How can you be “born again” if you’re already living? Aren’t you born only once?
Being born again doesn’t mean a physical rebirth; it’s a spiritual one. It refers to a change of heart—from indifference or hostility toward God to a love for Him and a desire to live out His best for us.
But how does it happen?
First, we have to understand our current human condition. There’s a problem we all face, and Jesus said it begins in our hearts. The problem is something called sin, which means to miss the mark—to fail to do what we ought to do.
Whether we realize it or not, we strive to fix this problem ourselves—to somehow compensate for it or push it out of our minds, yet there’s still something missing deep down inside. Nothing will fully satisfy us unless we have Jesus in our lives and the eternal hope of being with Him forever in heaven.
There’s a story in the Bible about a man named Nicodemus. He was a religious leader and a good man, and one night while talking to Jesus, Nicodemus asked Him what he needed to do to go to heaven. Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). In fact, Jesus said, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Jesus was telling Nicodemus that no matter what good he did on the outside, he needed changing on the inside. That can only happen through a supernatural act of God when His Holy Spirit convicts us of wrongdoing and brings new life to our very souls.
So what do we need to do?
First, we must admit our sin—that we can’t live up to God’s perfect standard on our own. Then we must ask forgiveness for that sin and repent, which means to make every effort in turning away from that sin. Finally, we ask Jesus to be part of our lives.
That’s when God’s Spirit penetrates our hearts to guide us and help us be more like Him. That’s when we’re born again.
God Himself puts it this way: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). From then on, He gives us a new purpose and new goals for living. We no longer live for ourselves but for Him (2 Corinthians 5:15).