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Born Again

“Salvation, then, is more than forgiveness of sins, more than a mental acceptance of Christ and His teachings. For in salvation we are given union with God through Christ, a right and full relationship with the Holy Trinity, and the restoration of our full humanity. All these things are accomplished through the Incarnation, the union of God and man in the Person of Jesus Christ. Salvation, then, is founded on a substantial union of the believer with Christ in His full humanity, a flesh-to-flesh relationship. Paul likens it to the joining of husband and wife (Eph 5:23–32).” (Orthodox Study Bible)

“Salvation is the divine gift through which men and women are delivered from sin and death, united to Christ, and brought into His eternal Kingdom. Those who heard Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost asked what they must do to be saved. He answered, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Salvation begins with these three "steps": 1) repent, 2) be baptized, and 3) receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To repent means to change our mind about how we have been, turning from our sin and committing ourselves to Christ. To be baptized means to be born again by being joined into union with Christ. And to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit means to receive the Spirit who empowers us to enter a new life in Christ, be nurtured in the Church, and be conformed to God's image.” (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese)

“The Lord revealed this one night to Nicodemus, teaching him that entering the Kingdom was not simply a matter of keeping the Law, but of being born again, born from above. That which is born once, of the flesh, remains merely flesh, and cannot enter the imperishable Kingdom. To enter that Kingdom one must also be born from above, by the Spirit (John 3:3f). Saint Peter echoed this teaching in his First Epistle, written to the newly-converted Christians of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Before their baptism they were merely children of flesh, wandering in the futile pagan way of life inherited from their forefathers (1 Peter 1:18). But now, he wrote, they had been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (v.3). Their former birth, of course, came through the seed of men, but this new birth came “not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is through the living and abiding word of God,” the very Gospel word “which was preached to you” (v.23, 25).” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“In the Christian Church the practice of baptism takes on a new and particular significance. It no longer remains merely a sign of moral change and spiritual rebirth. It becomes very specifically the act of a person’s death and resurrection in and with Jesus. Christian baptism is man’s participation in the event of Easter. It is a “new birth by water and the Holy Spirit” into the Kingdom of God (Jn 3.5).” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

“ ‘Born again.” The word anothen originally meant ‘from above’ [cf. Luke 1:2], then ‘again’ [cf. Galatians 4:9], and even ‘from the top’ [cf. John 19:23, Mark 15:38]. Nicodemos takes the meaning to be ‘again,’ a second birth form the womb. The Vulgate translates it by renatus fuerit denuo…In other passages the meaning ‘is from above’ and usually so in the Gospels.” (Holy Apostles Convent)

“Born again: The word again can also be translated “from above” and clearly refers to the heavenly birth from God through faith in Christ (1:12, 13). This heavenly birth is baptism (v. 5) and our adoption by God as our Father (Gal 4:4–7). This new birth is but the beginning of our spiritual life, with its goal being entrance into the kingdom of God.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 3:3)

“Nicodemus interprets the Lord’s miracles or signs as proof that “God is with Him” (John 3:2). However, the Lord immediately takes control of the discussion by insisting that one must be born again to “see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). His point is that the kingdom of God is present, but cannot be seen by those who, like Nicodemus, notice only tangible results or effects. Because they are not spiritually regenerated – born again – such people fail to perceive the Kingdom. The Lord then deepens the topic of regeneration further, speaking of how we are spiritually reborn. A new birth is required “of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5), a clear reference to the mysteries of baptism and chrismation. Subsequently, the Lord Jesus explains how these mysteries transform a person spiritually, saying, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Rebirth, as an action of the Holy Spirit, is beyond human control, and “so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).” (Dynamis 4/23/2020)

“Our human nature itself is altered by that divine act that makes us sharers in the glory of the Lord, "being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is the alteration of our humanity whereby we "become partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), and this is what it means to be “born again.” (Fr. Patrick Reardon)

“We die to live. That is the beautiful paradox straight out of the Biblical idea of being ‘born again’ or ‘in losing one’s life to find it.’ When all that goes with it, gradually dies, and we acquire a different and better way of life. As our shortcomings are removed, one life of us dies, and another life of us lives.” (Fr. Bogdan Djurdjulov)


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