Born Again

What does it mean to be born again?

Born Again

John 3:3-8 Born Again

John 3:9-13 How can these things be?
JOHN 3:3  3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

How can Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus be paraphrased?
Look, you have no clue because you haven’t been “born again” (John 3:3).

What does it mean to be “born again”?
ανωθεν (anothen), the original Greek word translated “again,” more commonly means “from above” or “from on high” - i.e., from heaven. Jesus is saying that Nicodemus “cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) because he has not received spiritual birth from heaven - i.e., from God.

JOHN 3:4  4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

What do you think of Nicodemus’ reply?
If Nicodemus had stopped after the first question - “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4) - he would have expressed just incomprehension. But his second question - “Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4) - indicates that he may have been either trying to make light of Jesus’ reply, which he may have considered a snub in front of Jesus’ disciples around them, or expressing shock since being born a Jew is what the Jews thought guaranteed their entry into heaven.

JOHN 3:5-8  5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

What is Jesus saying in this passage?
The Greek word for “again” (John 3:7) is the same one used in John 3:3 above. Jesus is distinguishing between our physical birth - “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6) - and the spiritual birth - “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6) - required for us to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Why is “Spirit” (John 3:5) capitalized?
Jesus is referring to God the Holy “Spirit,” the enabler of our spiritual birth.

Is the “Spirit” then a different God?
No, God the Holy Spirit, along with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus), comprise one God, and Jesus affirmed this in Mark 12:29 by declaring, “the LORD is one.” But the Bible also clearly describes three distinct personhoods for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Understanding this nature of God, commonly called “Trinity,” is challenging to the limited human mind but can be facilitated by using this visual tool.

But is the Holy Spirit someone who can be said to have a ‘personhood’?
Yes, Acts 13:2 says that He speaks: As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Can the “Spirit” be seen?
No, but neither can the wind, yet you know of its existence, as Jesus said in John 3:8 above.

What is the “water” of which John 3:5 says one also needs to be born to enter the kingdom of God?
Jesus is talking about the “living water” in the next chapter (John 4:7-14).

What is this “living water”?
It's salvation through Jesus Himself, whom John 1:1 also calls the “Word.” To enter the Kingdom of God, we need to be saved through the Word of God.

Is there a more direct equation between “water” and the “word” in the Bible?
Yes, Ephesians 5:25-26 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her with the washing of water by the word.” Also, 1 Peter 1:22-23 adds, “Having purified your souls by obeying the truth through the Spirit unto sincere brotherly love, fervently love one another out of a pure heart, for you have been born again, not of perishable seed but imperishable, through the word of God which lives and remains forever.”

And who enables us to do that?
The “Spirit,” as Jesus said in John 3:5-8 above.