Tag: Is born again a new religion?

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.