From the Gospel of John, Chapter 3 —
(1) There was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a prominent Jewish leader. (2) He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, for no one can perform these signs that you are doing unless God is with him." (3) Jesus replied to him, "I tell you for certain unless a person is born anothen: from above [meaning heaven] he cannot perceive the kingdom of God."
(4) Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person be born when he is old? He can’t go back into his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?" This is where we get the idea of "born again."
(5) Jesus said, "I tell you for certain, unless a person is born of water kai Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
The Greek word "kai" is usually translated "and" in an additive way: You must be born of water "and" Spirit. This is adding Spirit to water. "Kai" can also be used in an interpretive way: "Which is"
You must be born of water "which is" Spirit.
Also the word water in Greek is hudatos from the root word huetos which means rain – which is water from above.
Jesus is saying born of water from above.
Water from above symbolizes the Spirit.
So, we must be born from above [heaven] by the Spirit to perceive (v3) and enter (v5) the kingdom of God/Heaven/spirit realm.
(6) What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. What is born of the Holy Spirit is spirit. A human birth produces a flesh and blood person, while a Spirit birth produces a spirit person.
(7) Do not be astonished that I said to you, that you must be born from above. We must be born from above [heaven] by the Holy Spirit to become a new spirit person.
(8) The wind blows where it wants to. You can hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. That is the way it is with everyone born of the Spirit. The same word in the Greek used for wind and spirit is pneuma.
Jesus is saying that you do not know where the wind comes from or where it is going, because it is invisible, but you hear the sound of it.
The Greek word used for sound phone (phonay) also means voice. In the same way that you can hear the sound of the wind from the invisible realm, you can hear the voice of the Spirit from the spirit realm and be born as a new spirit person.
(9) Nicodemus said to Jesus, "How can that be?"
(10) Jesus answered him, "You’re the teacher of Israel, and you don’t understand this?"
What should Nicodemus have understood?
As the teacher of Israel, who knew the Scriptures, he should have known that Jesus has been referring to Scripture to try and ring a bell in the mind of Nicodemus.
Jesus was referring to Ezekiel Ch 36: 25-27
(25) I will pour clean water on you, and you shall be clean… This is a metaphor for being made clean by the Holy Spirit.
(26) I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you… in place of your human spirit, which was dead in sin, I will give you a new spirit.
(27) I will put My Spirit within you and empower you to do what I tell you…
The Holy Spirit will come into you and will empower you to do God’s will.
So you will be a new spirit person in your old body. And the Holy Spirit will dwell in your body as well and will empower you to do God’s will.
After Jesus says to Nicodemus, "Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand" that you must be born from heaven by the Spirit to become a new person.
Jesus continues his conversation with Nicodemus: John 3:12 — "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, [such as about wind and water] how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
(13) "No one has been lifted up into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man [Jesus]. (14) "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; (15) so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Jesus is referring to scripture again: The story of the bronze serpent, in Numbers 21.
The Israelites had been complaining over and over against God, grumbling about the journey and that they did not like the manna God gave them day after day. So, after great patience on God’s part, God judged their sin by sending fiery serpents among them, and those who were bitten died.
The people acknowledged that they had sinned and asked for mercy.
God instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and to set it on a pole so that anyone who was bitten by one of the serpents could look up at the serpent and be healed. God’s judgment was nailed to the pole. All who were bitten and looked up were healed.
As the serpent was lifted up and became a source of salvation, so the Son of Man must be "lifted up," and take all of our judgment so that those who look up to him, in faith, can be saved from God’s judgment.
Jesus continues to talk to Nicodemus:
John 3:16 — "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (17) For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Not saved through confession of sin but saved through Christ.
(18) "He/She who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged; because Jesus paid the price for your judgment. He/She who does not believe has been judged already, because he/she has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
We remain under judgment until we receive the payment for our judgment.
We are not judged for our sins, we are judged for not believing in Jesus who paid for our sins.
Jesus said in John 12:27-32: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I to this hour… Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me."
If you look in the Greek NT the word "men" in verse 32 is not there. It is italicized in some translations like the King James. That means it is not in the original language. The translators put this word in italics to let people know this was their interpretation, but it is not in the text.
If you take this verse in context, I believe the Lord was saying that He would draw all judgment to Himself.
Jesus, like a lightning rod, attracted all of God’s judgment for all of mankind’s sins for all time unto Himself.
Jesus said in John 16:8: The Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; (9) concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me…
The sin that the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of is the sin of not believing in Jesus. Believe is pistis in Greek and means to trust like an infant does with its mother. It is not just intellectual assent, but a life sustaining trust, like a nursing infant has with its mother. This is the definition of "faith."
All of the sins of the world have been paid for:
1 John 2:2 — Jesus Himself is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. Propitiation: payment which satisfied the wrath of God towards sin; Jesus paid the price for our sin and exchanged his righteousness for our sin.
John 3:18 — "He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
We are not judged for our sins — we are judged for not believing in Jesus as the payment for our sins.
Peter said that Jesus commanded them to proclaim:
Acts 10:43 — "Of Jesus all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."
Not everyone who confesses their sins, but everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins.
Paul and Silas said in Acts 16:31 Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved… Not confess your sins, but believe in Jesus.
In Acts 26 Paul tells how Jesus appeared to him and sent him to the nations with this message:
Acts 26:18 — to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among those being sanctified by faith in Me [Jesus].
Forgiveness of sins: by faith in Jesus.
Rom 10:9 — If you confess = homologeo = to agree with/acknowledge truth with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. We don’t confess our sins to be saved we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord to be saved.
1 John 1:9 — If we confess/acknowledge our sins, (that we commit sins) He is (pres. indic = continually) faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John wrote 1st John to help clear up a major doctrinal heresy called "Gnosticism." Gnosticism comes from the Greek word "gnosis" which means knowledge.
The Gnostics were a group of people who believed they possessed superior spiritual knowledge/ gnosis.
They believed that the human body was evil and that only spirit was good. Consequently, they didn’t believe that Jesus really came in a human body — they believed he was an illusion. They also believed that because sin had to do with our physical body, then there really wasn’t any sin — sin was also an illusion.
John was saying that if you will acknowledge that you commit sins, and believe in Jesus, Christ continually forgives you for those sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness.
Back to Nicodemus and Jesus:
Jesus is telling Nicodemus that his death on the cross pays the price for sin and judgment and that through faith in him you will become a new spirit that will live forever with God in the kingdom of heaven.
Eph 2:1 — You were dead in your trespasses and sins … (4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5)…created a living being in union with Christ.
Suzoapoieo poi-eho = to create zohah = living being su = union with. = We are created as a new supernatural infant. (6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Our human spirit was dead in sin, but when we believed/ trusted in Jesus, then we are raised as a new spirit person and seated in heaven with Jesus.
Your spirit is both in heaven/the spirit realm and in your body at the same time.
2 Cor 5:17 — If = ei in Greek means Since —
Since anyone in Christ is a kainos = new ktisis = creation (a new creation; a new spirit person; a new infant) the old creation (your spirit which was dead in sin) passed away, behold, the new creation (a new supernatural infant) has ginomai = come into being.
You are not a remodeled person but a new spirit person!
Let’s walk in union with the Holy Spirit and live as the new person God has created!