Being Born Again


Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that:

  • To be born again means to be begotten by holy spirit so as to have hope of a heavenly resurrection [1]
  • Only 144,000 Christians are to be born again, of whom approximately 18,500 are presently alive on earth. [2] The other 8,600,000, or over 99% of Jehovah’s Witnesses alive today have an “earthly hope” and have no need of being born again [3]
  • One can put on the “new personality” without having been born again [4]
  • A Christian with an “earthly hope” can enter into God’s kingdom without having been born again [5]

What does mainstream Christianity believe?

Q1. What does it mean to be born again?

Answer: Regardless of good works, morality or religion, as one of Adam’s family we are dead in sin, “alienated from the life of God”. We don’t need a renewed, reformed life but a new life – one “born from above”. Not a heart bypass but a new heart given by God. A baby cannot birth itself; it is the mother who goes through the pain, as Jesus did to give us new life. 

This contrasts to many false views as explained here

John 3:3-7 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” … “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Ezek 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Additional info here 

Eph 2:1-8 You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked … and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, … made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, … For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

Heb 8:10-12 I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

(Also, Jer 31:33-34; 1 Pet 1:3,23)

Q2. Must all Christians be born again?

Answer: Yes, scripture teaches that all who believe in Christ have been born again by Holy Spirit.

John 1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Acts 2:38-39 Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Rom 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

1 John 5:1,12 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of Godwhoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Q3. Can one put on the new self (new personality) without having been born again?

Answer: No, that would be like expecting an ungerminated seed to produce leaves and fruit. We must first BE born again to BEhave.

John 15:4-5 As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me … for apart from me you can do nothing.

1 John 5:18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Eph 4:24-25 Put off [aorist: once-for-all-time] your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life … Put on [aorist: once-for-all-time] the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another

(Also, Col 3:9-11)


  • One who has been ‘born from above’ has been cleansed from his sin, has a new, living relationship with God, and is enabled by the Holy Spirit to live a sanctified life unto God his Father
  • All Christians have been born again
  • The new man is created in a Christian when he is born again
  • One cannot see God’s Kingdom nor enter into it without having been born again


  1. Watchtower 2009 April 1st pp 7-8
  2. Watchtower 2020 Jan pp 20-25
  3. Watchtower 1996 July 1st pp 19-24
  4. Watchtower 1974 May 1st pp 277-280
  5. Reasoning pp 76-80


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