To be born again is what exactly?

If you were to share the biblical view of being born again - which scripture would you use to support your personal view of what being born again actually is?

Catholics are born again, by water and the Spirit. See Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus:

John 3:5-8 (New International Version) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

In other words, by the Sacrament of Baptism?

Actually, there are two sacraments in that quote (and many others):

“born of water” = Sacrament of Baptism

“and the Spirit” = Sacrament of Confirmation

In Baptism the Holy Spirit purifies our soul with sanctifying grace. But in Confirmation we “receive the Holy Spirit”, completing our initiation into the Church, and equipping us with the graces necessary to live and defend the Faith. Baptism can be performed by any baptized Christian (in extraordinary circumstances), but Confirmation can only be performed by an apostolic authority…

Acts 8 (NIV)

14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into[c] the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!”

Catechism:
Baptism
Confirmation

You beat me to it! For the OP and for Claire from DE, when fundamentalists ask you if you’ve been “born again” you may tell them “Yes!”. It is likely that they have not been, since many fundamentalist sects teach that baptism is not necessary, regardless of what Jesus said in Matthew 28. And they claim to go by the bible…

Sorry, I got greedy! I always lick my chops when I get to quote Acts 8! :smiley:

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

Act 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,

Act 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

Act 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

Act 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

Act 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

Act 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

Act 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

Act 8:36 And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Act 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

The new birth is of Spirit and of Water. It is a spiritual baptismal birth, spiritual because the soul receives new life in the Holy Spirit and baptismal because it is through Baptism.

Now no child is born outside of the womb, so there must be a mother whom the child is born in, and, moreover, there must be a man to implant his seed in the woman before she can become pregnant with child. Hence, every saint is born in Mother Church, and it is Jesus Christ, Father Forever, who implants in the Church the seed of new life. This He accomplished by His Death: His Death brought new life, it restored the Divine Life in souls, which man lost at the fall. It is the paradox of the Cross: strength in persecution and life in death. Jesus, the New Adam, married the New Eve, His Church, whom Mary is a figure of, by His sufferings on the Cross, and He consummated the marriage by His Death: just as sexual relations unites the husband and wife spiritually and physically, so too, the Death of Jesus, as Man (for He cannot die as God, though it is said God died since His Humanity was submissive to His Divinity), united Him and the Church spiritually and physically, in light of the Holy Eucharist. No longer are husband and wife two, but now they are one: no longer are Jesus and the Church two, but now they are One. And when His Side was pierced, from His Heart came forth Blood and Water, the Blood of the Eucharist and the Water of Baptism. Since the Eucharist, which is Body and Blood of Jesus, makes the Church, as Jesus and the Church are One (and this is the first quality of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church), and since Baptism, which is a share in Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, makes the soul a saint (a member of the Holy Body of Christ, that is, the Church), it is said that out of the Side of Jesus, who was already dead, was born the New Eve, just as out of the side of Adam, who had already fallen into a deep sleep, was born Eve. And Mary, who is the Mother of Christians, a figure of Mother Church - since Jesus gave her to us through John as our Mother and us through John to her as her sons (“Woman behold thy son…son behold thy mother”) - was present at the wedding of the Lamb of God, at the marriage of Jesus and the Church, as a representation of the Church, which is why she is called a figure of our Mother. For the Bride must be present with the Bridegroom at the wedding in order for them to be married. And Jesus Himself presided over the wedding, marrying Himself to His Church, since He is the High Priest, just as He, as High Priest, offered Himself to the Father. (And the Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father, for the Persons are distinct, yet each is God, for the Trinity is One and Unity, being God)

The Holy Spirit, the Third Person, who is the Lord, God - since each Person is God - is the Love of the Father for the Son and of the Son for the Father and of God for His creatures and creations. By being born of Spirit, the Lord makes His dwelling in the soul. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the soul, makes it holy, and by this work He gives it a share in the Divine Life, the Life of God, who is Holiness itself. The Holy Spirit unites the soul to God, just as He unites the Father and the Son. And so long as a soul lives in the Spirit, God will live in him. For Jesus said, “Abide in My love, and I will abide in you…If you love Me, you will obey My Commandments…(in answer to the rich man) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your body, and all your spirit, and your neighbor as yourself.” Hence, anyone who dose not live in God will not have a share in His Life in Heaven: In other words, one must be in the state of grace (sanctifying grace) to enter Heaven. (Purgatory is where souls who are in the state of venial sin go to be purged of sin before entering Heaven, but one must not say, “Purgatory is enough for me, I will only work hard enough to reach Purgatory!” for God dose not call us to Purgatory but to Heaven, and He has enough Omnipotence and Mercy to get us to Heaven, so not reaching for Heaven shows distrust toward God: but besides all that, we must not lived and work for reward but for love, for love of God, who deserves all of our love)

Thats interesting in all my studies this is the first time that anyone has suggested that there are two sacraments present as you pointed out above - which does make since for adult converts but how is an infant born again if they are baptized and then later confirmed - could we not say they were born again through baptism alone?

That’s what a Lutheran would say.

Jon

It was a question

Dear Responder,

They are saved by that baptism, if when they grow they stay true to Christ. But as one grows older they must accept the teachings of Christ because they are now old enough. For this reason confirmation is shared. It is quite similar to a Bar Mitzphah. While young you have the God of your parent’s understanding. When you grow old you must figure out for yourself about God and accpet of your own free will through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I am not saying that we must be confirmed to get to heaven, but the Bible teahes that the Apostles anoited people along with baptism. I hope this helps you, but I must run.
May God bless you all along your journey.

Jpaul1953

Ok, a Lutheran would answer that question “yes”.

Jon

There is no doubt in my Catholic faith that we are truly born again through the sacrament of baptism but coming from a different background I am careful when I say that we are saved at the moment of baptism - I believe we are in fact born again and that we are saved from original sin and any personal sin up to that point in time - but the bible tells us that we are saved, are being saved and will be saved - it seems to me that those of non catholic backgrounds sometimes do not understand these truths.

To be baptized is to be washed of ones sins.

Being born of water is the natural birth. To be born of spirit is to born from the atmosphere. Spirit is a substance which has three major appearances as fire, air, and water.

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

This is the distinction he reiterrates of the two births.

"You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ "

Here afirms that what he is saying is literal, and he understands he has not been understood.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Clearly this proves that being born again is supernatural, and not simply baptism, or there would have been no need to say any of what he said. If he meant to say washed in baptism, he would have been insane to have said these things.

Question: why can’t the sacrament of baptism be supernatural?

I really don’t like your question. I feel just as frustrated as Jesus was by Nicodemus, who completely ignored what Jesus had said with his question.

Jesus is trying to tell him about springing forth from the very air, and Jesus saying that it is to be born of spirit is a very good analogy. In other places in scripture it speaks of this as being created anew, which is what the experience is.

At least he had heard the word birth and did not ask questions about baptism…

okay

I do not believe Nicodemus understood what Jesus was talking about just as I believe you do not understand - in my opinion I believe you and others actually think just like Nicodemus did.

See Nicodemus like you believed that this water Jesus talks about is from our first birth but that is simply not the case - the Catholic Church has always taught that the water Jesus is referring to here is in regards to the baptismal waters of this sacrament which will be made possible on the day of Pentecost… Its not just mere water in which we are suggesting here but includes the Holy Spirit.

Another poster above mentioned that water refers to our baptism and spirit refers to our confirmation - as adults we would receive one after another and hence be born again this time in Christ - this baptism represents our faith in the life, death and resurrection our our Lord and we profess our faith out loud in the sacrament of confirmation.

I also believe that the washing of water represents what the Holy Spirit is truly accomplishing within our soul.

You still ignore everything that Jesus said. You take one word “water” and develop and whole imaginary text on it. Why do you use the word birth in what you wrote, I cannot see how birth has anything to do with what you write about…

I disagree with your conclusion. In Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and become ‘temples of the Holy Spirit’ don’t we? It is His Spirit in us who enables us to call out Abba, Father.

Just as our physical birth makes us children of our parents, Baptism, makes us children of God and heirs of heaven. This is being ‘born again’ or ‘born from above’. In the bible, isn’t being ‘born again’ synonymous with ‘being born of water and the Spirit’?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.