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Ye must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God

Ye must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God


(Nicodemus met with Jesus at night)


By Ron Bedell


 


Location of Christ in John chapter 3: Christ was in Jerusalem talking to Nicodemus.


 


Sadly, abortions deny many people their first birth, the physical birth! In John 3:1-7, Jesus explained spiritual birth to Nicodemus, so, naturally Nicodemus had questions. “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?”


 


John 3:1-7


 


There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:


The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.


Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.


Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?


Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.


Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.


 


John 3:1, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:”


 


Who was Nicodemus?


 


Nicodemus represented the best of the nation of Israel during the time of Christ. He was a teacher (v. 10), a Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. The Sanhedrin had 70 members who were responsible for religious decisions and also, under the Romans, for civil rule. Two Sanhedrin members who appeared in a favorable light in the New Testament are Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38) and the Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39; 22:3). The Sanhedrin put Jesus on trial (Luke 22:66). Nicodemus later rebuked the Pharisees for condemning Jesus without hearing Him (John 7:50-51), and he (Nicodemus) helped Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus (John 19:39-40).


 


John 3:2, “The same came to Jesus by night” – Nicodemus came at night probably because he did not want his interest in Jesus to be public knowledge. Jesus was not popular with the Jewish leaders.


 


“Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”


 


“Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God” – “we” probably means the favorable ones on the council. The title “Rabbi” and “Teacher” show respect for Jesus. Although Nicodemus did not understand who Jesus was yet, he knew that he was not on the same level as Jesus. But Nicodemus did want to talk to Jesus as one Rabbi to another.


 


John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


 


In His omniscience (all knowing), Jesus knows the question on Nicodemus’s mind and He answers it: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


 


The word cannot is a verbal link between Nicodemus’s and Jesus’ answer (no one can versus he cannot, vv 2, 3). Dunatai occurs six times in vv. 2-9 and is a clue to the theme of the whole passage. John, by his careful repetition of this word and the negatives and interrogative particle used with it, is focusing on man’s inability to bring about his own salvation/new birth (regeneration).


 


Since the Greek word translated again (anothen) means either again or from above (cf. 3:31; 19:11, 23), and the context supports both meanings, Jesus probably means that this birth is both a second birth and a birth from above.


 


Seeing the kingdom refers to entering and participating in it, not just looking at it. Jesus has not yet told Nicodemus what he must do so that God would regenerate him. Jesus first shows Nicodemus his need for the new birth.


 


While the expression the Kingdom of God is common in the synoptic gospels (first three gospels), it occurs only in John’s gospel here and in verse 5. This can be explained by the emphasis in John’s gospel on eternal life as the present possession of all who believe in Jesus. In these verses John reveals the future aspect of regeneration, the Kingdom of God which Jesus will inaugurate when He returns.


 


John 3:4, “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?”


 


Nicodemus, like the woman at the well (John 4:15) is confused, thinking about a second physical birth. But he does get something right. He understands that Jesus is talking about a second birth.


 


John 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”


 


There are three main views of “born of water and the Spirit.” (1) First, the baptismal regeneration view is contrary to John’s Gospel and the entire New Testament, since believing, not baptism, is the sole condition for eternal life. (2) Second, the symbol of regeneration view understands the expression born of water and the Spirit to refer to the like-giving work of the Holy Spirit parallel to “born of the Spirit” in verse 6. Water is an Old Testament figure for the life-giving work of the Spirit (Isaiah 44:3-5). While possible, there is a simpler understanding. (3) Third, the third view is that by born of water refers to physical birth (and to amniotic fluid) and that born of the Spirit refers to spiritual birth (regeneration). Two facts support the third view. First, verse 6 is parallel to verse 5 and serves to explain it and it speaks of both physical and spiritual birth. Second, Nicodemus was clearly thinking about physical birth (verse 4). While it is possible that Jesus would speak of spiritual birth only in verse 5 (the symbol of regeneration view) and then talk of both physical and spiritual birth in verse 6, it is more natural to take both verses as dealing with physical and spiritual birth.


 


John 3:7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee (you), Ye (you) must be born again.”


 


The imperative, “Do not marvel” is in response to Nicodemus’s question in verse 4. Though Nicodemus was surprised by what Jesus said in verse 3, he should not have been. That is, the Old Testament scriptures is as clear in presenting God’s plan of eternal salvation to the Jews and even Gentiles who lived during and before Christ time as the New Testament is clear in presenting God’s plan of eternal salvation to Jews and Gentiles today (Pentecost to the Rapture). Nicodemus actually had full knowledge of how to get to Heaven from his Hebrew Old Testament scriptures but his knowledge of how to get to Heaven was clouded by the heresy teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. The Jewish leaders during Christ’s time were teaching that Jewish people automatically qualify for entrance into Heaven because they are children of Abraham plus they had to do good works. Plus they were also teaching that the Gentiles must become Jews and do good works for eternal salvation. NEITHER CAN GET A JEW OR A GENTILE TO HEAVEN! A person must be born again into God’s family by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.


 


Plus in verse 7, Jesus told Nicodemus (the first “you” is singular - soi) of his personal need to be born again and (the second “you” is plural - hunas) of the universal need of the new birth and be born again – that is, everyone including Nicodemus.


 


My paraphrased edition of verse 7:


 


Nicodemus should not be surprised about what I (Jesus) am saying, Nicodemus and everyone (Jews and Gentiles) must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God.


 


 There are two distinct realms: one is of fallen man (the flesh) and the other is of God (the Spirit). A fallen person cannot regenerate himself; he needs a divine operator. Only the third Person of the Trinity (God the Holy Spirit) can regenerate a human spirit.


 


How can I be “born again” and enter the Kingdom of Heaven?


 


For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)


 


Christ Died……………………………….That’s History.


 


Christ Died For Me…………………..That’s Salvation!