Sometimes Christians use terms that aren’t easily understood by people who didn’t grow up going to church. These days, it is often referred to as “Christianese”, but it is not a new concept at all. Nicodemus had the same problem when he spoke to Jesus in John 3:1-7.
After Jesus had spent the day with crowds of people at the temple, Nicodemus went to see him at night. Nicodemus wanted to ask Jesus some questions, apparently while there weren’t a lot of other people around to interrupt or make judgements. He wasn’t defensive or argumentative about what Jesus had to say, refusing to accept it because it was something he hadn’t heard before. Rather, he realized that Jesus was from God, and he wanted to understand and to do what was right.
Jesus knew what Nicodemus’ questions were before he asked them, so He got straight to the point. “Unless a person is born from above, He cannot see the kingdom of God.” That means that if you want to see the kingdom of God, this is how to do it, so we, like Nicodemus, had better understand what it means. In the King James and several other versions, “born from above” is translated as “born again”, and that is the Christianese term that has confused a lot of people, Nicodemus included.
So what does it mean to be born from above? Human beings are more than just bodies. We are made of flesh, and we are made of spirit. When we realize that our spirit needs to be connected to God’s Spirit, that we belong to the One who created us, and accept the fact that Jesus has provided for our salvation, we can be born from above. All it takes is to acknowledge that God sent his son Jesus to be a sacrifice for us, so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price for our own sins. We need to acknowledge that we do sin, and that we need God.
If you want to be born again, from above, pray this simple prayer.
Dear God, I realize that I need You. I believe that Jesus came to pay the penalty for my sins, so that I could have a relationship with You. I want that relationship, and I want to live in a way that pleases You. Please help me to understand what that really means and help me to do it. Amen.
If you aren’t ready yet, but you would really like to understand, you can pray for that too. God promises that if we look for Him, we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13, Deuteronomy 4:29, Proverbs 8:17) You can pray something as simple as:
Dear God, I really want to know the truth. Please help me to understand. Amen.
Then, be open for the answer. Be willing to read the Bible, and pray for understanding as you do. Be willing to talk to a pastor or someone you trust who has already walked down this path. If you really want to know the truth, you will pray that prayer, or a similar one, more than once. God will make Himself known to you if you seek Him with all your heart.