Being a "born again Christian" means you have been adopted into God's family, Pastor Rick Warren says.
Warren, who heads the popular Saddleback Church in Southern California, wrote in his daily devotional on Tuesday that there are two ways to enter into God's family: you can either be born into his family, or adopted into it through a "born again" conversion.
The megachurch pastor cites Roman law, which allowed parents to disown their biological children, but prevented them from disowning their adopted children.
Under the concept of born again Christianity, God will never disown you, no matter what you do, Warren exmplains.
"You may ask, 'No matter what I do? Really?' No matter what you do!" the pastor says. "Once you're born, you cannot be unborn. Once you are born again, you cannot be unborn again. The fellowship may be broken, but no matter what your parents say, everybody knows you are still their child."
"In the same way, once you become a child in the family of God, you remain in the family of God!" Warren adds.
"We are the family of God. Church is not something you go to. Church is something you belong to. You're grafted into the vine and the tree of life. You're born again and adopted into the family of God. He's saying all these things. You're joined into the body of Christ," he says, citing 1 Timothy 3:15.
Christianity is more than just a religion, Warren continues, explaining that Christianity is a family of God's children who are forever united in their faith.
This idea makes the meaning behind Romans 15:6-7 NCV especially important: "You will all be joined together, and you will give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God."
Just as Christ accepted us, so we must accept other members of our Christian family, the pastor concludes.
There are several ways to know if you've been truly born again, Pastor Dan Delzell of Wellspring Church in Papillion, Nebraska, wrote in an op-ed published earlier this month in The Christian Post.
Being born again is the realization that your salvation comes not from your personal works, but from the cross, Delzell writes.
"If you are relying upon your works in order to be accepted by God and forgiven of your sins, then you are not yet born again," the pastor says.
"The only way to be born again is to rely on the cross. That is, to accept the payment Jesus made on your behalf. It is the only way to be saved, forgiven, and born again. All three of those things happen the moment a person enters God's family by receiving the gift of eternal life through faith," Delzell adds.
Another way to know you are born again is having the sincere desire to live in Christ.
"A born again person does not view his salvation as a "license to sin." Anyone who looks at Christianity that way is not born again. Believers don't live for sin, but rather, they live for Christ," the pastor concludes.