John 3:1-18, vs. “3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”
As we saw in part 1, Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and how he addressed Jesus gives us a clear picture he had very little understanding of who Jesus was. Our conclusion from the message was, understanding the doctrine of Christ is crucial in the new birth. The WHO is the most important in the new birth.
Watch what Jesus does with His potential convert, He cuts to the chase and addresses WHAT. “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”, John 3:3. The weightier word the Lord uses here is “being born again”.
The word “born” is to say the beginning or coming into existence of something. A baby being born does not effect the process, he or she responds to the process. We are born once into the world, we are then born again into the kingdom. WHY? Because we are dead in our trespasses according to Ephesians 2:1. By biblical definition, we are spiritually dead, morally bankrupt unable to do anything to become alive. This does not mean we cannot do some good things, it just means we cannot do anything good to bring us life. We like Lazarus are 4 days dead stinking with no hope in ourselves or anyone unless someone who has the capability of giving life effects it in us and we respond. In short Jesus is saying you must have new life to see and enter the kingdom of God, something foreign to Nicodemus a teacher of the law.
With this metaphor, Nicodemus is left to ponder of how possible that can be when it sounds easy and complex at the same time. “Be born again”, sounds easy, not many steps. The complex part is what it means and takes for it to be. “Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”, John 3:4. By Nicodemus’ response, a teacher of the law, Paul was right in penning these words, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”, 1Corinthians 2:14. What Jesus said made no sense to Nicodemus the same with those who are dead in sin.
“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again”, John 3:5-7. The phrase “born again” literally means “born from above.” Two things involved in being born again, “born of water” and “the Spirit”. Having studied this verse closely, I am convinced “born of water” has absolutely no reference to water baptism but cleansing, (regeneration).
When Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus of being born of water, water baptism was new and had two different meanings. He would have understood only one, pre resurrection. John’s baptism was in response to repentance, outward sign that they were clean and believed on Him who was to come. Baptism after resurrection was a public declaration to those who had been regenerated, that they had died and resurrected with Christ. , “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance…”, Matthew 3:11. As this was pre resurrection of Christ, Nicodemus would have understood the words of Christ to mean cleansing (regeneration), not starting with John but going back to the Old Testament. A better place to bring this to light is Ezekiel 36:25-27, “25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them”. I see Paul echoing to Titus Ezekiel 36, he writes , “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit“, Titus 3:5, also as seen in Leviticus 15:13.
To make it simple, He has to cleanse before He can dwell. Born of water and Spirit involves cleansing of the old and a creation of the new. Romans 6:6. To continue, Blessings Ev