What is born again?
God's word says that all believers in Jesus Christ have been "baptized in the Holy Spirit," whether or not they have "spoken in tongues." The Apostle Paul plainly states: "We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body" (I Con 12:13). Every believer in Christ has been born again by the baptism of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. But then Paul proceeds to indicate that not all believers have received the special gift of the Holy Spirit that once enabled some people to speak in foreign languages they had never learned. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:1-7).
There are TWO BIRTHS. The "first" birth is the PHYSICAL BIRTH when you were born into this world from your mother and father. When the Bible speaks of being "born of water," it is speaking about the physical the "second" birth is a SPIRITUAL BIRTH, which means to be born of the "Spirit" (God's Holy Spirit). A roman 8:9 tells us that the Spirit of Christ dwells within every believer. We are born again by the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1,14: Revelation 19:13).
In Romans 6:4 in which St. Paul says: "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life."
And here we can see that a person who is born physically alive but spiritually fallen and dead can be regenerated into new life. How? By being baptized INTO the death of Christ - by being mysteriously joined to Him in death - so that by the power of the Father through the working of the Holy Spirit - when Christ is raised from the dead we too will rise WITH Him into "newness of life."
Newness of life = born again. Some people who claim that we are born again ONLY by a conversion experience BEFORE we are baptized. why? "He who believes and is baptize will be saved..."
Faith AND baptism are both necessary, no matter in what order they manifest themselves.
Let us look two verses ahead at John 3:5. In John 3:5, Nicodemus is confused about being born again. Jesus clarifies what He states to Nicodemus stating:
(John 3:5) - Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
Here we see that born again means the sacrament of baptism! The man who is baptized may not “feel” any different after baptism than before. But once he is baptized, he has received the Holy Spirit in a special way. He has been regenerated and made a child of God through the divine son ship of Jesus Christ in which he shares. He has been buried with Christ and raised to new life with Him. He has objectively and publicly identified himself with Jesus' death and resurrection.