Let’s focus on the meaning of be born again.
Nicodemus as a member of the Sanhedrin came to visit Jesus at night. Do go take a look at the passage. He was a deeply knowledgable leader who knew the Bible well and was highly respected. I think he wanted to know about Jesus philosophy more and to polish up his religion with Jesus ‘new’ ideas.
Jesus knew this and that adding some good ideas would not save Nicodemus or anyone. Even more so, this upstanding Jew needed to be shocked. So do we.(See more on Nicodemus in On Christians and Bias.)
Jesus Tells Us to Be Born Again
So, Jesus said, with no apologies at all, we must be born again.
What did Jesus mean when he told Nicodemus to be born again?
Jesus was telling him very politely that he needed to start over and that by faith he must start over.
Therefore, we need a new life that will color everything before and everything after.
Some people become Christians thinking they accept Jesus as savior and plan to be in heaven with him. To do that, they need to be born again. This means to become a new person. Paul uses a different analogy.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
Christianity is not like joining a political party where you admire the policies. Faith means surrender to a new life that God wants to give us. God made us and has better eyes than we do. We choose to trust him and not us. It is a change of management and a complete change of heart and loyalties.
This 180 degree turn still leaves is with all the wrong habits, but we have changed teams. Nothing will ever be the same. Now, we war against the old flesh for God to make us more wholly his.