Saturday, January 2, 2016

JEWELS From The GOSPEL of JOHN: UNORTHODOX TRUTH JOHN 3:3-7

The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

JOHN 3:3-7
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.
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?
5 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.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

We have all seen a wide and varied number of bumper stickers in the course of our lives. I recall one that said, "Born Again Witch" and another that said, "I Was Born Right The First Time". And in order to get the Conservative Christian vote, too, too many candidates for government office have claimed to be 'born again'.

We see commercial products with the phrase 'born again' in them. In films and novels this term has been thrown around ad naseum, practically to the point where it's become meaningless. These days this term, 'born again' has become a cliché.

Yet when we read today's text and understand it's meaning, we come to the conclusion that this is a singular and defined phrase that speaks of "new creation" (2 COR 5:17; GAL 6:15) and regeneration (TITUS 3:5).

This was something quite bizarre and outlandish to the minds of the (then) modern day Pharisees and religious leaders. Nicodemus poses the ridiculous and rhetorical questions, "Can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time in his mother's womb?" (vs. 4).

The LORD clarifies the issue by making the distinction between physical birth and spiritual (vs. 6). Just as we all inherited our surnames simply by being born into them, and thus newly established members of the family in our own nursery - we also inherited a sinful nature because we were all born into the family of Adam (he who was created innocent with a complete absence of sin, but succumbed to Satan and fell into depravity), we are all born sinners (PSALM 58:3; ROM 5:12-21; 3:23).

This is why being born again is so very essentially crucial - we must be born into the family of God, Who is Spirit (JOHN 4:24; ROM 8:9) and by being so born by the Spirit we receive a new and godly nature after the manner of Christ Jesus our LORD (2 PETER 1:4). The LORD Jesus emphatically stated that no one (read that as "NO ONE") can enter into, or even see the kingdom of God unless they are born again (vs. 3, 5)

Once the LORD returns and establishes His Kingdom, the only people welcome will be His own family, those born of the Spirit of Christ (EPH 3:14-16). Yet what one must realize is that no one is exclusive to the family of God in their own right. ALL OF US MUST COME TO THE LORD GOD THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST; AND ALL ARE WELCOME TO THE FAMILY BY RECEIVING CHRIST for the forgiveness of sins and indwelling of the Spirit of God!

This is accomplished by believing the GOSPEL of our SALVATION through the LORD Jesus Christ. NOTE: There is no plan 'B' or contingency plan. In a sense, God has placed all of His 'eggs in one basket', that 'basket' being Jesus Christ Himself, the LAMB of GOD that takes away the sin of the world (JOHN 1:29), and the Author of Salvation (HEB 5:9).

I used to wonder why the LORD would rebuke Nicodemus for not understanding the need for being born again (JOHN 3:9-10), since this is a very New Testament kind of thing, something revealed by the LORD for the church, but then I realized when I read EZEKIEL 36:22-33 (note especially vs. 26-27) that this was a prophecy concerning the nation of Israel; that they would be born again upon their receiving by faith, the Messiah their King.  Nicodemus should have known this portion of Scripture. 

Yet because they rejected their King, Jesus Christ established the church comprised of both Jews (those that would believe) and Gentile believers who are born again by His Spirit (IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to understand that the church does NOT replace Israel in any way; simply that because of Israel's temporary rejection of the Messiah, this opened the opportunity for us Gentiles to receive salvation (ROM 11:7-15); Israel SHALL receive the Messiah at His Second Coming! 

No matter how 'orthodox' one might be according to one's own religious persuasion (as was Nicodemus no doubt) this does not and cannot change one's sinful nature: they are still a member of the fallen race of Adam. What needs to happen is a rebirth and an affiliation in a new family, according to the "Second Adam" (1 COR 15:45-51), that is, Christ and become members of a new race of mankind, spiritually indwelt by the Spirit of God (JOHN 14:17; ROM 8:11; 1 COR 3:16), children of the Highest by adoption (ROM 8:14-16), and citizens of the Kingdom of God (PHIL 3:20; note: in this verse "conversation" means "citizenship". Consult a Greek Lexicon for verification)! 

This is biblical truth that no orthodoxy can refute or deny. This is eternal truth and the place of grace, granted to all of you who believe!

For the next devotion we will look at JOHN 3:8-12, entitled "The Heavenly and the Earthly". Until then, may the LORD Jesus Christ bless and keep us by His grace!


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