What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?

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What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?

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Becoming “born again” is a foundational concept in Christianity. The Lord Jesus Himself said that the Christian hope of the Kingdom of God is directly tied to being born again. He said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).

What does it mean to be “born again”? The most common explanation is that a Christian becomes born again and saved at the moment of acceptance of Jesus and confession of sins. But a closer look at the original Greek used to record Jesus’ statement shows that there’s a lot more to the idea.

The key is in the Greek word translated “born again” in the verse: gennao. Gennao is a word that encapsulates the idea of generation of new life—the process of birth. What’s important is that gennao doesn’t just refer to conception. It implies the entire process of conception and ultimate birth.

Jesus was telling us that Christians must be born again into the family of God. This process isn’t complete until His return, when the dead and living faithful will be raised to an incorruptible spirit body (1 Corinthians 15:42-54). A Christian can only be truly, completely sinless after being glorified in God’s family.

John adds more detail about the process involved in becoming born again: “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).

In this ultimate fulfillment of a Christian being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), we are truly born again into the family of God.