Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Our first birth gave us physical life; the new birth gives us spiritual life and membership in God’s family (John 1:13). To be born again is to have the Holy Spirit transform our hearts from indifference and hostility toward God to a love of God and a desire for righteousness and holiness. The only way one can come to God and experience what it means to be “born again” is through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ; read John 14:6. The Bible clearly teaches in Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5, and Romans 10:13 that salvation is a gift; it cannot be earned in any way.
To receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord means more than accepting Him as a fact of history, a teacher, or an example. It means more than giving mental assent to the fact that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. It means that one turns from sin and with his or her whole heart trusts in Christ as personal Savior and Lord. God makes that one a new person; see 2 Corinthians 5:17. The Bible says, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).