What Christ meant when he said you have to be born again

I explained in my previous article how the bible is shrouded in mystery because of how it was translated from the earliest language and how many words have been misinterpreted by Christian scholars today. There are many misunderstood passages in the Bible, but one that stands out is the term ‘born again’ and its true meaning. This phrase was extracted from the conversation that the Messiah had with Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, in an attempt to determine if he was truly the son of the Most High God. The term ‘born again’ is popular among Christians today, as it signifies repentance. However, is there a more complete meaning that we have missed? In this article, I will explain to you what I believe to be the true and complete meaning of what Christ meant when he used the term ‘born again’ when he was responding to Nicodemus.

The origin of the phrase “Born Again”

We have no other knowledge of Nicodemus than what is given in the Gospel of John. The book of John describes him as a Pharisee. The Jewish group known as the Pharisee were fastidious in keeping the letter of the law and opposed Christ throughout his ministry.  Nicodemus was a prominent leader of the Jews. He was on the Sanhedrin, which ruled the Jews. A Sanhedrin could be set up in each city to act as the “lower courts.” During the time of Christ, the Jewish nation was granted a measure of self-rule, and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was the final court of appeals for matters regarding Jewish law and religion. 

50 Nicodemus (the one who came to Jesus before and was one of them) asked, 51 “Does our Law convict someone without first giving him a hearing and finding out what he is [accused of] doing?”

John 7:50–51 (AMP)

This was the body that eventually condemned Christ, but they had to get Pilate to approve their sentence because under Roman law the death penalty was beyond their jurisdiction. It looks like Nicodemus was part of the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

Nicodemus was too afraid or too ashamed to visit the Messiah during the day, and that he chose the night hours as the perfect time to speak with Christ. This might be the case, but the text does not provide a reason for the timing of the visit. There could have also been other reasons why he went to Christ at that time of night. Nicodemus, as a member of the Jewish ruling council, might have asked Christ questions because it would have been his job to find out about any teachers or other public figures who might lead the people astray.

From their conversation, we can gather that Christ immediately confronted Nicodemus with the truth that he “must be born again.” 

Jesus answered him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 (AMP)

When Nicodemus seems surprised, Christ tells him that, as a leader of the Jews, he should already know this. 

10 Jesus replied, “You are the [great and well-known] teacher of Israel, and yet you do not know nor understand these things [from Scripture]?

John 3:10 (AMP)

Christ goes on to explain the “born again” teaching further, and it is in this context that these verses are the most well-known and loved in the Bible.

Jesus answered him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 (AMP)

What Christ was referring to when he used the phrase “Born Again”

Allow me to give you my perspective from this angle, using a newborn child as an example. Since the world has become so saturated with sin, we are all living in sin as long as we are alive. From the moment a child is born, the child may be taught to do things that are wrong, depending on how much the parents know about God. Children do not choose their paths, which is why you will often find innocence in their hearts until one of their parents decides which path they are to follow.

If you’re a parent, look at your child’s behaviour and tell me what you think. You will realize that there is no trace of evil or sin. Because their hearts are so pure, it is clear why Christ made mention of them as a symbol of repentance. Children become corrupt because of the parents’ inability to protect them from societal sins. Do you know that sin is already looking at you as soon as you wake up in the morning?

We live in a system that is personified by sin, and this is why it has become evident through our behaviour. Some of us have made sin such a part of our culture that it has become glorified. Even today, the modern-day church continues to be a cesspool of sin. When you turn on your television, you are already being lured into sin by the destructive and manipulative programs on it. When you immediately pick up your phone upon waking up in the morning, you are already involved in sin. Our books contain materials that make us sin against God. The moment you leave your house to go to work, you are likely to come across situations that will tempt you to sin.

As you get older, it becomes inevitable, and this is why Christ used the term “born again” to associate it with a child. Unless we think as a child, we cannot inherit the Kingdom of the Most High God. Children are born without sin and with a pure heart filled with love and kindness. 

and Jesus said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3 (AMP)

The Most High God has a special bond with children because they are his gifts to mankind. When you look at how a child behaves, you can see why Christ used them as an example of how to behave in order to get repentance. 


Behold, children are a heritage and gift from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb, a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

How blessed [happy and fortunate] is the man whose quiver is filled with them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies [in gatherings] at the [city] gate.

Psalms 127:3-5 (AMP)

Let’s look at Adam and Eve for an example. They were created as pure light and did not possess flesh until the time they committed sin. When sin occurred, flesh eventually appeared. They only learned that they were naked when they allowed Satan to introduce sin into their heart. The canal knowledge was given to them because of their disobedience to the Most High.

But the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten [fruit] from the tree, of which I commanded you not to eat?”

Genesis 3:9-11 (AMP)

Furthermore, notice when the serpent mentioned to Eve that God didn’t want them to eat from the tree of knowledge because it would make them gain divine knowledge, which would make them like the sons of God. Adam and eve were warned about the dangers of eating fruits from the forbidden tree.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.”

Genesis 3:4-5 (AMP)

Despite being adults and knowing the difference between good and bad, Adam and Eve still willingly disobeyed God’s orders. A newborn child will not experience this, as they cannot distinguish between good and bad because their minds are still innocent, hence free from any evil influence.

This is why, when we die, our flesh breaks down along with the sin we did with it, and our soul, which is light, goes back to our creator to be judged. From the moment we’re born, we have the chance to start over as if we were born again. Only death can end our sin. Christ was trying to convey to Nicodemus that, if one cannot comprehend a child and approach things from their perspective, they would never be able to be born again. To become born again, you have to turn away from the evil in this world and turn to Christ. Furthermore, in order to be born again, one must unlearn everything evil that they have been taught in this world and start anew, learning the ways of Christ. When I say ‘unlearning everything,’ I mean getting rid of the old life of sin you have become accustomed to and turning a new leaf. 

For example, let’s say you have a phone with software issues. The first thing that comes to mind will be to reset the phone’s settings to its original state so that it works like it did before. When you reset the phone, you will see that it looks like a new phone without any errors. This is another way of becoming a new person in Christ.

In order to fully understand Christ conversation with Nicodemus, we must think with a childlike mind, a mind free of sin and filled with righteousness. This is to be reborn in Christ. I sincerely pray that God will grant you the grace to be born again in him. HalleluYAH. As Always’s, it’s my opinion.

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