The term or phrase born again became popular because of one person, a president named Jimmy Carter. He saw himself to be a born again Christian. Some Christians liked to call themselves born again because they wanted people to understand and distinguish that they were not just born into a Christian family and therefore are Christian but because they were truly saved.
So what does it mean to be born again?
To be born again is to be regenerated or to be reborn, or in common terms saved in accordance to the Christian faith. To be saved means that your heart has been changed (Ezekiel 26:26), that you have a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), that you have been adopted into God’s family (Romans 8).
To be born again also means that you have been saved from sin and death. Because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
The most important part of being born again is that Jesus is the one who has given us this gift (Ephesians 2:1-10).
How are we born again?
Ephesians 2 says it is not of our own doing but that it is a free gift of God.
John 3:8 describes that the Holy Spirit goes where he wishes. (the Hebrew word ruach is used interchangeably for wind, breath and spirit).
Why can’t we save ourselves?
Because we are dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-2). We were born as Children of Wrath. This means that we are all sinners.
I like to use an illustration to help understand scripture and here is one that could possibly help.
When we were born, did we have a choice as to whether we were conceived or not? No, because we did not exist before then. But God willed it to be that way and I believe this is why he calls our regeneration “born again” in John 3. Because He wanted us to grasp that we need Him for this to happen.
So in technical terms in order to be a true Christian you have to be born again. The fact that your parents were Christian does not qualify you to enter the Kingdom of God. Besides the only thing that we truly bring to the table is our sin. We are qualified for hell but not for heaven.
Our nature is cursed, and we are born into sin. A person who is a child of wrath does not desire a relationship with God although they can have a relationship with Him, they would not choose it because their heart needs to change.
So whenever you feel that urge to truly get to know God and that you desire Him. You can thank Him for that.
The reason we do not have a hand in our salvation is because all the glory truly belongs to Jesus and for us to boast in ourselves is wrong.
I hope this taught you something today. If you would like to read more about this there are several passages on this in the Bible.