christianity?

So what is born again Christianity, where did it come from and how did it start? Is born again a religion? Is the term even biblical?

The classic passage where we read the words “born again” is in the Gospel of John 3:1-8 in a scene where Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leader of the Jewish Sanhedrin during Jesus’ time, came to Jesus one night.

John 3:1-8

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

When Jesus told Nicodemus that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again (verse 3), Nicodemus thought that He was referring to physical birth so he asked how a man can be born twice (John 3:4). Correcting Nicodemus’ misunderstanding, Jesus explained it in verse 5-8 that people must be reborn spiritually.

The term in the original Greek text is “gennao” (born) which means to regenerate and “anothen” (again) meaning from above. So the phrase “born again” literally means “born from above.” Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he needed to be born spiritually; he needed spiritual transformation — a change of heart.

What is Regeneration or the New Birth?

Born again is not a religion or sect of Christianity. Regeneration is a spiritual quickening, a new birth, a new creation. We cannot alter the old nature, or reform it or re-invigorate it but we need a new birth, the impartation of a different “kind” – God’s holy nature.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he becomes a new creation and old things have passed away.”

Regeneration is a change from death to life – this is a spiritual resurrection. We were born the first time physically and the second birth is a spiritual birth. We were dead in our trespasses and sins but were made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1).

Regeneration is not baptism. Baptism is a Church ordinance signifying that one is a Christian and had died with Christ, been buried, has risen, and is now living with Christ, daily (Romans 6:4). It is not reformation. Reformation is the act of the old nature of turning from certain evils while regeneration is the supernatural act of God; it is a spiritual crisis; it is a revolution; it is a complete right-about-face.

Why do we need to be Born Again?

Spiritual rebirth is necessary in order to enter God’s kingdom. And this process of regeneration or spiritual rebirth is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. Like the first birth (physical) it is an event and not a process, though from the first conviction of sin to regeneration may cover many days, weeks, months or even years. Yet, the actual birth takes place in a second, as one passes from darkness to light. The person has a second birthday and begins a new life.

In Ephesians 2:1 Paul said that we were  “dead in trespasses and sins.” And when Paul wrote to the Romans he said that “we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The apostle Paul isn’t talking of physical death. We maybe alive and well physically but spiritually dead. As sinners, we are spiritually dead and a spiritually dead person cannot approach God nor connect with God. A spiritually dead person cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). We receive spiritual life by faith in the Lord Jesus. And only when we are born again that we receive forgiveness of our sins and we enter into a relationship with God.

Who Needs to be Born Again?

The Scriptures plainly teach that all need to be born again; the language of the Savior is imperative (John 3:3; John 3:7). There are no exceptions to this rule (outside of the Savior); neither sex, age position nor condition exempts anyone from the necessity of the new birth (Galatians 6:15). There is no substitute for the new birth; to fail to be born again is to be lost.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” – Galatians 6:15

Like with Nicodemus, being born again is not based on your nationality or ethnicity; it is personal. God’s gift of rebirth is not through our human effort or merit, but comes through God’s mercy alone. To become a new creature is to be born again. The universal sinful condition of man demands a change, the new birth for salvation.

What must I do to be Born Again?

To be born again, first you need to acknowledge that you’re a sinner, confess your sins and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing. Then you need to place your trust in Jesus who paid the penalty for your sins by dying on the cross, receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior.

When you receive Christ, God will give you the right to become a His child (John 1:12-13). You also must confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).

The Sinner’s Prayer

If you have never trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, would you consider receiving Him today and trusting Him for your salvation? Would you listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit that you are in need of a Savior who has paid the price for you through His suffering and death on the cross? Would you accept God’s gift of eternal life by praying this prayer of repentance and acceptance?

Is born again a new religion

Dear God,

I thank you for your gift of eternal life. I acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness and salvation because I cannot save myself. I repent of all my sins and I put my complete trust in you alone, Lord Jesus, as my Savior. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for my sins on the cross, and that He rose from the dead to redeem me. I invite you now Lord Jesus to come into my heart and life. Thank you for your wonderful grace and forgiveness. I ask that you write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Now what?

If you have repented of your sins and believed in the Gospel in response to God’s invitation, welcome to the family of God! So now what, you may ask. You may wonder what comes next now that you are a Christian. First, God’s Word instructs you to find a church that teaches the Bible where you can learn the Word of God and fellowship with other Christians.

The author of Hebrews in Hebrews 10:23-25 exhorts us to hold fast to our confession of hope without wavering because God is faithful. We must not forsake our assembly or gathering together like some are doing, rather we must continue to encourage one another all the more because the return of the Lord is near.

Also, you should be baptized in obedience to Jesus Christ and as a testimony to your faith. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He commissioned His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 to go and make disciples of all nations, to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and to instruct them to observe all His commandments.

*Related Article: Do you need to be baptized in order to be saved?

This commission is not only for the disciples during Jesus’ time but it is also for the followers of Jesus Christ today. To be a disciple of Jesus is to live the kind of life that He lived and to obey all His commands and teachings.

Are you willing to follow Christ and become His disciple today? When you do, you are not entering into a new religion or denomination. Instead, you will be entering into a new covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son, be forgiven of your sins and receive God’s promise of eternal life with Him in His kingdom.


*Recommended Resource: Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3; Book Club Edition
By Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Over the course of his career, Lloyd-Jones preached 28 sermons on John 3. Reflecting on the powerful story of Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus and what it means to be “born again,” this collection of biblical expositions highlights God’s stunning love for the world—as expressed through his unique Son, Jesus Christ. 393 pages, hardcover from Crossway.

16 Replies to “Born Again: A New Religion?”

  1. Dear Alice,

    For me, born again means leaving behind the past and following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus in order to qualify for the Kingdom of God. Above all, you have touched the key areas which a person who wants to be born again must first understand.

    Thank you so much and remain blessed with God’s grace and peace. Amen.

    By the way, why are many churches worldwide reluctant to preach “Salvation and repentance of sins?”

    1. Hello again David and thank you for coming back.

      You’re absolutely right! To be born again or regenerated spiritually is to leave the old self behind and start living the new life that the Lord has given us (2 Corinthians 5:17). And speaking of being qualified to enter heaven, none of us is good enough. But praise God for His amazing grace and unconditional love that opened the door of salvation for each and everyone who believes (John 3:16).

      Regarding your question on why many churches are reluctant to preach salvation and repentance, I think it is because they are afraid to offend people. Pastors and church leaders want their congregation to feel good about them and so they preach what they think their members want to hear. It’s sad but true!

      Many churches do not preach repentance anymore; they don’t confront sin and they don’t tell people that unless they repent of their sins they’re heading towards destruction. I truly believe what Paul Washer keeps repeating in his sermons that many self-acclaimed Christians are going to hell; that more than fifty percent of church goers aren’t really saved because they have not been truly born again.

      And this should not surprise us because the Word of God says that in the last days the love of many will grow cold and they will turn away from their faith (Matthew 24:10-12). Many will be deceived and abandon their faith (1 Timothy 4:1). This is why we need to keep watch and pray so that we will not be deceived.

      May we all continue in faith. As true born again believers, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

      God’s grace and blessings be yours.

  2. I first heard the term “Born Again” about forty years ago when I heard the gospel message from a good friend of mine.

    The term though, was clearly spelled out for me in detail that I have been physically born but repenting of my worldly world view and choosing to invite Christ into my life would mean that the Holy Spirit would take up residence in my soul which would give me spiritual life, so being born again. Literally born twice both physically and spiritually. I took up that offer by the way.

    But the term today as I hear it is very much seen by many non believers as a cliche for some new religious sect, which is quite sad.

    My life ever since has been a slow growth in Christ learning to take on his nature. I am so grateful for his infinite patience.

    1. Hello Evan, thank you for sharing your insight and experience in regards to being born again.

      There are a lot of misconceptions today about what it means to be born again that’s why church leaders and pastors really do need to teach and explain it in ways that are easily understood. We need to keep reiterating that born again is not some new religion or Christian sect but spiritual regeneration.

      Thanks again, God bless!

  3. So cool and well written. I love Jesus too. I’ve often wondered why people have a hard time giving their hearts over to Jesus; it’s the easiest thing to do, yet I get it can be the hardest. When I lead people to Jesus I prefer not to use that term ‘born again’ unless they bring it up of course. I prefer to offer them the opportunity to walk into an unconditional loving relationship with Jesus. Oh, how lovely it is to sit at His feet.

    1. Hey Sharon, thanks for stopping by.

      Most people find it difficult to surrender their lives to Jesus because they’re thinking about the many things they need to let go in order to become true followers of Christ. I’ve encountered people who acknowledge what Jesus did for them but refuse to accept Jesus in their hearts because they’re not ready for the change that will take place once they get born again.

      The term “born again” has always been understood to mean a new faith or belief different from the traditional religion of Catholicism instead of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ because of John 3:3-5. Most believers use this text to share to others that they need to have a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
      Shalom!

  4. Another great article. Every day I smile because I have been born again and give thanks that my Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. Your method for becoming born again is spot on and so simple. A pastor I know calls it the ABC of salvation which is exactly the same as what you have written here, just done in a way that a child could remember:
    A – admit that you’re a sinner
    B – believe that He died upon the cross
    C – call upon his name and ask him to lead you
    Just thought I’d share. Thanks for posting this, it’s very edifying.

    1. Shalom Oliver, what a joy to hear from you again.

      Being born again and having a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ keeps us smiling everyday; praise Jesus for His atoning sacrifice. I used to wonder what I possibly could have done to deserve God’s love and forgiveness but then I realized it’s not about who I am or what I’ve done but it’s about the unconditional love and abundant grace of God.

      The ABC of salvation is one simple explanation we can always use when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, when the Gospel is presented, the one thing that is often overlooked is A – admitting we’re sinners. When sharing the Gospel, some go straight to B and C when A is the most important stage. Without acknowledging we’re lost in sin, we will never truly appreciate the price Jesus had to pay in order to redeem us.

      Thanks again for dropping by, God bless us!

  5. interesting article. i believe that we all go somewhere after death and i believe that we will be reborn. i think that if we did good deeds this life we will be born in a better place the b=next but if we were bad we might be in a place with war , hunger or even become an animal. I am trying to do as much good things in life so i can live a better one next life

    1. Yes Emma you’re right! We will all go somewhere after death and it will just be between heaven and hell. The question now is, where do we want to go and why? If we want the better place which is actually the best place, we would choose heaven, God’s dwelling place.

      But how do we get to heaven? Jesus says in John 14:6 that He’s the way to the Father and no comes to the Father except through Him. Well, obviously the Father is in heaven so if we want to get to heaven we need to be born again as John 3:3-5 clearly says.

      No one can see the kingdom of heaven without being born again. To be born again is not to be reincarnated; to be born again is to be born in the spirit. How? It’s clearly explained in the article.

      By the way, good works will not lead us to heaven. No amount of good works can qualify us for heaven. It’s only through repenting of our sins and receiving God’s gift of salvation that we can be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). I hope you will consider God’s gift and be assured of eternal life in heaven after life on earth.

      God bless!

  6. Very good article! A lot of people tend to think that born again is another sect or branch of Christianity when it is actually Christianity itself. Just as you clearly stated, Scripture itself explains what it means to be born again and why we all need to be born again and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and be forgiven of our sins. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Hi Brian!

      Yes, a lot of people do not realize that born again is Christianity itself. That’s why we need to keep sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ more often especially those who have no idea what it is.

      I remember the very first time I shared my faith to my colleague. I quoted John 3:3-5 and said that she needed to be born again in order to get to heaven; everyone need to be born in the spirit as we are all spiritually dead because of sin. I said further that she needs Jesus so I asked her if she received Jesus as Lord and Savior of her life and she said yes.

      I’m not sure she really did but I did not want to sound too pushy and intimidating so I just told her that she needs to grow in her faith by reading the Bible and attending church and getting involved in ministry. We still discuss often but I think she thinks she’s joining another sect of Christianity when she becomes born again so she hasn’t responded yet.

      By the way, she’s Roman Catholic and being in her shoes before, I completely understand her hesitation. 

      If Jesus Himself said that we all need to be born again then we should by all means comply if we want to spend eternity with Him in heaven. 

  7. Amen, we must be born again in spirit leaving the old one and taking the new one. But question, how often we should be reborn, or rebirth?

    1. Hello Ralene. Thanks for your comment.

      Indeed, we all need to be born again. The Scriptures are pretty clear on this. Jesus Himself told Nicodemus that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again. We need a new birth (spiritual birth/regeneration) to get rid of the old nature and become a new creation.

      But how many times or how often should one be born again? We must understand that spiritual birth is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit and it happens only once. In the same way that physical birth takes place only once, spiritual birth takes place only once as well.

      Simply put, we are only born again once; not twice, not three times but once.

      So what about those who initially put their faith in Jesus Christ, were born again but did not continue or have gone back into the world? What about those who have become backslidden? Do they need to be born again for the second time? Do they need to be regenerated all over again? No! What they need is restoration.

      When we turn our back to God after we have received His promised gift of salvation, we need to return to Him. We need to acknowledge our sins, repent and be reconciled back to Him.

      Regeneration and restoration are two different things. We all need to be born again (or regenerated) because we were all born sinners and are dead spiritually, but only those who have turned away from God after being born again need to be restored.

      1. Very well said, sis Alice! Jesus is the only way to eternal life. We need to be born again in spirit and in truth so we can claim God’s gift of salvation.

        1. Hi brother Joseph, thanks for dropping by.

          Yes, we were born in sin, spiritually dead, so we need a new birth which is possible only by the work of the Holy Spirit.Thank God for the new birth, thank God that we are heaven bound.

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