John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The idea of being ‘born again’, is a concept completely foreign to most people, the very thought of it has been a point of confusion since Jesus introduced this idea 2000 years ago. Nicodemus who was a teacher and leader in the Jewish community was confused by the concept of being born again, so he asked Jesus to clarify.
John 3:5-8 “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.”
How does a teacher of the Word not understand a core concept?
When a person approaches God from an intellectual point of view they place themselves at a point of frustration and misunderstanding.
“How can a man be born when he is old? Only when he is willing to die to everything in his life, including his rights, his virtues, and his religion, and becomes willing to receive into himself a new life that he has never before experienced. This new life [exhibits itself] in our conscious repentance and through our unconscious holiness.“O. Chambers
Our perceptions about the teachings of Christ will vary based off our position of understanding. The way we see others, the ways we have experienced the Kingdom of God, or what others have taught us regarding God’s nature have often influenced us.
Psalm 63:1 “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
If we are to have a right understanding of God’s Truth, we must draw from the source of truth.
How did you come to your understanding of Truth?
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.“
Knowledge of God can only be found when you experience the new birth.
New birth can only happen in correlation with Jesus Himself. To be “in Christ”, Christ must first be in you.
We not only commit our way to God’s way by walking in His precepts and according to His commandments, but to dwell in the fellowship of His Spirit requires His Spirit to first dwell in us.
As a child becomes a new creation upon inception, we become a “new creation” when we are born again. The decision to follow Christ comes by way of God’s calling. When someone hears the call, the decision to follow or reject the call must be made.
Born of Water
John 4:10 “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
The water and the Spirit are often used in conjunction in regards to salvation. Water has been used many times in God’s Word, from its use in cleansing at the temple to its symbolic nature of purity. It separated the people of Israel from deliverance into the promised land and it became the mode of deliverance in Egypt. David also spoke of the many “bad” waters that are representative of the world.
Psalm 18:16 “He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.”
Water is a key component of baptism. Although baptism is not necessary for salvation, it is an important first step in making a decision to follow Christ. We know in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is by grace we are saved, not of works so baptism has another purpose than salvation….Obedience!
John the Baptist said it clearly in Matthew 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It is often completed soon after a person commits their life to Christ. It is an act of obedience that signifies the transforming power of the Spirit that inhabits a pure temple, washed, purified, and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.
Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Water represents a key element in what it means to walk in righteousness but it can also be symbolic of judgement. The parallel of water being either one of salvation or one of judgement is representative of a much deeper spiritual truth…. God’s Holiness.
Waters of Judgement
When God lead Moses and the people of Israel in the desert, He lead them to the waters of Meribah. There the people cried out to God for water so God instructed Moses in a very specific way.
Numbers 20:8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”
The command was for Moses to speak to the rock that it might yield water for the people. Moses disobeyed God and instead of speaking to the rock, he struck the rock twice with his staff. Water still poured forth from the rock but the Lord was not pleased with Moses.
Numbers 20:12 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”
In Exodus, God had told Moses to strike the rock and water came forth for the people. This time God only wanted him to speak to the rock and yet Moses did his own thing. The first test was symbolic of Christ who would become our rock, struck down and crucified that we might receive the water of life. The second test given to Moses was no longer at Horeb, the mountain of the Lord, but in Kadesh which was enemy territory, just before entering the promised land.
The Lord wanted to demonstrate to the people that He was different from the gods of the world. The world has to work to fulfill their thirst and then it only satisfies temporarily. God was willing to meet His people’s needs only by them calling out to Him and yet Moses mistakenly missed the point of the lesson and disobeyed. Moses had never been the ultimate authority over the people, God had always been the true source of authority and He was going to rule over that nation when they entered the promised land.
Isaiah 49:8 “Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages”
We can call out to God today and He hears us.
Believing in God
Belief is more than just acknowledgment, belief reflects a heart change. To believe in someone or something is to see your belief exhibited in your walk. If I were to ask you, “what do you believe in?” I would see what you truly believed in by watching your life, it eventually comes out. If you said you believed that life was sacred, I would see your attitude towards the unborn as being valuable and precious to you.
Beliefs are the values that are hidden in the heart——Being born of the Spirit is the result of a true heart change.
The change that occurs in the one born again is moving from a worldly belief system which is characterized by pride and elevating oneself to a godly belief system that elevates Jesus.
Your priority shifts from the values of this world to the values that Jesus deemed as a priority. The values that line up with God’s character are the ones that align with the moral law and Jesus focused on the moral law often.
Mark 12:29-31 “Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
This summary that Jesus gave regarding the Moral law, a.k.a. The 10 commandments was the absolute standard of God’s righteousness. When we come to Christ in repentance, we repent of sins that are violations of these commandments.
Jesus associated obedience to God’s commands with love for God.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Obediently keeping the moral law is a reflection of true agape love. We only begin to truly love God when we are filled with the Spirit. The Spirit doesn’t lead us into sin but unto righteousness.
The most defining quality of a born again believer is the evidence of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
To be born again is to experience True Life.
The question the world loves to ask is, “what is the meaning of life?”
The answer is: JESUS. The reason why the world will never find peace is because they look at creation as if the creation is an answer unto itself. The world refuses to look to the Creator. If people strive to intellectually know truth, they will only walk in darkness. The source of all life and light is waiting for them with arms open wide, extending His love to a world gone astray.
1 John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
The good news for a people born again is the seal of His Holy Spirit which cannot be broken, they are His….Forever!
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
New life awaits you. If you have trusted in Jesus for salvation…you can now experience the joy of walking in this new life. Don’t ever look back, don’t let the enemy steal your joy or convince you that you are not good enough. Jesus makes you good because He is good.
You only need to be born again once…that is enough. Your sins have been forgotten, your life is on a different course…now learn to trust.