The blank line in a document stares at me. I stare back and wonder how to fill it up properly.
In a world that runs on labels, it is sometimes complicated to give a definite answer to a simple question.
If I were asked what my religion was verbally, instead of filling in a blank, I would explain:
“I have no religion. But I have a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I attend a home church affiliated with other churches so I can fellowship and grow in my knowledge of God with people who share my faith. There, my brethren in Christ help me become closer to God by keeping alive the Scriptures together—and making God's Word be seen in our lives. I belong to this movement of Christ-centered families and individuals wanting to be Christ-like.”
I look at the blank space again and jot down: "Born Again Christian."
The puzzle, however, is I don't know exactly when I was born again. Unlike others who have a spiritual birthday, which they know by heart, I don't.
What I am positive about is that sometime in my life (my parents were followers of the same Savior and so were my grandparents before them), I too decided to take the same true path and try every day of my life to stay on track. The exact date escapes me.
So every so often, I pray the sinner's prayer* and when I do, it's like being embraced by peace no man can explain. If by being born again is a moment like this, then I can fill in a thousand blank spaces—Born Again Christian—and it will be correct each time.
What does it mean to be “born again?”
The Bible passage that answers this best is John 3:1-21. The Lord Jesus Christ is talking to Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee. That night he had come to Jesus who said:
“'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. 'Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!' 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.'” John 3:3-7
Nicodemus had an urgent need—a change of heart, a spiritual transformation.
Being born again is an act of God which imparts, by grace, eternal life to the person who believes. In many Bible passages, "born again" is also "becoming children of God" through trust in the name of Jesus Christ.
Why does a person need to be born again? The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." So, a person needs to be born again in order to have his sins forgiven and have a relationship with God.
Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid for man's sin on the cross, is what it means to be "born again" spiritually. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
This is the prayer (called Sinner's Prayer or Salvation Prayer) I say silently when I am about to fill in a blank.
*God, I know I am a sinner. I believe you died for me on the cross so that I might be saved. Right now I ask You to forgive me of all my sins. Come into my heart Lord Jesus. I receive you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for forgiving all my sins, and giving me eternal life. Let my life be dedicated to you, Lord Jesus, and help me to be the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.