Be Born Again

Written by Josiah Nichols

September 13, 2022

Cross, Sunset, Humility, Devotion

Text: John 3:1-21.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:16-18, ESV).  


While most people have memorized John 3:16, many people miss its meaning; because they do not understand its context. The main meaning of the passage is “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (3:3b, ESV). Many people do not know they are in spiritual darkness and need to be radically transformed before they can believe in Jesus. Therefore, we are going to go over the entire passage to get the point Jesus makes.


Being born again means the Holy Spirit has come upon the unbeliever’s dead heart to give it new life, enable it to believe in Jesus’s sacrifice, and do what is true to come to the light of Christ. It is a radically new beginning from above.

I. The Light Comes to the Darkness

Nicodemus was an elite Jew who realized Jesus came from God. He was looked at as a good person being a religious leader. He knew the Bible so well he was able to teach it and use it to lead people spiritually. He also had a good opinion of Jesus being a person sent from God.

This seems like a good thing, right? Well, one has to understand that even the demons believe God is one and shutter (James 2:19). Mere knowledge does not save a person; even if they are great, moral, religious teachers.

Jesus exposed Nicodemus was an unregenerate sinner who needed to be radically transformed by God. He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3b., ESV). He was not going to even see God’s kingdom off in the distance unless he was radically transformed. Jesus was speaking metaphorically to encapsulate Nicodemus needed God given repentance.

II. The Light Overcomes the Darkness by Teaching

Nicodemus wanted to know how to be born again spiritually (John 3:4). He knew Jesus was speaking metaphorically. This caused him to speak metaphorically to Jesus on how it is done. He knew he could not literally go back into his mother’s womb.

Jesus said only God can do it through the Holy Spirit and regeneration (3:5-6). He was referring to a common metaphor in the Old Testament referring to spiritual renewal. One of the most obvious passages is Ezekiel 36:24-27:

I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you Into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (ESV).

Nicodemus was surprised to hear this; however, Jesus said he should not be perplexed because this religious leader needed to get over himself and seek being born again (John 3:7). Just like no one can control the wind, no one can control God. Everyone who is born again is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8).

III. The Light Explains the Power of God

Nicodemus is still astonished and needed further explanation (3:9). Jesus says he cannot understand because he does not even understand the things of this world (3:10-12). Jesus claims to come from heaven, is the eternal son of God prophesied in Daniel 7, and He witnesses as to what He has heard and seen from heaven (3:13). He also says he must die on a cross to save people from their sin so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life; like the Israelites received healing when they looked at the lifted up bronze serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14-15, Numbers 21:4-9). God does this because he loves the world and wants those who believe in Jesus to not perish, but be saved to eternal life (John 3:16).

IV. The Light Judges the World

God loves the world and sent Jesus so those who believe will not perish in Hell (3:16). God did not send Jesus to condemn the world, but save all who believe in Him (3:17). Those who do not believe are already condemned because they will not receive the only hope of forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ (3:18).

When Jesus came into the world, people loved spiritual ignorance and their sin; because they were evil (3:19). Those who love their evil hate the light and the truth because it exposes their sin (3:20). They will not come to the light, the truth of the gospel through Jesus Christ. Only those who believe come to the light; because they want to glorify God (3:21).


That is why people need to be born again! No one can believe unless they have been completely and radically transformed from darkness to light. Those born again love to hear the gospel and want to know how it applies to their lives. They will love to hear God’s truth explained (2 Timothy 4:1-5). They will have passion to share the gospel with the lost and do good works. If this is not true of you, repent and come to God for the new birth! As can be seen by Nicodemus, even religious people may not be born again. Make sure you are in the faith! Spiritual ignorance and death can even happen to churches where God will remove their faithful teachers and believers in the church:

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

“The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:1-7, ESV).

If this is true of you and your church, please repent. Seek Jesus to be born again before it is too late and you wail and gnash your teeth in the pit of Hell.

If you want more biblical resources on how to study the Scriptures, then check out the store at There are also a lot of other articles on the website to encourage you to dive deeper into God’s Word. Please also check out Apologetics Live at where Andrew Rappaport, Anthony Silvestro, and Justin Pierce answer your questions and teach you how to defend the faith. It is on from 8pm – 10pm EST. Also do not forget to check out the Rapp Report where you can hear the teaching of Andrew Rappaport and the Christian Podcast community. Lord bless you.

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