God's Complete Word John 3:7
The New Birth

The Gospel of John 3:1-21

The Education of Nicodemus

The proper understanding of this chapter begins with the final verses of Chapter 2 , where it was revealed that a great number of people "believed on" the Lord Jesus Christ because they had "faith only". Close reading of the following verses reveals Jesus did not accept them because faith alone is not enough.

John 2:23 ¶ Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, during the feast, many believed on his name, beholding his signs which he did. 24* But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men,
John 12:42 Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 for they loved the glory that is of men more than the glory that is of God.

One of the things additionally required in this dispensation of mercy, is the new birth. This is precisely what was lacking in the preceding chapter and now in chapter 3, John will tell of the Saviors instructions in the matter.

This interview with Nicodemus with its teaching of the new birth is the total context of our 2 part lesson. The bold italicized text is the verses under study, and the underlined bold italicized text are scriptural cross references.

Questions will follow at the end of this gospel lesson.

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews

John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

"Nicodemus.." Means "innocent blood" in Greek or "victor over the people" in Hebrew. He was a wealthy Pharisee, member of the Sanhedrin, teacher of theology, and known as "ruler of the Jews"

The connection here with the events of the preceding chapter are dramatic, Nicodemus clearly being one of those "believers" who did not obey the Lord. The omniscience (all knowing) of Christ is evident in his answering the following questions of Nicodemus without his utterance of the question.

John 3:2 the same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him.

Nicodemus is mentioned three times in this gospel. In addition to here, he spoke for Christ in 7:45-52

John 7:50 Nicodemus saith unto them (he that came to him before, being one of them),51 Doth our law judge a man, except it first hear from himself and know what he doeth? 52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and see that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

Nicodemus honored Christ in John 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.

"we know".. Had to indicate at least several Pharisees "believed on" Him
John 9:16 Some therefore of the Pharisees said, This man is not from God, because he keepeth not the sabbath. But others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such signs? And there was division among them.

John 9:33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know;

Acts 10: 38 even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Or more properly translated "born again", the emphasis being on the necessity of it. It is not merely true that one can not enter God's kingdom with out the new birth, he can not even see it, as his heart is blind to the truth.

Titus 3:5 not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

James 1: 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

1 Peter 1:23 having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth.

1 John 3: 9 Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.

Jesus was now asking Nicodemus to forsake all reliance upon the Law of Moses, and upon the elaborate ritualism and traditionalism of the Pharisees, and enter a totally new way of life. It was a shocking requirement and the evidence is that Nicodemus, at this point in time, was not able to accept it.

Christ points out that “no one” whether Jew or Gentile can obtain the grace with out beginning his life altogether anew, in order to share in the kingdom.

John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto 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?

Nicodemus was not sold that this was a necessary task. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, one of a class that had rejected totally the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins preached by John the Baptist. “But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him.” Luke 7:30

Christ as well as His apostles accepted the baptism of John and submitted to it; and that baptism was intended as preparatory “works” for the kingdom of heaven.

It would seem that Nicodemus was exposed to what this meant by the facts already available. The metaphor of the new birth historically appears to have already been used by the Rabbis to describe the religious change of a Gentile who became a proselyte to Judaism. And the meaning of the baptism the John administered was a burial to the old life and an entrance upon a new life. However the following verse can explain that.

1 Corinthians 2:14 Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God!

Paraphrased, this statement means that unless one obeys the gospel of Jesus Christ by believing in Him, repenting of sin, confessing His name, and being baptized into Jesus Christ, and as a consequence of such obedience receives forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, he can not enter into Gods kingdom, i.e.,he can not be saved

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word,
27 that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

The new birth “of water and the Spirit” is one birth, not two, despite there being clearly two elements of it. One of these elements “born of water” is water baptism, that being the element of the new birth for which man himself is responsible for the doing of it. Exactly like Saul of Tarsus was commanded,
“And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.” Acts 22:16
The other element of the new birth is “born of the Spirit” in which our faith and obedience has brought us around, as when “they were in one place at the Pentecost" and heard Peters sermon, ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?”Acts 2:37*

In other words they were ready to do whatever was required. Now we can apply Pauls'' writing in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1: 13* in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14* which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Some teach the first part is Man’s and the second part is God’s, however we must be careful in making sure our heart is right in both parts in God’s sight.

In the history of Christianity there has never been an exception to the proposition that every true believer who repented and was baptized was then and there forgiven of all past sin and endowed with a status of absolute innocence in God’s sight. This is accomplished not by the ceremony but by God when the ceremony is obeyed and not otherwise. This is clear by the example of Saul.

The newly baptized convert, having a clear conscience, and being forgiven of all past sins, and having been added to the spiritual body of Christ, receives the Holy Spirit not to make him a member of Christ, (his baptism did that) but because he is now a member. Galatians 4:6* And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. This is the second element in the new birth.

That is why both are required, both are essential and that they are not separate births but one new birth. On Pentecost as we listen, And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38, The baptism with out repentance would nullify the gift.

When a person is truly baptized (and only believing, penitent, confessing persons can be truly baptized), as Christ commanded, God sends the Holy Spirit into his heart, which is the second element of the new birth. So we need to think and teach of the new birth as “Except one be born of water and the Spirit” just as Christ has given us.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Just as there are two elements in the new birth, there are two elements in man that require it. The flesh and the spirit. The flesh is born of the water (baptized), and the spirit is born of the Spirit (believes, confesses, repents and submits to the gospel and baptism)

Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not.

Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.10 ¶ And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

2Corinthians 5:17 Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would.18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born anew.
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

These verses record Jesus’s teaching of Nicodemus to believe and understand the invisible power of the new birth. The baptismal ceremony can be seen by all participants and observers, but the receiving of the Spirit and resulting forgiveness of sins can not be seen. However like the powerful wind, although invisible, its power is never the less profound.

Jesus is telling him that he should not reject the doctrine merely because he doesn't understand it, as neither could the wind be seen but its effects were well known and he should not doubt the power of God.

There will be more that is hard to understand, but lets listen to Paul.

“But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:17,18, ASV.

Ephesians 4:22 that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit;23 and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24 and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

1Peter 1:14 as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance:15 but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living;16 because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

1Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently:

1John 3:9 Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.


John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

The natural man finds it very difficult to receive spiritual things, due to his inherent preoccupation with the mechanics of them, the “how” of everything, Nicodemus’ question is therefore one of remarkable interest to all of us.

How persistently man probes every mystery. Wherever there are dark and knotty problems, or things hard to understand, there man stands oblivious to the real problems at hand.

So in the kingdom of Heaven we have to be concerned about obeying God’s will rather than all the whys and hows of each of God’s wonders. Look at the Genesis creation. If we waited to have all the answers, we would waste valuable time that we could be learning what He did want us to know. If He did not go into detail on each and everything, we are to assume we have all he wants us to know on the subject and to move on and not get hung up in trying to out guess Him, who created us.
However, that is no excuse to not understand what He did give us for study and direction of our lives. "Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:17

We “knoweth not how” many of God's things:
Mark 4: 26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth; 27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how. 28 The earth beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the fruit is ripe, straightway he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is as the dawning light, That shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; in paths that they know not will I lead them; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things will I do, and I will not forsake them.

John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou the teacher of Israel, and understandest not these things?

By this answer, Christ did not deny some element of mystery regarding the questions of Nicodemus, but was exclaiming his failure to understand some of the basic things Christ had commanded him to do.

This was the equivalent of saying, quit rejecting John's baptism, and obey God by submitting to it and secondly allowing the Spirit of God to dwell in your heart. This can only come about by following me. “But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him.” Luke 7:30

We sometimes miss the greater importance that is here, attached to John's baptism.
Jesus submitted to that baptism for what reason? “But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffereth him. ”Matthew 3:15

We presumably can visualize all the apostles submitting to the baptism because it was what John the Baptist being a prophet (Matthew 3:3),that Christ taught, and they could not have baptized others (John 3:22,23) with out submitting themselves.

Although it was called the baptism of John , it was actually God’s baptism administered by John. Also for a season it was ministered by Jesus, through His apostles. It was mandatory for all Israel, even for priests and Pharisees and it was the only baptism in force UNTIL Pentecost when they asked what should we do?

With Pentecost and the preaching of the great commission at Galilee (Matthew 28:19), John's baptism was supplanted by that of the above commission, however was still valid and required until while Jesus was still alive.

The function of John's baptism was exactly like that of the great commission in the particulars of its being by immersion and its being the separator between the true Israel of God and the hardened secular Pharisees (and others) with which the true Israel was co-mingled till Pentecost.

The Pharisees, including Nicodemus, had utterly rejected God’s baptism administered by John, even though Jesus himself submitted to it, and that was the key to their ultimate rejection of Christ.

The ignorance of the Pharisees religious party, regarding the sacred ordinance of baptism was the immediate beginning of the end of the whole Jewish nation as the covenant people. That stubborn blind ignorance, as it appears here in Nicodemus, called forth the exclamation of Jesus in this very verse.

It is no wonder that Israel was spiritually in trouble even where her noblest teachers rejected the idea of being born of water and of the Spirit. In such rejection it was clear that the major part of Israel would continue to trust in Abrahamic descent despite the following warnings.

“Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And even now the axe lieth at the root of the trees: every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Matthew 3:8-10

“They answered and said unto him, Our father is Abraham. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” John 8:39

How strange it is that the same pattern of evil is endlessly repeated? Just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day stumbled at being “born of water”, that is being baptized, just so many today stumble at the very same thing of being baptized for the remission of their sins. (Mark 1:4, Acts 2:38)

Here are several reference verses on the blind and hard hearted that are in the context of this verse.
Isaiah 9:16 For they that lead this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
Isaiah 29:10-12
Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.
Jeremiah 8:8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of Jehovah is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes hath wrought falsely. 9 The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of Jehovah; and what manner of wisdom is in them?
Matthew 11:25 At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes:
Matthew 15:14 Let them alone: they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit.
Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
De 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
De 30:6 And Jehovah thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
1Chronicles 29:19 and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for which I have made provision.
Psalms 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom.
Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.
Psalms 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, Even to such as are pure in heart.
Isaiah 11:6-9
Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;
Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, wherein ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

In this verse Jesus changed to the plural ”we” a change that may be viewed as His disciples being witnesses also. Why could Nicodemus not accept their word for the truth?
In this book alone the following scriptures bear witness to Christs' deity.

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
John 3:32 What he hath seen and heard, of that he beareth witness; and no man receiveth his witness.
John 7:16 Jesus therefore answered them and said, My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me.
John 8:28 Jesus therefore said, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things.
John 12:49 For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my words: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

John 3:12 If I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things?

One “earthly thing” Jesus told Nicodemus regarding the new birth, was an experience received by ordinary men during their earthly existence. Mysterious as it is , the new birth is a common everyday fact, “earthly” in the sense of men being in actual contact with the phenomenon and aware of it constantly. Thousands of Israel had already responded, but the Pharisees never made it.

“Heavenly things...” is a reference to such things as incarnation, the death of Christ for the sins of the world, the existence of the spirit world above our own, the final judgement, heaven, hades, and all of those great spiritual realities lying utterly beyond earthly vision. It was some of those heavenly things that Jesus was about to speak to Nicodemus about.

Cross references to this are below:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God!
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it will, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
John 3:31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaketh: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
John 3:32 What he hath seen and heard, of that he beareth witness; and no man receiveth his witness.
John 3:33 He that hath received his witness hath set his seal to this, that God is true.
John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure.
John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 1:1-14

John 3:13 And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven.

Here Jesus claimed His unique office as God’s messenger son who descended to man out of heaven, and yet, in a sense, who was still in heaven or working in behalf of heaven. Just by being the Son of God, having the qualities and power of God we can insure ourselves of this.
Proverbs tells us God can ascend and descend at will, and surely He who created everything had and still has that power at His disposal.

Proverbs 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in his garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou knowest?
John 6:33 For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
John 6:38 For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.
John 6:62 What then if ye should behold the Son of man ascending where he was before?
John 16:28 ¶ I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father.
Acts 2:34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Ephesians 4:9 (Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth?10 He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up;
John 3:15 that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life.

The connection between these verses and verse 13 is in the title "Son of man". Verse 13 gave Jesus’ identity as God incarnate, and these two verses cite the necessity for Him to be lifted up on the cross, and through that act, for those who believe, may, (not shall) through obedience, (or being in Him) have eternal life.

Note this verse just a little farther down the page.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Cross References:
Numbers 21:7 And the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, because we have spoken against Jehovah, and against thee; pray unto Jehovah, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
Numbers 21:8 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a standard: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he seeth it, shall live.
Numbers 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the standard: and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived.
John 8:28 Jesus therefore said, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.33 But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he should die.34 The multitude therefore answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world” ,fittingly this announcement of God’s universal love was made to this representative of the Pharisees. A group that was riddled with mans doctrine and taught that God’s love was the special providence of Israel, who were at that time waiting for their Messiah. Of course it is now obvious that they were not looking for someone like Christ, who was exposing their false teachings and religious pomp. This opportunity to tell of God’s love for the world was just another example of His disregard for their teachings.

“That he gave his only begotten Son..”, We need to keep in mind that it is only in the Christian religion that God provides the offering for the sin. The sacrifice of Christ, now spoken of as the Son of God. No man could have died for all men, only God in the form of man could have done it. The highest angel in heaven would have not been enough.

“That whosoever believeth in Him”, Faith is the great principle of Christianity, motivating every act of obedience. Faith is the first of the preconditions of redemption and also the last as we require it the entire span of our earthly life with God.

Unfortunately, this is the verse that many people, freely take completely out of the context that we have been studying this past 15 verses and hold it up as proof, that all we need to do to be saved is “believeth on Him”. Can you honestly believe that ? Our salvation is not nor could not be contained in a single scripture. What do we do with the rest of God’s word?

Faith only believers can take that one single verse to the judgement with very little hope that it will stand up to what was written in Revelation 20:12* And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13* And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works..

Belief is mandatory, but so is repentance, confession, and the new birth. We also must continue to live righteously after we are converted. Its not a one time deal, it is perpetually giving yourself to the Lord.

1John 4:9 Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him.

And last the good news. “everlasting life” contrasting with God’s wrath (John 3:36) Destruction (Matthew 7:13, 14) and eternal fire (Matthew 18:9)

The observant student will notice that verse 15 reveals that the eternal life is only available to those “in Christ” We must be identified with Him in the absolute sense spoken of by Paul. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20,

and... For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27

John 3:17 For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.

Jesus said this directly to the prejudices of the Sanhedrin, of which Nicodemus was a member. They were looking for the Messiah that would put the Romans out of their country. They were looking for the Messiah to blast the Gentiles with judgement so that God would uphold the Jews as the chosen people able to go on with their lives to prosper over everyone.

Jesus rejected all of these thoughts and tried to show them that He was here to offer them salvation and a way to have forgiveness of their sins which was not in the Mosaic laws.

John 5:45 Think not that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, on whom ye have set your hope.
John 8:15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
John 12:47 And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
1 John 4: 14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The believer is not judged because he is ‘In Christ” totally identified with Christ as being Christ like, “whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ;” Colossians 1:28,

On the other hand the unbeliever is condemned, by rejecting the only means of grace and salvation.

John 5: 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.
John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth hath eternal life.

John 20: 31 but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.

John 3:19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.

Although judgement day was not yet here, the criteria for the judgement was, and still is, already setting those aside that did not react favorably to the light. Their fate was sealed. Those that reacted to the light with faith and obedience continued on in Christ.

John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:9 There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.

John 8:12 ¶ Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved.

Wicked people are essentially operators in cover of darkness, being afraid of the light which might expose them. This can also be used from the standpoint of truth, honesty and knowledge. If we hide from them we won't have to change our lifestyles to conform to the Christian doctrine. We can go on in our sinful world and ignore the facts. But we still have to face judgement day.

Job 24:13 These are of them that rebel against the light; They know not the ways thereof, Nor abide in the paths thereof.
Job 24:17 For the morning is to all of them as thick darkness; For they know the terrors of the thick darkness.

Ephesians 5: 13 But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light.

John 3:21 But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.

The person with the honest and good heart desires to walk uprightly before God and man, loves the truth, and seeks to know more of God’s will. The light does not need to seek him, as he seeks the light shunning the works of darkness.

“that they are wrought in God...” our ultimate daily goal. A behaviour so corrected and disciplined that our lives and our actions are wrought in God.

“for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13,

John 5:39 Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me;

Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers:2 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night.3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

That ends our lesson on the new birth. If you want to test your spiritual maturity, its as easy as 1,2 & 3

1. Select & copy the 15 questions below

Questions on the New Birth; John 3: 1-28 :

1. What two things are said to be involved in the new birth?

2. What part does the Spirit play?

3. Is water involved in any New Testament command other that baptism?

4. What would lead you to believe that the water in verses 3-8 in literal water?

5. Explain the meaning of verse 8:

6. Do verses 15,16,18 & 36 teach that a person is saved by faith alone?

7. What was the meaning of the "lifting up" mentioned in verse 14

8. Who was a ruler of the Jews?

9. What is one of the best known but most abused verses in the bible.

10. Upon whom does the wrath of God abide?

11. Does faith alone save us?

12. Does baptism alone save us?

13. Does repentance alone save us?

14. Does works alone save us?

15. What then does save us?

2. Paste your selection into the following email that will open when you click it. john@inChristJesus.org

3. Add your answers between the lines, with scripture please, and send.

I will get you scriptural answers as soon as possible.

Thank you for your interest in God's Word.

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