Born Again

Jesus answered him“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3 ESV

The phrase ‘born again’ is often ridiculed by many who don't understand it, often these people have heard the phrase from TV evangelists who have excitedly made convincing or not so genuine alter calls to Christ. However, The term 'born again had six meanings in Rabbinism:

  1. A Gentile being converted to Judaism
  2. Being crowned as a king
  3. Jewish confirmation - Bar mitzvah
  4. Becoming married
  5. Being ordained as a rabbi
  6. Becoming the head of a rabbinic academy

While the six ways of being born again in Pharisaic Judaism had physical associations, Jesus talking to Nicodemus give baptism it a spiritual meaning of new birth. When a person came to believe that Jesus was the Messianic King, that person was 'born again’ from that moment.

Before Christ's crucifixion, people clearly didn’t need to believe that Christ died and rose again in order to be saved, as it hadn't happened yet. One simply had to believe that Jesus is the promised Messianic King and face of the Father. 

The way Gentile's could be saved before Jesus’ time was by putting their faith in the 'God of Israel' as the only God, and through repentance and the rejection of idolatry. Gentile’s could simply have faith in the God of Israel as the one God and Saviour turn from their old ways and live under the Noahic Covenant (Gen. 9:1-17).

When a person is ‘born again’ their will always be evidence of this new life, and a clear difference between their old ways and their new lifestyle. This is also a case for seeing the Fruits of the Spirit.

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