When someone asks if you’re “born again”, how do you answer? Yes? How do you know? If you say, “Well, I’m Catholic, so I was born again when I was baptized as a baby.” Sorry, that’s wrong. That is a false teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. If you were baptized as a baby, that does not mean you are saved and are going to Heaven when you die. (By the way, you’re not going to Purgatory because it doesn’t exist!)
Let’s start with the Gospel Truth as Jesus tells Nicodemus, the Pharisee in John 3…
There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”
3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.
10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”John 3:1-21 NLT
Digesting the Text…
First, Nicodemus is taking a huge risk coming to Jesus. Why do you think he came to Him at night? The Pharisees had taken all the laws of Moses and added on more laws and rules to better control the people. That’s exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has done — and I will get into more details in a series I’m planning for the future. Jesus is setting Nicodemus straight. Jesus says, “I tell you the truth…” — actually, He says that a lot. Why? Because the Pharisees have distorted the Jewish laws so much that they needed to hear the truth!
That last paragraph is important. If you are not born again, you live in darkness and you will be judged for not believing in the truth. Read that passage from John 3 again and this time, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the truth in your heart.
In the Book of Acts, Peter tells us…
32“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. 33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. 34 For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
35 until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”’
36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.Acts 2:32-41 NLT
In the Letter to the Galatians, Paul tells us…
Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”Galatians 2:16 NLT
Peter Assures us that our Salvation is Forever…
23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.1 Peter 1:23-25
What does it take to be born again and saved?
- Jesus is the door. Believe that He died on the cross to take your sins away forever. Everything is THROUGH JESUS!
- Repentance is the key. Repent of your sins. Turn away from your old sinful life and STOP SINNING!
- Baptism is the water that cleanses us from our old life. And, yes, you have to be BAPTIZED AGAIN!
- And the Holy Spirit is the fire that refines or sanctifies us so we are good enough to get into Heaven. Because on our own, we will never be GOOD ENOUGH!
If you want to be truly born again and gain the assurance of salvation and a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven then you must…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”Colossians 2:6-7 NLT
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily to get to know God. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
- From Catholic to Prodigal: Surviving College
- From Prodigal to Progressive: Surviving Hurricanes
- From Progressive to Born Again Christian: Surviving Unemployment
Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!