Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jesus said, "You must be born again."


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.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3: 5-8)

What did Nicodemus know about the kingdom? From the Bible he knows it would be ruled by God, it would be restored on earth, and it would incorporate God’s people. Jesus revealed to the devout Pharisee that the kingdom would come to the whole world (John 3:16), not just the Jews, and that Nicodemus wouldn’t be a part of it unless he was personally born again (John 3:5).

This was a revolutionary concept: the kingdom is personal, not national or ethnic, and its entrance requirements are repentance and spiritual rebirth. Jesus later taught that God’s Kingdom has already begun in the hearts of believers (Luke 17:21). It will be fully realized when Jesus returns again to judge the world and abolish evil forever (Rev. 21:22)

Of water and the Spirit” could refer to: 1) The contrast between physical birth (water) and spiritual birth (Spirit), or 2) being regenerated by the Spirit and signifying that rebirth by Christian baptism. The water may also represent the cleansing action of God’s Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Nicodemus undoubtedly would have been familiar with God’s promise in Ezekiel 36:25, 26. Jesus was explaining the importance of a spiritual rebirth, saying that people don’t enter the kingdom by living a better life, but by being spiritually reborn. Nicodemus clearly understood Jesus to be speaking of a second birth—being born again. Jesus explains this new or heavenly birth in John 3:6–8, contrasting being born of the flesh with being born of the Spirit.

Word Focus - born again: (Gk. Gennao - ano - then) (3:3, 7) G1080; G509: The Greek word translated again can mean either “from above” or “anew.” The new birth, or regeneration (see Titus 3:5), is the act by which God imparts spiritual life to one who trusts Christ. Without this spiritual birth, a person cannot perceive spiritual things (see 1 Cor. 2:10, 13–16), nor can he or she enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5).

Who is the Holy Spirit? God is three persons in one – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God became a man in Jesus so that Jesus could die for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead to offer salvation to all people through spiritual renewal and rebirth. When Jesus ascended into heaven, his physical presence left the earth, but He promised to send the Holy Spirit so that His spiritual presence would still be among mankind (see Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit first became available to all believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Whereas in Old Testament days the Holy Spirit empowered specific individuals for specific purposes, now all believers have the power of the Holy Spirit available to them.

Jesus used the wind as an illustration of the work of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word translated Spirit also means “wind.” As the wind seemingly blows where it wills, so the Holy Spirit sovereignly works. Likewise, no one knows the origin or destination of the wind, but everyone knows it is there. The same is true of the Holy Spirit. Jesus explained that we cannot control the work of the Holy Spirit. He works in ways we cannot predict or understand. Just as you cannot control your physical birth, so you cannot control your spiritual birth. It is a gift from God through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 1 Thes. 1:5, 6).

Father God, it is my prayer this morning that those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord that they do so today. Lord, I pray that You continue to give me the courage and wisdom to reach out to the lost world whether it is in my own neighborhood or on this blog. Lord You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Lord I humbly thank you for my Salvation that You have given too me. I pray this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Olá Lloyd, obrigado por suas palavras, meu irmão amado, realmente hoje os homens não percebem que devem nascer de novo.
Um texto muito importante.
Sua vida e seu blog tem sido uma benção para muitos aqui no Brasil.
Um grande abraço, e Deus te abençoe.
Sidney
(papodedesenhista.blogspot.com)

Lou said...

Another good post, Lloyd. Always enjoy reading your blog!

Lou

Denise said...

Great post.

Zimbabwe said...

Beatiful post. Only Jesus can give us Salvation, there is no any other gods.
Some years ago I was listening my Ethic teacher (who was also well educated in Religion Studies). He told, that Christianity is unique. Why? Because of grace. In all other religions people must do something to be saved or to have nirvana or go to heaven.
Only Jesus is the way.
God bless You.

dfish said...

Thanks Lloyd. The action of the Holy Spirit is so often misunderstood today, both in salvation and in the believers life.

MTJ said...

Hi Lloyd,

This is a good examination of the discussion between Nicodemus and Jesus. Just as Nicodemus was confused about being born again, many today are confused as well. This post provides clarity.

BTW: Thanks for sharing your wisdom on my blog post.

Blessings and peace.

MTJ

RCUBEs said...

And keeping you in prayers bro. Lloyd for the Lord to protect you and continue to guide you with His divine wisdom and discernment. Praying that many will come here with open hearts and minds and be able to understand the Lord's offer of salvation. Glory be to God! have a great day and God bless.

Ward Prefect said...

This is good stuff my friend. Glad that you requested me to be a follower. I appreciate the focused writings because it helps me toward my ultimate goal.

Word in the Hand said...

We know the Father through the action of the Holy Spirit who is given to us by Jesus. The Trinity is a dance of the Divine - a dance that we are all invited to.
Thanks for the invitation to your blog
wordinthehand+

GOD thinker said...

Lloyd,

I was just thinking about this. Being born of the water and Spirit is exactly how you explained. We are born of the flesh and need to be born again of the Spirit. Excellent post!!!

Mark Frank said...

Hi...Your blog is better than mine.This is great. I enjoyed it.God bless you and may you increase in wisdom and strength...Amen.

Jane said...

Many thanks for your recent kind comments on my blog. I have signed up to follow yours and look forward to visiting often!

Jane

Toyin O. said...

Great post Lloyd. Thanks Jesus for the gift of salvation.

Kevin Waring said...

There are many things online, but there is no substitute for the Living Word in cyberspace. Thank you for enlightening us all once more!

I'm Sheila Atchley. said...

Hi Lloyd!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. You seem to have a real evangelist's heart - sorry to hear about your loss (read it on your profile), praying that God's grace is forever sufficient for you and your wife.

God bless, grace and peace...

Sheila Deeth said...

What a lovely post. Great references. Great explanation. Thank you.

Michele Williams said...

Great post. Your site is very informative and a blessings.

SkinnyD said...

Wow, God is really speaking to me today. This is the second blog that I've come across that connects to a recent study I did on rebirth. I noticed on your profile that you are a retired police officer. I have a lot of respect for the profession. It is definitely on my list of things I would do if God hadn't called me in a different direction. Thanks for stopping by.

One Heart said...

Great post as usual. "He works in ways we cannot predict or understand. Just as you cannot control your physical birth, so you cannot control your spiritual birth. It is a gift from God through the Holy Spirit," This reminder is a blessing tonight for areas I am praying about. Sometimes right in the middle of a teaching there are such nuggets of gold.

Thank you my friend. Btw, I had no clue you were a retired police officer until you mentioned it over at my blog the other day. Thank you for your service.

Blessings!

Chris Sanchez said...

Great post! Many shy away from talking about the new birth experience. Bravo on this well-written post.

Lloyd said...

Sidney - Thanks for the visit and kind comments from Brazil. It is unfortunately true that there are some folks out there that believe they can be "Christians" without being "born-again". Blessings too you my friend.


Lou, Denise, Toyin, Jane, Mark, Kevin, Sheila, and Michele - I want to personally thank each of you for your visits and encouraging comments. God bless.


Zimbabwe - Thank you so much for your visit. Your ethic teacher was right...Christianity is very unique and some people feel that Christians are very "narrow-minded" because we believe that there is only one way to heaven, and that is through Christ Jesus. There are however, a few Christian denominations that will burden down their congregations by teaching them that they must also do something (works) else in order to be saved. Blessings too you my friend.


dfish - Thanks for the visit and comment. I often wonder why the action of the Holy Spirit is so misunderstood by folks who have given their life's over to Jesus? It just causes them to have more of a burden in life. Blessings.


MTJ - Thank you my friend for your visit and kind comments. I think that after Jesus was through talking with Nicodemus about the necessity of being "born again", not of the flesh but of the Spirit that Nicodemus began to understand Jesus' full deity. And yes, today many folks become confused when it comes to the scriptures dealing with the new spiritual birth.


I always enjoy visiting and reading the posts on your blog...However, I really can't take much credit for any human wisdom. I give all the glory to our Lord and God. Bless you my friend.


RCUBEs - Thank you for your prayers and kind comments. I pray daily for God's wisdom and discernment but sometimes feel so inadequate when it comes to reaching out to the lost souls of this world. May our Lord continue to bless you and your blog my friend.


Ward Prefect - Thank you for your visit and encouraging comments. As Christians we all must stay focused on Jesus until the day that He returns. Our ultimate goal is to go home to be with our Lord for eternity, but until then we must stay here on earth and do His will. Blessings.


Word in the Hand - I want to thank you for your visit and comments. I agree with you that we know the Father through the action of the Holy Spirit who was given to us by Jesus. But, you lost me with the "dance of the Divine" when referring to the Trinity. The only Trinity I put my faith in consists of One God but three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all being equal. Blessings too you.

Lloyd said...

GOD thinker - I always appreciate your visit and comments. This is what Jesus was trying to get across to Nicodemus.... "you must be born again.". Our first birth was of the "flesh" and our second birth is of the "Spirit". Bless you my sister.


Sheila Atchley - I want to thank you for your visit. My son died over six years ago, but sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. God has blessed my wife and me over the years with a loving church family that is very supportive and continues to bless us daily with opportunities to witness for Him. I really enjoyed visiting your blog. Blessings too you.


SkinnyD - Thank you for your visit. Always happy to see God working in another believers life. As I mentioned on your blog, it is sort of funny that I always wanted to be a lawyer, but ended up being a police officer. Now, after 30+ years of taking criminals off the streets and putting them in jail, I am witnessing to them and others, who will listen, about Christ. Blessings.


One Heart - It is always such a pleasure to see your smiling face. It always amazes me how God will direct us to diffent passages of His Word when He is working in our lives. Thanks for your appreciation of my service as a police officer. My prayers always goes out to all of those police officers and firemen, along with our young folks in the military service, that put their lives on the line so we can have the freedoms that we enjoy so much here in the USA. Blessing too you my friend.


Chris Sanchez - Thank you for your visit and encouraging comments. It always amazes me why "Christians" would shy away from talking about being "Born again". About a year ago, I was witnessing to an older gentleman and he informed me that he was a "Christian", but he was not one of those "born again" Christians. I could never convince him otherwise.... God bless.

Miawa said...

I'm so glad you found my blog and led me here to yours. It's always wonderful to find another Christian ready and led by God to speak out and share, always.

Michael Gormley said...

Dear Lloyd,

Regeneration in John 3

These different ways of talking about being "born again" describe effects of baptism, which Christ speaks of in John 3:5 as being "born of water and the Spirit."

In Greek, this phrase is, literally, "born of water and Spirit," indicating one birth of water-and-Spirit, rather than "born of water and of the Spirit," as though it meant two different births—one birth of water and one birth of the Spirit.

In the water-and-Spirit rebirth that takes place at baptism, the repentant sinner is transformed from a state of sin to the state of grace.

Peter mentioned this transformation from sin to grace when he exhorted people to "be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

Lloyd said...

Michael - I want to thank you for your visit and comments regarding this post. I have visited your blog and see that you have a very strong conviction against any believer in our Lord who is not a member of the RCC.

As you know by now, I am not a member of the RCC because I believe that several of their doctrines are not biblical. But I must tell you that I still consider you a brother in Christ even though you probably believe that I am only a “pagan” non-believer.

The teaching of "baptismal regeneration" is one of those doctrines within the RCC that I feel is a false doctrine. I respect your opinion and believe that you sincerely have a love and passion for our Lord. This is why I am asking you to read the study I have on “baptism and Acts 2:38” located in the sidebar of my blog. I would really like to hear your comments regarding the scriptures quoted from the Word of God. Thanks again for your visit. God bless, Lloyd

Anonymous said...

“Have you been born again?” the Fundamentalist at the door asks the unsuspecting Catholic.

Yes, they believe in Jesus. And yes, they try to live Christian lives. They probably have some vague awareness that Fundamentalists think being “born again” involves a religious experience or “accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savoir.”

The Catholic Church has always held, being “born of water and the Spirit” refers to baptism, and then it follows that being “born again” or “born from above” means being baptized.

Clearly, the context implies that born of “water and the Spirit” refers to baptism. The Evangelist tells us that immediately after talking with Nicodemus, Jesus took his disciples into the wilderness where they baptized people (John 3:22).