When people repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are “born again.” What exactly does it mean to be born again? That is what this chapter is all about.
In order to understand what it means to be born again, it helps to first understand the nature of human beings. Scripture tells us that we are not just physical, but also spiritual beings. For example, Paul wrote,
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 5:23; emphasis added).
As Paul indicated, we can consider ourselves to be three-part beings consisting of spirit, soul and body. Scripture does not precisely define those three parts, so we do our best to differentiate between them by our understanding of the words themselves. We usually conclude that our body is our physical being—the flesh, bones, blood and so on. Our soul is our intellectual and emotional being—our mind. Our spirit is obviously our spiritual being, or as the apostle Peter describes him, “the hidden person of the heart” (1 Pet. 3:4).
Because the spirit is invisible to the physical eye, unregenerate people tend to discredit its existence. The Bible, however, is very clear that all of us are spiritual beings. Scripture tells us that when a person dies, it is only his body that ceases to function, while his spirit and soul continue to function as always. At death, they vacate the body (as one) to stand judgment before God (see Heb. 9:27). After judgment, they go to heaven or hell. Eventually every person’s spirit and soul will be reunited with his or her body at its resurrection.