John Chapter 3
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1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” - John 3:1-3


The name Nicodemus means "conqueror of the people", also in this verse it states he was a "ruler of the Jews" Jesus identifies him as a "teacher of Israel" in verse 10 which would make him an authority of the scriptures to the people of Israel since the scriptures was a heavyweight in their education.

Verse 2 points out that Nicodemus came by night. Was he trying to conceal the fact he was going to Jesus? After all he is the "teacher of Israel" and "a ruler of the Jews" and here he is coming to Jesus calling Jesus teacher, or "Rabbi" and testifying that He proceeded from God. Timid now, but later in John 7:51 Nicodemus defends Christ according to the Jews own rules of court of law. Again we hear of Nicodemus later in John 19:39, only here, he is openly participating in the burial of Jesus's body.

"...unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God". What does this verse mean? (Jesus explains in verse 5) You understand that because your spirit is alive in Christ (Col. 2:13) A natural man cannot accept this, it is foolishness to him. Without the Spirit of Christ he cannot understand them. (1 Cor. 14)This is a spiritually appraised item, and a man who has not been made alive by Christ, his spirit is stillborn, it is dead. This deadness of Spirit is a result of the consequences laid forth by God in Genesis. (Gen. 2:17, 1 Cor. 15:22) The irony of this verse is, unless one is born again he cannot understand this verse, as Nicodemus demonstrates in the next verse.


Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into 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 be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ - John 3:4-7


Here we see Nicodemus completely missing the point. I like the fact he asks something that any one of our natural minds are thinking. I like that he asked it because then I don't have to. I actually think of it as a bold thing, him asking. Because though he states the obvious, I believe is question is one of him truly seeking the truth. Perhaps that is why Jesus so freely elaborates in the next verse.

Jesus here points out two parts of man. The part "born of water", the flesh, and the part that needs to be made alive again, the spirit. While a man is born of the flesh first, this is his first birth, his spirit is stillborn, dead at his first birth. It has been this way since man's fall as the consequence laid out even before the fall. (Gen. 2:17). This is why a man needs to be "born again" the 2nd time is the birth of his spirit, where his spirit is made alive by being fused together with God's spirit. (Col. 2:13).

I would like to dive a bit deeper on these two parts of a man. First let's look at the creation of man. Gen. 2:7 says that man was formed of the "dust of the ground", but it wasn't until God breathed into man's nostrils did man become a "living being".

    It's interesting today that with all the technology and wisdom of man, and all the efforts to manipulate and clone the flesh, man keep stumbling. Stumbling in many parts, but the biggest is the ability to create life, that is, an actual living being. God formed our body from the dust of the ground, perhaps someday, man will learn similar techniques to how this is done, though I doubt it. Of course they wont without the tools supplied by God. After all, it is God who supplies the dust. But bringing that body to life is another story. Original man was brought to life by the breath of God, man will not be able to manipulate that up.

    God also created man in His image. (Gen. 1:26-27). What then is our likeness to God that we would mirror Him? Our flesh? No, our bodies are different than heavenly bodies, (1 Cor. 15:40). Our Spirit? I believe so. Gen 1:26 tells us that we were created according to God's likeness, in God's image. Gen 5:1 says we were made in the likeness of God. What is that likeness? John 4:24 says God is spirit. So on one part, we have our bodies, formed from the dust of the ground, and that body houses our other half, our spirit, created in the image of God, stillborn from first birth since the fall of man. Our bodies then, are hosts for our spirit. Adam was alive in both at creation. 1 Cor. 15:45 said that Adam became a "living" soul. His spirit died as God declared it would the moment he ate from the tree. When God said " the day that you eat from it you will surely die." we did.(Gen 2:17) The later half of 1 Cor. 15:45 it gives a model of Jesus as being a "life-giving spirit". Why is this important, well, since adam all are born with stillborn, dead spirits, this created our need for a "life-giving spirit": Jesus. This life giving Spirit is Jesus, and the life He gives is our second birth, or better known as being "born again". It is when Jesus fuses our dead spirits together with Him thus making us alive, all possibly by His finished work on the cross. What then of our bodies? They are still hosts, this time though for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! 1 Cor 6:19 speaks of our bodies becoming the "temple of the Holy Spirit".

    Make no mistake, though our spirits are made alive together in Christ, our bodies, our flesh is never regenerated. At the fall of man Adam's spirit died, and his flesh was headed that way. We were born stillborn, and our flesh is dying, even from birth. When we are born again, our spirits which is our being, our soul, is made alive together in Christ, but our flesh is still doomed to die, our flesh still has this the appointment to die as laid out in Heb. 9:27. Many new believers make the mistake of expecting their flesh to be regenerated. This causes all kinds of grief. Imagine how Paul would have felt in Romans 7 if he believed our flesh was regenerated. Like many Christians who make that mistake, he would of felt hopeless, abaondoned, by God, even that he had missed salvation. Paul knew that wasn't the case. As he writes in Romans 8:10, "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." It's is still true that a man will reap what he sows. (Gal 6:8). The damage done to the flesh in times past remains in the flesh, the damage done to the flesh after being born again does do damage. The difference is, as paul puts in in Romans 7 and 8, is we are separated from our flesh and no longer a slave to it in our true character. Sin/our flesh has lost its power over us.

    A time I look forward to? When the flesh is stripped from me. Yes from me, the true me, the me that is, the me made alive together in Christ. The flesh is not me, it is my flesh, or as Paul puts it "the body of this death" (Rom 7:24) I am a new creature created in Christ Jesus. I am born again. (2 Cor 5:17, John 3:3). The flesh doesn't matter, as Galation 6:15 says "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation." The flesh doesn't matter, the new creation does! In Galatians 2:20 paul talks about how it is Christ who lives in him, and the life he now lives in the flesh he lives by faith in the Son of God. But he clearly distinguishes the two in this verse.

    Knowing the flesh is never regenerated, we can count on it that it will fail, it will die someday. What happens then? What happens to our two parts when one dies, when the flesh half dies? In 2 Cor. 5:8 Paul says that he prefers the thought of being absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. In Phil 1:21 he says "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Death is no longer victor, death means freedom from the corruption within our flesh.

    So now with this understanding of our two parts, perhaps Romans 7 is clarified. If you find yourself fighting against yourself now rejoice! I say definitely rejoice! For before being born again your flesh was in unison with your stillborn spirit, both dead, unable to subject itself to the law of God. (Rom. 8:7) But now, your spirit has been renewed! The fight you now bear between your spirit and your flesh testifies to this! Though the fight itself can be quite frustrating, the witness it gives to your spirit alive together with Christ is exhilarating!

Flesh can give birth to flesh, but since the spirit is stillborn it cannot give life to the spirit of its youth. That is why that person who is made up of two parts must be, literally, actually, born again, this time of the Spirit.

"...said to you..." you here in greek is plural, applying to everyone. "...must..." there are no exceptions. Make no mistake, those not born again will not enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5).

There are many ways as listed in the bible to identify someone who is born of the Spirit. We can go into those another time.


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