Want Some Answers ???
Hi Nicodemus, You wrote,
>>How can it! yeshua was still alive? Has your Bible reading not got that far!<<
The new birth directly relates to His death, burial and resurrection because Jesus is "the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by" Him (Jn14.6). Even though Jesus had not yet died to make the payment for sin, yet Old Testament saints could only be accepted by God by the method He determined "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev.13.8).
In the discussion in John 3, Jesus explains to Nicodemus that the only way into the kingdom is via a 'birth', that is, a spiritual birth. Jesus was going to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within men (Joel 2.28 Ac.2.17 Jn.14.16-18 Ac.2.38-39). The Holy Spirit's work would be to convict of sin, wash clean, reveal scripture, comfort, guide, etc but none of this is separate from Christ's work on the cross. Peter, Paul, John, James all refer to the 'new birth' as vitally important. They understood and obeyed the command, why haven't you?
If this is not the explanation, then you will deny that "the only way" into the kingdom is through Jesus. And if 'born again' is annulled because Jesus had not yet died, then you will divorce His death, burial and resurrection as "the only way" into the kingdom.
Jesus is NOT saying the new birth is the Christian rite of baptism. That had not been introduced then. It was a spiritual experience, not a time appointed by a 'church'. It related to the gospel, during one's life time - the start of the new life in Christ. Nicodemus could expect it while he was alive.
Jesus is NOT saying the 'new birth' means that the only way into the kingdom is to be born at the time of the kingdom. Nicodemus was commanded to obey, and seek the spiritual birth.
Jesus is NOT teaching reincarnation. That after years of good works, study etc, one slowly qualifies or earns merit and can be reincarnated, physically born again into the kingdom. My experience has been this that if a man is unsound on this doctrine he will be unsound on almost every other fundamental doctrine in the Bible. The doctrine of the New Birth upsets all false religion all false views about the Bible and about God.
'Except a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom' Other passages say the same - Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Lk.13:3-5) Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mt.18:3.) Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mt.5:20.) All saying the same thing.
Regeneration is not going to church. People say they go every Sunday, but that is not regeneration. Others say, I'm trying to do what's right". But that is not the new birth. Some say they have turned over a new leaf but that is not regenerated. A new resolution is not being 'born again'. Nor will baptism do any good. People say, I have been baptized and I was born again when I was baptized. They think because they were baptized into a church, they were baptized into the Kingdom. I tell you that is utterly impossible. You may be baptized into a visible church and not be baptized into the Son of God. You can't put baptism in the place of Regeneration or the New Birth. You cannot be baptized into the Kingdom of God. Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. If you rest your hope on anything else on any other foundation it will fail.
Being born again is 'passing from death to life'. Jesus says plainly there's no mistake Except a man be born of... the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. What has a sacrament to do with that? What has going to church to do with being born again?
Nicodemus wasn't needing a "character change" he was one of the best in Jerusalem. An honourable councillor, he belonged to the Sanhedrim, a very high position. He was one of the very soundest men, yet Christ said Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
You cannot create life or save yourself. Its utterly impossible to make a man better without Christ, but that's what men try. They try to patch up the old-Adam nature. THERE MUST BE A NEW CREATION. Regeneration is a new creation and if its a new creation it must be the work of God. In Genesis 1, man is not helping God. Man is not there to help or take part. When God created the earth He was alone. When Christ redeemed the world He was alone.
The Ethiopian cannot change his skin or the leopard it's spots. You might as well try to make yourself pure and holy without God's help. It would be much as easy for you to do that as for the black man to wash himself white. A man might just as well try to leap over the moon as to serve God in the flesh.
God is telling you how to get into His kingdom. You cannot to work your way in. Sure salvation is worth all the effort; but we do not obtain it by works. It is to him that worketh not, but believeth (Rom.4:5). You obviously think you can make yourself fit for the kingdom. So if you still want to contest the expression 'born again', then what does it mean? What do you think? Or has your reading not got that far?
Do you really 'totally agree' with me? Because I believe you follow a system of belief that lies to you. It denies the new birth. It blinds to the truth and robs salvation. You must decide to follow the Lord Jesus and obey Him, or that false system and trust it.
>>I totally agree, but you yourself have once again quoted the 'Jesus explains to Nicodemus'. He did not ask him to believe in an event that had not yet occurred.<<
It's relevant if the 'event had not yet occurred'. Nicodemus was still required to be born again, but if Jesus did not die, there could be no new birth. Since we have the bible, we can reflect on that discussion with Nicodemus and understand better than he. And since the 'event' has now 'occurred' we realise how Christ's death, burial and resurrection relate to the new birth, (at least I do).
Peter, Paul, John and James understood that obedience to Christ's command was important. Why don't you 'totally agree' with them? Nicodemus likely knew scripture, and knew about the Messiah suffering for sin (Jn.7.50-51 19.39-40. Ge.3.15 Ps.22, 69 Isa.53.1-12 etc).
And as I said, even though Jesus had not yet died for sin, the Old Testament saints (Nicodemus included) were only accepted with God, by God's grace. The blood of "the Lamb slain" (Rev.13.8) was always the way to God. In faith they looked forward to the day God would provide the lamb to remove sin. God's children today look back and see that God has provided the Lamb.
The birth which Christ commands is from above by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Every man must have two births, one from heaven, the other from earth, one of his body, the other of his soul: without the first he cannot see nor enjoy this world, without the second he can not see nor enjoy God's kingdom.
As there is an absolute necessity that a child should be born into the world, that he may see life, contemplate its glories and enjoy its good, so there is an absolute necessity the soul should be brought out of its state of darkness and sin, through the light and power of the grace of Christ.
All in Adam are 'dead in sin', all need cleansing, only one sacrifice can remove sin. And without the washing, regeneration and indwelling of the Holy Spirit you have no part with Jesus (Jn.9.15 13.8).
>>Nicodemus, like everybody needs to believe that yeshua was YHVH's sent one.<<
Yes believe, but what do you mean by 'believe'? Even "demons believe" (James 2.19). You don't 'believe' you must obey the commands of Jesus. People believe many things, and some believe what's true, but even that doesn't make them right with God. James refers to those who claim to believe, but its not real faith [Jas.2:14 Heb.4.2]. Many profess belief, observe ritual, religion, customs, yet do not have saving faith in Christ's work on the cross which alone is sufficient to remove all sin (Heb.8.12).
Even belief that God's Word is correct about man's sinful nature and the need of a new birth, won't save unless we obey and humble ourselves. I was 'born again' in obedience to the command of Jesus (Jn.1.13 3.3,8). There was a moment of time when on my knees I prayed and admitted my need of a Saviour, that I couldn't save myself and I asked Jesus into my heart. And thanked Him for dying for me. God honoured that prayer and the Holy Spirit entered my heart.
This was the new birth, a renewal, made alive to God (Jn.3.3, 7.39 Titus 3:5-6). But it was only because of this birth the bible became the means whereby God speaks His mind and purposes to me. The bible is not really understood by those without God's Spirit. God cannot speak to unbelievers as He does His children. So Jesus would say you know the scriptures but are dull of hearing and spiritually blind.
The Holy Spirit came within and opened my eyes. If you are not born of the Spirit you won't grasp the 'things of God' (1 Cor.2:10) and lack spiritual vision. Spiritual realities require spiritual sight. Without God's Spirit people don't have the same capacity to understand scripture. It doesn't mean I know everything (faith is required) but the bible is now revealed by God's Spirit.
Perhaps you will never understand the discussion with Nicodemus till you become a 'born again' Christian. The first step of true biblical 'faith'. The new birth is a work of God, and occurs when we bow our knees and pray the simple prayer of repentance and confession. We realize our sinful state before God, and that His Son died for us. We humbly confess our sin and receive the free gift of grace, trusting Him alone to wash us clean. He promised He will. This is the most important issue you are facing, everything depends on your choice.
>>Once again you are stating that Yeshua asked Nicodemus to believe in an event that had not taken place. An event that even His closest disciples did not understand the night before it happened.<<
No where did I say Jesus "asked Nicodemus to believe in an event that had not taken place". Reread my mail. I said, "It's relevant if the 'event had not yet occurred' Nicodemus was still required to be born again".
Yes there were things "even His closest disciples did not understand" the Holy Spirit was not yet given (Jn.7.39). Spiritual realities require spiritual sight. With out a spiritual birth none have the capacity to understand the 'things of God' (1 Cor.2:10, Jn.14.16-18, 26. 16:7-14).Yes Jesus didn't expect Nicodemus to know everything, the spiritual rebirth was a mystery to him (as with you) but he was still required to be born again.
So you are without excuse. As I said, "Since we have the bible, we can look back on that discussion with Nicodemus and understand it better than he. And since the 'event' has now 'occurred' we realize how Christ's death, burial and resurrection relate to the new birth" (At least I understand, by the Holy Spirit).
>>You appear to be one of those that have been deceived by the enemy, and remember that not all who call Him Lord Lord hear His voice.<<
If there is anyone "deceived by the enemy" surely its those who refuse to obey His commands (Jn.3.3 5.39-40). If you have never been born from a above in obedience, you must be still dead in sin (Eph.2.1) and powerless to live the Christian life.
>>I will now drop this correspondence, as you are clearly refusing to accept that Yeshua was the promised Messiah. And I leave the consequence for that in His hands.<<
I never refused 'to accept that Yeshua was the promised Messiah", we didn't even discuss that. But while you can drop your 'correspondence' with me, and refuse what I say, you can't drop your obligation to obey God. Without the new birth 'the consequences' are you won't 'see' the kingdom of God (Jn.3.3,5. Rev.20.15). If I were you, I would get on my knees right now.
Thanks for writing. Regards,