Daily Word

Born again?! | John 3:4-8 (NASB

4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a person be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”

John 3:4-8 (NASB)

Crazy for sure

When Nicodemus receives this reply he must be thinking, “Surely this guy is crazy like others have said.” He is thinking physically, earthly so this doesn’t make sense. Jesus is trying to help him see the spiritual, to open his spiritual eyes. 

Born of water and spirit

There are many different ideas of what born of water and spirit mean. Up until today, I was in the “water means physical birth” camp (ii. in the link). Water ties to “flesh” in v 6 and spirit to spirit. Seems logical. But after studying, I’m of the opinion that water and spirit go together. Here’s my layman’s interpretation:

“Listen closely Nicodemus. I’m not talking about physical birth. You need to be born again spiritually, of water and the spirit. What is born physically is only physical and can’t be born again and cannot enter the kingdom of God. Only those who are born again, who have a new, spiritual, birth, who are born from above, born from God, can enter the kingdom of God.”

See vs. Enter

In verse 3 Jesus says “see” the kingdom of God and in verse 6 he says, “enter” the kingdom. Most commentators say they mean the same. Okay, but why did He use different words? There must at least be some nuance. I think Jesus used “enter” in verse 6 since it ties to the context. We enter the world physically – born of the flesh. We enter the kingdom of God spiritually – born of the Spirit.

I like how NLT translates verse 8: “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Jesus’ point

Anyone who wants to enter Heaven must be born again, born of the Spirit. You can’t get in based on earthly qualifications or works. No one can do it by themselves. It must come from Heaven.

<- Reflection ->
  • Have you been born again, born from above? Are you a new creation? Has the old passed away and the new come? You can’t do it on your own. It’s by grace through faith alone. Is God calling you to be born again?
  • If you are born again, remind yourself of this free gift, this spiritual work that God did and give thanks.
Baby birth. Image from Pxfuel.com

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