What does it mean to be a born again Christian? Simply put, someone who is born again is someone who has become a Christian. You cannot be a Christian without being born again and you cannot be born again unless you are a Christian. You cannot be a Christian unless you are saved. So how is a person saved?
The Jailer in Acts asked Paul and Silas the same question:
Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31)
What are you being saved from? Eternal death and separation from God Almighty as a result of your sins. God sent Christ to the World for the sake of anyone who would choose to believe in him so that they might be saved from damnation in hell and granted eternal life in heaven (John 3:16).
Why must we believe in Jesus to be saved? Because there is salvation in no one else – for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). There is nothing you or I can do for forgiveness – even if we beg God for it – if we do not first accept and believe that Jesus, the Son of God, God himself in the flesh, came and died for us to be the blood sacrifice that was needed to cleanse us from the cancer of sin.
Sin is such an abomination to God that this physical life we have has been utterly corrupted by it. We must be born again, spiritually, in order to be able to live free and unfettered by the chains of sin. The moment we accept Christ as our Savior, the divine substitute for our sins, we are made brand new (2 Co 5:17). It is as if we died in the corrupted life and were in the next minute born once again, brand new babies in the spiritual life, free from sin, under the covering of Christ.
Anyone and everyone can be born again. But to be born again, each person must look to the cross and accept the divine man on it as the sacrifice of God on their behalf. Each one of us is supposed to hang on that cross because of the sin we committed, whether telling a lie or committing murder. The cross is supposed to be the place we die but Christ instead chose to take our place and die instead.
Every sin we committed, he took on himself as if he was the one who did it. God poured out his wrath, the wrath he should have poured on us, on him and killed him. It should have been us who died. But it was Jesus instead who volunteered to take our punishment on himself. The sinless Christ submitted himself to excruciating agony and torture – mental, physical and spiritual – to give us the chance to have eternal life with God Almighty.
This is why the born again life is a life of freedom in service to our king, Jesus Christ and our Father, the Lord God. This is why no one can be born again unless he is a Christian and no one can be a Christian unless he is first saved.