This was a book by Charles Colson back in the 70s. There was a shocking statement by Jimmy Carter, also in the 70s. He said, “I am born again” and sent journalists to their dictionaries. We are much more used to this term, but it has not come to mean what you think it means.
Born Again in 2016 in America means a voting bloc, mostly in the Republican Party, mainly in the Midwest and South. It refers to social and economic conservatives. So much so that pollsters ask voters if they are Born Again. Now, political candidates seek the favor of this group.
It is time to reclaim this term from the pollsters. It is an important biblical idea. It comes to us most famously in John 3.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8 NRSV
I have crafted 6 sentences about what this term means in John’s Gospel.
- New Birth joins us to God’s family.
- New Birth is a decisive act.
- New Birth is God’s act alone.
- New Birth means born again and born from above
- New birth comes by belief.
- New Birth by the Spirit means we see, believe and live.