Is Born Again A Term For The Church?

Q. A biblically astute friend claims that the Church has misunderstood the Lord’s statement about being born again in John 3. She claims Jesus was talking about Israel. He meant they were born the first time when they came out of Egypt. The second time will be when ‘a nation is born in a day’ at the second coming. Therefore we should avoid using the “born again” term because it’s misuse of scripture, and not sound doctrine for us today. It isn’t speaking to, for, or about us. She said part of the reason so many people are deceived about that is because Christendom missuses and twists scripture constantly. Your insight and thoughts would be appreciated.

A. This is probably the strangest definition of being born again I’ve ever heard. Fortunately it can easily be refuted. There are two clear definitions of the term “born again” in the Gospel of John. The first is in John 1:12-13;

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will (first birth), but born of God (second birth).

To believe in Jesus’ name is to acknowledge who He is. Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One, the Son of God, the Savior of mankind. Or as John the Baptist said, He’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Believing that is what qualifies someone who has already been born once as a child of earthly parents to be born again as a child of God.

The second definition is in John 3:6;

Flesh gives birth to flesh (first birth; physical birth to earthly parents), but the Spirit gives birth to spirit (second birth; spiritual birth as a child of God).

In John 3:3 Jesus said, “Except a man (literally, a certain one) be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.

This verse is about a person. Saying that it refers to the birth of Israel is clearly misusing and twisting Scripture, the very thing the writer criticized other Christians of doing.

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