060314, John 3:1-10, The New Birth

John 3:1-10

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The New Birth

My Note: When Adam and Eve fell, the effect was that Adam and Eve would die. The body, soul, and spirit of Adam and Eve, and everybody who would follow them through birth, would also die (Genesis 2:15-17). The flawed sperm and egg of Adam and Eve created children who also had a flawed sperm and egg, and so on and so forth. Immediately upon conception, resulting in an embryo, which has life, the newly conceived life begins to die (body, soul, spirit, 1 Thessalonians 5:23). The fall and death of Adam and Eve resulted in the death of every other conceived being (Romans 5:12). It is important to know that death, of any kind, did not occur until Adam and Eve sinned. The reason for the New Birth, or the birth from above, is to provide a spirit for mankind that is free of the flaw from the fall of Adam and Eve. Notice in verse 3 that Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again if he wants to spend eternity with God. Nicodemus approached Jesus, “in all of his Jewishness.” Jesus, in essence, told Nicodemus that his keeping of the Ten Commandments, or his keeping of the feasts, would provide him with no entry into heaven. Jesus was talking to Jews, just as the apostles spoke to Jews and Gentiles, saying that we would need a spirit that is as pure as His Spirit, in order for us to enter into Heaven. Just as the Spirit of God will indwell those of us who have been born again, our spirit will also indwell the Spirit of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (See John 14:1-21 for that indwelling). 1 John 1:5 states that there is no darkness in God. So, in order for us to indwell God, our spirits must be cleansed of all darkness, which is a result of the New Birth.

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;

Reformation Study Bible

3:1–21 This is the first of many teaching discourses recorded by John. Typically on being asked a question, Jesus answers in a way that steers the discussion into a deeper realm, often through misunderstandings that are corrected for those becoming true disciples. The new understanding reveals Jesus more fully.

2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these [a]signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Reformation Study Bible

3:2 by night. This might betray a fear of being seen, or it might be a sign of deference to Jesus, a rabbi who should not be distracted during the day. Understood symbolically, Nicodemus is a person living in the darkness of this world, who now encounters the light (8:12; cf. 9:4; 11:10; 13:30).

a teacher . . . from God. Nicodemus understands that God attests His messengers through giving them power to perform miracles, but this understanding falls far short of Jesus’ true identity.

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born [b]again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Reformation Study Bible

3:3 born again. See text note. The translation “born from above” accords well with the discussion of “earthly” and “heavenly” things in v. 12, and the discussion of ascending and descending in v. 13. This is the meaning of the Greek adverb in other places in this Gospel (19:11, 23). Nicodemus apparently understood it to mean “a second time.” It is possible that both meanings are intended—a new birth that is a birth from above. See theological note “Regeneration: The New Birth” on the next page.

4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Reformation Study Bible

3:5 born of water and the Spirit. Some suggest that the “water” is the release of fluid that accompanies physical birth, but linguistic considerations point to understanding “water” and “Spirit” as referring to a single spiritual birth. Many interpreters understand “water” here as the water of baptism, but such a reference, before Christian baptism was instituted, would have been meaningless to Nicodemus. Others find a reference to John’s baptism, but Jesus nowhere makes John’s baptism a requirement for salvation. Probably the statement refers to Old Testament passages in which the terms “water” and “Spirit” are linked to express the pouring out of God’s Spirit in the end times (Is. 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. 36:25–27). The presence of such rich Old Testament imagery accounts for Jesus’ reproof of Nicodemus (v. 10): as a “teacher of Israel,” he should have understood.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born [c]again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Reformation Study Bible

3:6–8 This passage emphasizes the priority and sovereignty of God in the work of salvation. It does not exclude the reality of human response in repentance and faith.

My Note: Jesus relates the Holy Spirit to the wind. Consider the wind. It can not be seen, proof of its presence can easily be seen (trees blowing and knocked down, etc.) The wind can go left, right, forward, and backward. The wind can go fast, slow, turn in circles, and can stand still. The same is with the Holy Spirit, which can not be seen, but proof its presence can easily be seen, such as changed lives. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” The old and the new relate to the Spirit of mankind. The Holy Spirit can move to the left, to the right, forward, and backward, and can go fast, slow, turn in circles, and can stand still. The important thing to remember is that God controls the wind and The Holy Spirit. We have no control over either. We can’t go down to the local “Born Again Store” and buy a gallon of it. Please know that the soul and body are not the subject of this topic of discussion. At the embryo stage, a spirit has been conceived and is in need of a Savior. Consider “grace;” Ephesians 2:8, for questions that relate to the deaths of pre born children.

9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?

My Note: Nicodemus should have known the truth of the new birth, as is taught in Ezekiel 36:25-26, and shows a spiritual regeneration of the spirits of Jews.
Footnotes:

John 3:2 Or attesting miracles
John 3:3 Or from above
John 3:7 Or from above

Scofield’s Reference Notes

John 3, Born Again

Regeneration:

(1) The necessity of the new birth grows out of the incapacity of the natural man to “see” or “enter into” the kingdom of God. However gifted, moral, or refined, the natural man is absolutely blind to spiritual truth, and impotent to enter the kingdom; for he can neither obey, understand, nor please God John 3:3; John 3:5; John 3:6; Psalms 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7; Romans 8:8;Ephesians 2:3 (See Scofield “Matthew 6:33”).

(2) The new birth is not a reformation of the old nature (See Scofield “Romans 6:6”) but a creative act of the holy Spirit John 3:5; John 1:12;John 1:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:24.

(3) The condition of the new birth is faith in Christ crucified John 3:14;John 3:15; John 1:12; John 1:13; Galatians 3:24

(4) Through the new birth the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature and of the life of Christ Himself Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:10;Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:10-12

Verse 10

A Master

Lit. Art thou the teacher of Israel, etc.

Consider the proactive nature of God, as it relates to our salvation. Consider this question. Who is the seeker, and who is lost?

Luke 19:10, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus Saves

Prestonwood Baptist Church

Southern Baptist Convention

Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Senior Pastor, Dr. Jack Graham

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