Q. I've heard some Christians use the phrase "born again." Although I've been going to church most of my life, I'm not really sure what that means. Can you tell me?
A. The Lord Jesus Himself was actually the first to use the phrase "born again." He was talking to a man named Nicodemus who was probably in a situation very similar to yours. Nicodemus was a good "churchgoing" man. In fact, he was a ruler of the Jews. But he realized that despite his religious background, there were some spiritual matters he didn't fully understand.
Nicodemus was asking Jesus about these things and Jesus replied, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
To understand more fully what Jesus meant, you can look at II Corinthians 5:17. There, the apostle Paul tells us that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Paul knew firsthand what he was talking about. Years before he wrote those words, he had encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. He had realized that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God. And he'd made a once-and-for-all decision to make Him the Lord and Master of his life. At that moment, Paul literally became a new man inside. He was born again by the supernatural power of God into God's own image. And as the New Testament shows, his life was never the same again.
Unbelievable as it may seem, many good churchgoing people have never had that experience. They have a mental understanding of the Scriptures. They even know that Jesus is the Son of God. Yet their nature has never been changed. They haven't been born again because they haven't received Jesus in a personal way - as their very own Savior and as the Lord of their lives.
If you haven't yet had that experience, today can literally be the beginning of a new life for you. All you have to do is turn to Jesus and say something like this:
Father in heaven, I believe with all my heart that Jesus has been raised from the dead. I believe that You have given Him to me as my personal Savior. And today I receive Him as my gift from You, Father.
I today proclaim that Jesus is my Lord.
Jesus, come into my heart to live forever, I turn my life over to You, and I receive You as Lord and Savior. I believe Your blood has cleansed me of my sins and that I'm a new creature in You. I repent of sin, and I renounce it forever. Amen.
If you've never prayed this prayer, I urge you to do it today. You'll never be the same again.