Question: Many professing Christians claim to have been “born again.” Exactly what is this birth, and how can we know if we have already been born again?
Answer: Jesus Christ explained what it means to be “born again.” He told Nicodemus, “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Confused, Nicodemus asked Jesus: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (v. 4). Jesus said that He was talking about a completely different kind of birth (vv. 5–6). He showed that there are two kinds of birth—one physical, the other spiritual—the physical being a type of the spiritual. When you were born of your mother, you were composed of flesh. But “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”—no longer composed of flesh, but of spirit! (v. 6).
There will not be any blood in one “born of the spirit.” One composed of spirit will not need to breathe air to exist. When “born again”—born of the Spirit of God—we will be invisible to mortal eyes, like the wind (v.8). The wind’s effects are easily discerned, but it cannot itself be seen. Clearly, the second birth is not just some emotional experience, as so many have erroneously assumed.
Man was created after God’s “likeness”—with the same form and shape (Genesis 1:26–27; 2:7; 3:19), and has the potential to become spirit just as God is spirit. Scripture reveals that God, by means of His Holy Spirit, is creating His perfect spiritual character in those He has called (see Isaiah 64:8; Job 14:14–15; Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 2:10).
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Christ’s good news also revealed that God is reproducing Himself! The Bible shows that the Kingdom of God is not just the ruling government that Christ will establish on the earth when He returns; it is also the Family of God (Ephesians 3:14–15). Jesus taught that human beings can be “born” into the Family or Kingdom of God!
At present there are only two members in the God Family—God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. But God plainly shows that it is His purpose to increase His divine Family by bringing many sons into it (Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 21:7). Jesus Christ is actually the “firstborn” of many sons of God yet to be born of God (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:18).
If we are true Christians in God’s sight, we are already—during this mortal life—the “children of God” (1 John 3:1–2). But we are not yet inheritors of the Kingdom of God. We are only “heirs” of it (Romans 8:14–17), because we are now only the Spirit-begotten children of God the Father. It is when we are born of God that we will become inheritors of God’s Kingdom—Spirit-born members of the Family of God.
Jesus Christ—the “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29)—is the only one who has yet been “born again.” He said we must be “born of the spirit”—become composed of spirit—to “see” or “enter” the Kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5). Our spiritual “birth” as Spirit-begotten children is yet to occur at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50–53).
When the glorified Christ returns to the earth, God’s Spirit-begotten children shall be like Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17; I John 3:1–2). At the resurrection, our present physical bodies will be transformed—made like His glorified body (Philippians 3:21). We will then be “born again” members of God’s own Family—His own glorious offspring, with eternal life inherent within ourselves, ruling the world with Jesus Christ (Revelation 3:21)!