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Friday, January 4, 2013

Born Again or Burn with Fire?

We read in, John 3:1-15  NIV

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher Who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.


Greek Text

ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν, οὐ δύναται ἰδεῖν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

Literal Translation

Truly, truly, I say to you, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God.”


4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at My saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the One Who came from heaven - the Son of Man.14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.


Truly, truly – It is an expression of strong affirmation, denoting the certainty and the importance of what He was about to say. Jesus proceeds to state one of the fundamental and indispensable doctrines of His Truth.

It may seem remarkable that He should introduce this subject in this manner; but it should be remembered that Nicodemus acknowledged that He was a teacher come from God; that he implied by that his readiness and desire to receive instruction from Jesus; and that it is not wonderful, therefore, that Jesus should commence with one of the fundamental truths of His teachings.

It is no part of Christianity to conceal anything. Jesus declared to every man, high or low, rich or poor, the most humbling truths of the Gospel. Nothing was kept back for fear of offending men of wealth or power as well as the most poor and lowly, it was declared to be indispensable to experience, as the first thing in Christian religion,- “being Born Again” from above by the Spirit of God.

Be born again - The word translated here “again” means also “from above.”

It is evident that Nicodemus understood it not as referring to a birth “from above,” for if he had understood he would not have asked the question; “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

This change, or the beginning of this new life, is called the “new birth,” or “regeneration.” It is so called because in many respects it has a striking analogy to the natural birth. It is the beginning of spiritual life. It introduces us to the light of the Gospel.

It is the moment when we really begin to live as a child of the Father of spirits. It is the moment when God reveals Himself to us as our reconciled Heavenly Father, and we are adopted into His family as His sons. And as every man is a sinner, it is necessary that each one should experience this change, or he cannot see the Kingdom (Reign, Dominion) of God.


Lord Jesus,

We thank You for making us the “born from above” children of God by Your Holy Spirit.

Thus we call You “Everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6; “And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

 

Amen.

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