E13: A born-again Christian
PODCAST: Jesus said: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…” How can we be born again?
The term “a born-again Christian” has many different ideas and connotations attached to it. But being born again is something that Jesus told us is absolutely necessary if we want to see the kingdom of God. So what does it actually mean to be a born again Christian? And how do we achieve that? In today’s podcast episode, Milenko and Kathy discuss what it means to be born again.
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 13: A born-again Christian
This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore the different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put it into practice in daily life.
Kathy: Welcome back to “Living the Gospel.” I’m Kathy …
Milenko: And I’m Milenko. It’s been a while since we’ve done a podcast together Kathy.
Kathy: It has been. We actually work on different continents, so when we do end up at the same place, at the same time, we usually take the opportunity to chat together.
Milenko: So now you’re actually in our studio, and we’re going to take the opportunity to talk together about a topic that may seem quite doctrinal, and maybe hard to understand. But it’s actually something that’s really important. And we’re going to talk about what it means to be born again.
Kathy: Yeah. So, I know for myself, it actually took me a long time to understand the concept of being born again, to be honest. And I think that when we talk about being born again, we need to start, first of all, by reading what Jesus says about it.
Milenko: Yeah, that’s from John 3:3-6 where it says: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ … ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’”
Kathy: So, there’s a lot in those verses to understand. And the first question I have is, what does it actually mean to be born of water and the Spirit?
Milenko: Yes, it’s interesting that it talks about those two things. The water, that’s the forgiveness of sins. It’s the washing away of committed sins, it’s what makes us pure, it gives us a new foundation to start building on. But then it goes on to say, also being born of the Spirit.
Kathy: So repentance comes first? And then being born again comes after? And can you have one without the other?
Milenko: If you think about it, being born again is a completely new start. It’s like you’re starting with a completely clean slate. So repentance is an absolute requirement. You can’t go into a new life dragging a lot of the old stuff with you.
Kathy: Right. But, can you repent without being born again?
Milenko: Yes, it’s possible to repent without being born again. As we say here, you have to be born of the water and the Spirit. And you can get your sins forgiven. God is generous. Jesus died for our sins, so we can get the forgiveness, but the next point is, a point of action, where we have to be born of the Spirit. That means we receive the Holy Spirit, which is the Helper. He is the Spirit that Jesus, God, has sent us, so that we can get help to overcome sin. Help to live according to God’s will.
Kathy: OK, so being born again and receiving the Holy Spirit, those go hand in hand?
Milenko: They definitely do. That’s the second part of being born again.
Kathy: So, then, is being born again something that we should actually ourselves work for? Like, how does it happen? Is it something that God puts in our hearts, or is there something we ourselves should do in order to be born again?
Milenko: It’s written really clearly in Romans that no one seeks God of themselves. It’s not something that I can do in my own strength. God is the one who calls us; He works in us, He reaches out His hand. And I think most of our listeners will have noticed that, that God is speaking to them somehow. There’s this … a longing, or a niggling feeling, or a restlessness. Maybe we don’t even really know what it is, but it’s something that we understand, something needs to change, and that’s God working in us through His Spirit as well. And it’s up to us to respond to that. God wants this to be voluntary. He wants us to respond and do it of our own free will, but it is He who makes this new creation. He is the Creator. I have to be obedient to His will, I have to deny myself, give up all of that, hate my old life, and want to become new. And then I’m ready to be washed by the water, and then a disciple wants to go on to more. He wants to become like Jesus. And that’s where we need to baptized in the Spirit. We need that strength. So that’s what God works in us.
Milenko: So it’s all by grace, but I need to be obedient.
Kathy: OK, so on that note, let’s listen to the article now and see what it says about what it means to be born again.
(Click to read:)
What does it mean to be born again?
Kathy: I like that description from Colossians of a born-again Christian. Someone whose mind isn’t set on earthly things, but we have our vision lifted to the eternal. So, it actually reminds me of one of your favorite quotes, Milenko. Can you guess what that is?
Milenko: Yes, it’s actually a quote from a very God-fearing woman that I knew, whose name was Esther Smith. And she said, “We’re living here to be formed for eternity.”
Kathy: Yup. Such a good quote.
Milenko: It’s really a good quote. When I first heard it, it really struck me. That’s the purpose of my life here; it’s eternity! My life here is short, it’s limited, but what I do here forms my eternity. So that’s where I really have to have my mind set on the things above.
Kathy: What would you say is actually the difference between someone who lives for the earthly, the temporary things, and someone who lives for the eternal. Like, how does it actually … how does our vision affect our everyday life?
Milenko: So, a born-again Christian is one who’s got their mind set on the eternal. It’s a new life; it’s a completely new way of thinking. And what I’d say then, Christianity isn’t just a Sunday church service or something like that, or praying once in a while. Christianity is our life. We are living here to be formed for eternity. So, it’s to have our mind on the heavenly things. That means that everything I do, I’m thinking, how does this serve that I will one day live in eternity, in heaven with Jesus? And that’s where I need the Holy Spirit. I really need to … my whole old life needs to be gone. I’ve got one purpose. That’s living for my Master, the One I love, who died for me. So that’s a born-again Christian. It’s a heavenly life.
Kathy: That changes everything, doesn’t it?
Milenko: It changes everything!
Kathy: Actually, if you have that vision, it changes the way you do everything in your life.
Kathy: So, that’s what we had for today. I hope everyone has been able to get a bit of a better understanding of what it actually means to be born again.
Milenko: Right, and to be inspired to seek the things above and live for Jesus, to share eternity with Him.
Kathy: Yeah. Because that’s the point.
Milenko: That is the point.
Kathy: That’s why we are born again.
Kathy: So thanks again for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!