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.
Bewildered, Nicodemus, a pharisee and a ruler of the Jews, asks Jesus whether that meant entering a mother’s womb to be born again, quite literally.
God’s Kingdom, three things: the criterion, the cause, and the character.
Firstly, the criterion to enter the kingdom: new birth
John 3 verse 7: You must be born again.
There aren’t many criteria to enter the kingdom, there is only one criterion. Religious activity does not get you into the Kingdom, read Amos 5: 20 onwards. Baptism does not, Read Acts 8, and offerings do not, Isaiah 66:3. The only things that gets one into the Kingdom is new birth, the new birth is the only criterion: one must be born again.
Secondly, the cause of the new birth: Water (Word) & Spirit.
John 3 verse 6: Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Titus 3: 4 & 5 – But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Verse 4 says the new birth is not achieved by works of righteousness, but by,
- By the washing of regeneration (rebirth): which means, it is by the washing of something that rebirth, regeneration , is effected. Biblically, the only thing that can wash the filth of the human soul, just like water washes the filth of the human body, is the Word of God, Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. The birth of the physical man (flesh) is from the seed of man, the birth of the spiritual man is from the seed of God, God’s Word, John 3:6 – That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 1 Peter 1: 23 -Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. In the same way the seed of a man goes on to create the physical, God’s seed, the Word, goes on to create the Spiritual. The Spiritual man is shaped after the thoughts, of God. The Bible says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. When a man reads the Word of God (the divine seed, immortal in nature), he for the very first time in his life gets a glimpse of who God is, he gets a glimpse into the ways and truths of God, and if he would allow God to help him see the filth that he is in, the Word of God penetrates the deepest part of his being, his spirit, and he is instantly shaped by the thoughts of God, He is born again, born of God.
- Renewing of the Holy Ghost: which means: it by the operative force of Somebody renewing (making new) is effected. Biblically, it is the Third Person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit, which makes all things new by guiding us into the truth of God, John 16:13: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth”. Let me give you two examples of truths in the Bible: 1. Without God all men, because of the effect of sin , are dead though they may look alive, Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” 2. Peace as the world understands it, is not what it actually is. Peace for many is a state of mind, an experience in tranquility, and the lack of peace is that sinking feeling that makes one feel lonely, sad, desperate, suicidal, insignificant and so on. However, contrary to popular opinion, the Biblical word for peace: shalom means “wholesomeness”, therefore to have peace is to be complete. Peace is not found in things or people, for you can have all sorts of things and people and still be utterly incomplete. Peace is God who lived in our midst in the form of a person, 2000 years back, and He is the only one who can make us complete; His name is: Jesus.
This working together of the Word and the Spirit is the cause of the new birth.
Additionally, one is not to isolate Water (Word) and the Spirit, intellectually, for they work as a whole in regenerating and renewing a person. They are mutually inclusive, meaning, they cannot occur independent of each other in their effects on the human being, for they work in tandem, and yet they are mutually exclusive, meaning they can be independent of each other, ontologically (existentially). The Word, the divine logos (thought), the Second Person of the trinity and The Spirit, the third person of the trinity come together to work salvation in man, and they must not be separated. Ephesians 6:17 says: the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, meaning, if you take away the Word from the Spirit, the Spirit is devoid of its weapon: the Word.
Conversely, the gospel, the word, without the Spirit is powerless;1 The 1:5 – For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost.
Thirdly, the Character of the new birth: newness
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Old things are passed away! Do you still have the old in you?
Wednesday, 16th May, 2018