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The Second Birth

Two births, each believer in Christ has two. Most remember the date of the first, some not so of the second. Though that does not minimize the remembrance of it. One was a physical birth which we have not accomplished on our own, and the second we can claim no merit for either. The first birth is physical, the second birth is spiritual. In the Gospel according to John, a gentleman by the name of Nicodemus will be introduced by Jesus to the second birth. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, as is mentioned in John 3:1. He comes by night to visit Jesus, but does not come with a question, only an observation that is plenty well seen and understood from Jesus's life. And Jesus, always speaking the truth as He is full of grace and truth, states in verse 3,”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Here is another of Jesus's unless statements, always with an accomplishment to fulfill, or a consequence to pay. Nicodemus may know a lot of things from his Pharisaical background, but Jesus will tell him the one thing that is most needful to know. No man can please God by His own achievements or intellect, thus these most important words come off the lips of the Savior. And I, Jesus, states this, not just any layperson.

The Greek word for again here is anothen, palin is the other Greek word for the same. Palin suggests the repetition of an act, the same thing over again. But anothen, means the same but more. It also means from above. This suggests that the new birth is super natural. It's origin is in God. It also involves the fact that the repetition of the act has the same source as the first. God was the source first, He must be the source again. In verse 4, Nicodemus comes back with two questions. He does not think very deeply it appears as he ponders what being born again would look like. Being a teacher, and probably very well versed in the Old Testament, it is probably not the most intelligent question he has ever asked. He knows pretty well that this cannot be done physically. And to these two questions, Jesus answers in a quiet patient, understanding way in verse 5. Jesus again states that this is the truth I will speak to you Nicodemus.”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Here the kingdom of God is mentioned again, and this time we can link up the phrase being born again with the phrase born of water and the Spirit. Jesus expounds more upon the new birth. First He spoke of the source, now He'll speak of the means.(How)

Three things witness of salvation in 1John 5:8, the Spirit is God's witness in us, the blood is the historical witness of Christ's death, and the water is witness as the scriptures. James 1:18 states, “In the exercise of His will, He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” 1Peter 1:23,”You have been born again not of seed which is perishable, but imperishable that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” God plants within the heart the ovum of saving faith, God sends forth the seed of His word that has divine life in it. The seed of the word pierces the ovum of faith, resulting in conception. 2Cor.5:17 states we are a new creature. New birth is not the improvement of the old nature, but the creation of a new one. Jesus says, “Flesh produces flesh, and the Spirit is Spirit. Likes always produce likes. Romans 8:5-11 gives us a picture of what this new life is like. We need a new nature, one that seeks to please God, one that makes us fit for the kingdom of God. The Spirit has a big part to play, He is listed in verses 5,6,and 8. In verse 8, we see a similarity between the wind and the Spirit as Jesus explains it. The Greek for wind or breadth is pneuma. The wind is a perfect symbol for Gods breadth. 2Tim.3:16, the Greek for God-breathed there is theo-pneustros.

A person can only be born again by God breathing new life into him. In verse 9, Nicodemus asks one more question. “How can these things be?” Jesus responds with a look of being puzzled, as He asks “are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?” It would appear that Jesus anticipated that Nicodemus who knows the Old Testament could put something together to understand that which Christ is talking about. We can look at one instance here, though more may be available. In Ezek.36:25-27, The Lord, Yahweh, states, ”Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean, I will cleanse you from all filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My commandments”. I believe that is what Jesus was trying to get Nicodemus to remember. The human race must be born again to see and enter the kingdom of God. Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as the source and how it can be done. Commentator Alexander MacLaren states, “Trust Christ, and ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus shall make you free from the law of sin and death.
Elder Randy Slak