This is stunning. As disciples of Jesus, we are the chief objects of God’s fatherly love. We become God’s children through faith and are then encouraged by Scripture to imitate our heavenly Father in our daily living.
I also become a child of God by being “born again”. I was born as a child of my earthly father. He did what he could for me in raising me well but it had its limits.
While the phrase “born again Christian” sparks some derision, the truth is evident in what Jesus says. I want to see the Kingdom of God. I have to be born again. The Greek word ἄνωθεν anōthĕn, (an´-o-then) means from above.
There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”
Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.” | John 3:1-3
Why does a person need to be born from above? The apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”. To the Romans he wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sinners are spiritually “dead”; when they receive spiritual life through faith in Christ, the Bible likens it to a rebirth. Only those who are born again have their sins forgiven and have a relationship with God.
How does that come to be? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” When one is saved, he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus the Messiah, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is the means to be “born again.” “Therefore, if anyone is in the Messiah, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
How do we become children of God? It is a right of ours by being born again. Jesus goes on at length to explain this in John 3:1-21. Jesus says “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
How are we born again? This part is very cool. I have been baptized in water and I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I am a child of God! Jesus says “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
John 1:12–13 (NASB) —But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 12:36 (NASB) — “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.
Romans 9:8 (NASB) —That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
Galatians 3:26 (NASB) —For you are all sons of God through faith in the Messiah Jesus.
1 John 5:1 (NASB) —Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.