I seen a lot of confusion lately over the below text:
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.
John 3:4 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?
John 3:5 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.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
I would like to, if I can, clear up some misunderstandings on this verse.
There are two main doctrines that are here in this verse are as follows:
1. ?Born again? vs. 3? linked to the popular phrase ?born again?
2. ?Water and of the Spirit? ? most commonly linked to water baptism
I would like to tackle the second one first vs. 5 ? water. This is the easiest. Note the context of verse 5 refers back to vs. 4. The Lord in verse 3 told Nicodemus that he had to be born again. Immediately Nicodemus thought he had to come out of the mother's womb again. Jesus answers and two things take place: ?Except a man be born of water (physical birth for you are in a sack of water inside the womb) and the Spirit you cannot enter in. Jesus said, ?You must have a physical birth (womb of water) and a spiritual birth. There is no mention of water baptism here. The reference ?of water? is associated with the physical birth that all men must have first. Look at verse 6 where Jesus talks of a fleshly birth (from the womb). There are two births being discussed: physical (?flesh is flesh?) and the spiritual birth.
The part regarding ?born again? is a little tougher to follow. I will tell you what I believe and you study it through and see if these things be so (Acts. 17:11).
Jesus was dealing with one of the leaders of Israel and not Jesus used the word ?ye? must be born again in vs.7 referencing the Jewish nation as a whole for Nicodemus was representing the leadership of the Jews at that time. Jesus didn't say ?you? must be born again but ?ye? (plural). Now, let me paraphrase and then I will move on. ?Marvel not?..unto thee (Nicodemus), Ye (Israel) must be born again.
Now lets look at this ?born again?. As we all know Israel blew it with God in the OT. God now calls them ?Loammi? for they are not God's people. Though Israel walked away from God we know that God will bring back his people. God gave them the chance in the gospels and they killed Jesus. Jesus on the cross asks the Father to forgive them (Israel) for they knew not what they did so the Father gives them another chance in the book of Acts. As we know they stoned Stephen so?..Israel rejected God the Father in the OT., God the Son in the gospels and then, finally God the Holy Ghost in Acts. Despite all that rejection God still made and covenant with Israel and will honor it and make unbelieving Israel believing Israel. How and when will God do this?
First, how? By doing a supernatural work in their hearts. When? at the end of tribulation and right before they enter into the kingdom. God will revive the valley of dry bones in Ezek. 37:4-14 by His Spirit. Now compare this passage with Isa. 66:8 (note ?born at once?) and Eze. 36:26,27. Now go to Heb. 8:8 and you will get a complete picture. Right before the 1,000 yr. Reign the Lord will raise up unbelieving Israel, put a new heart and Spirit in them and then take them into the land that was promised to them. Then they will become the nation of priests on earth resenting God to the nations of the earth.
So, yes, Nicodemus, you have to born physically first and then ?Ye? (Israel) will experience a spiritual birth. Now, note, their being ?born again? will be their same form of bodies just a rebuilding of a human body that will house God's Spirit. That is why the term ?born again? fits this. This operation of God will be just a new birth from their old bodies redone.
How does this relate to us for you hear the term ?born again? all the time? Now, let's have some fun and get a blessing. When God saved your sorry soul (mine too) He didn't just take your old body and put a new Spirit in it. It looks as though that is all He did but there is more. We need to see ourselves as God truly sees us. What happened to you is that you were made a new ?creature? ? II Cor. 5:17. Why did Paul use the term ?new creature?? Because when you were saved you were spiritually baptized into the body of Christ ? this was a new operation not done before this age of grace. You became bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh and raised you up and seated you in heavenly palaces at the right hand of God (Eph. 1,2). Therefore you are a new ?creature? in Christ and nobody before this age has this privilege. Israel gets some land and you get to be a part of Christ's body in the heavenly palaces for all eternity? Yeeehaaaw ? Gloreeeeee to God!
Can't you see you are not just ?born again? (sounds good and all and I don't panic when people use it.) You have been made a new creature in Christ Jesus. Won't you admit that somebody being literally put in the literal body of Christ is a ?new creature.? Yes, my dear saints, you have something better than just getting into the land. You have Christ in you, the hope of glory. You (the body of Christ) are part of a plan by God that was from ?BEFORE? the foundation of the world. In other words you were planned in eternity. Israel and the Gentiles was just ?from? the foundation of the world ? Matt. 25:24. Your standing in Christ was from ?before? the foundation of the world. The body of Christ is not limited to mansions - John 14 ? our abode is above the third heavens in eternity with Christ (Eph. 2:4). Look at you, it is Christ ?in? you. The disciples just had the Spirit dwelling amongst them (John 14:17 - Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.).
You may be down here in your old, tired, sinful flesh but the real you (saved and redeemed, glorified, etc.) is in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Your standing is this ? Perfect in the Son seated at the right hand of God, perfect with Christ's righteousness. This is how God sees the real you. Now your state down here may be in a mess but up there where the real you is it is perfect. This is what God did to you through Christ at Calvary.
Now, what is your duty because of so great privileges? Turn to Eph. 4:1. God just got finished telling you what great things He hath done for you in the first three chapters of Ephesus and in 4:1 He tells you what to do about it. Paul says, ?Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,?. You are perfect in heaven blessed with all spiritual blessings then walk down here like you believe it. In other words ?walk, your position.? In the following 3 chapters Paul tells you how you should act based upon your position in Christ.
So, I trust that someone will get a blessing. This is not original thinking from me. I learned this after being under the same preacher for over 20 years who seeks to know all he can about God, Christ and the Christian life. If you do not agree with this then, that's ok for this a forum. May God bless!