Salvation – BT8
Born again from above by the Holy Spirit
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John 3:3-7 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that if in possibility anyone is gennao begotten/come-into-being again from above (a), he absolutely in fact is NOT dunamis powerfully-enabled to eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know the kingdom of God . . . [Nicodemus misunderstands Jesus, so Jesus clarifies] . . . Truly, truly, I say to you, if in possibility anyone is gennao begotten/come-into-being of [singular] water (b) kai and/coupled [singular] Spirit, [he/she] absolutely in fact is NOT dunamis powerfully-enabled to enter-into-for-an-important-purpose (c) eis into the kingdom of God. That which having been gennao begotten/come-into-being of the [singular] flesh [singular] flesh (d) presently/ongoing IS-defined-as/exists-as and/coupled that which having been gennao begotten/come-into-being of the [singular] Spirit [singular] Spirit (e) presently/ongoing IS-defined-as/exists-as. Marvel in possibility not that I already said to [singular] you (Nicodemus), it is necessary for you-all to be presently/ongoingly be begotten/come-into-being again from above (a).”
<Notes> a) anothen: from above or a higher place; from the beginning/first on; over again to indicate repetition – see discussion below, b) this may be a reference to the breaking of the amniotic water during human birth – note ‘d’, though others think it refers to water-baptism, especially since it is integrally coupled by kai to the Spirit and not flesh. Jesus routinely links ‘like things’ using kai like “Spirit kai and/coupled zoe genuine-life” in John 6:63. The Spirit is given during water-baptism. Since Nicodemus misunderstood Jesus to think Jesus was speaking of physical birth again, it is highly unlikely that Jesus would continue to send Nicodemus down the physical-birth path with a reference to ‘amniotic fluid’ even though it’s true we need a Spirit-kind-of birth in addition to the flesh-birth. However, again Jesus didn’t use a contrasting conjunction but the kai coupling conjunction as He does throughout His conversation to link ‘like things.’ There is a host of verses that link water to Spirit-kind-of birth, regeneration, and salvation – see Water-Baptism. c) the prefix eis used here to intensify ‘enter’, d) the human birth process – see Identity, where the construction emphasizes that the product is the same nature as the originator: flesh origin produces flesh, just as “a tree is known by its fruit” – grapefruit trees produce grapefruits, e) pneuma with the definite article is always a reference to the Holy Spirit, but the second use is without the article, just as with flesh. Translators should not assume that this means the human spirit because it is also [singular] pneuma, John wrote it the same way regarding the flesh, and it’s a common way to not repeat the definite article but still mean the same thing. A Spirit-kind-of ‘tree’ produces Spirit-kind-of fruit, so it is inconsistent here to think of human spirits being given life by the breath of the Spirit to make them a living being. This breaks the parallel analogy of a singular human female giving birth to a singular child versus a singular female Spirit [the Hebrew is feminine] giving birth to a singular child. Just as Jesus is of the same nature as the Father, children of the Spirit are of the same nature as the Spirit. This is an argument in all of John’s writings.
“Born again” or “born from above,” which is it? Here’s some translator notes from the Net Bible:
The Greek word anothen has a double meaning, either “again” (in which case it is synonymous with palin) or “from above.” This is a favorite technique of the author of this Gospel, and it is lost in almost all English translations – see Bible Info on this common problem in many English translations. John uses anothen 5 times (John 3:3, 7; 3:31; 19:11, 23). In the latter 3 cases the context makes clear that it means “from above.” Here, however, (John 3:3, 7) it could mean either, but the primary meaning intended by Jesus is “from above.” Nicodemus apparently understood it the other way, which explains his reply, “How can a man be born when he is old? He can’t enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” Jesus uses the technique of the “misunderstood question” often to bring out a particularly important point: Jesus says something which is misunderstood by the disciples (or, as here, a Pharisee), which then gives Jesus the opportunity to explain more fully and in more detail what He really meant.
“Eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know the kingdom” means what? Jesus uses it in parallel with “to enter-into-for-an-important-purpose eis into the kingdom.” I don’t think there is any coincidence that prophetic eido vision is actually the distinctive WAY NOW in the completely-different-in-kind, superior NEW Covenant that God’s children will NOW yada/ginosko know Him, absolutely no longer by the dissemination of gramma writings about Him through human teachers per Jeremiah 31:34. Here’s some translator notes from the Net Bible:
John uses the word basileia kingdom only 5 times (a). Only here is it qualified with the phrase “of God.” The fact that John does not stress the concept of the kingdom of God does not mean it is absent from his theology, however. Remember the Messianic implications found in John Chapter 2, both during the wedding and miracle Jesus did at Cana and the cleansing of the temple. For Nicodemus, the term must surely have brought to mind the Messianic kingdom that the Messiah was supposed to bring. But Nicodemus had missed precisely this point about who Jesus was. It was the Messiah himself with whom Nicodemus was speaking. Whatever Nicodemus understood, it is clear that the point is this: He misunderstood Jesus’ words. He over-literalized them, and thought Jesus was talking about repeated physical birth (b), when he was in fact referring to a completely-different-in-kind, superior kainos “NEW creation” (c) birth from the Spirit above. <Notes> a) John 3:3, 5; 18:36 [3x], b) being physically born again, c) 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15.
Let’s look at some other references to being “born again from above.”
1 Peter 1:3-4 says: “Praised (a) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (b)! By His boundless mercy we having already ana+gennao begotten/come-into-being again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you.” Can you see that it’s not wrong to think of being “born again” as some translators balk at in John 3:3-7 above where it looks like Jesus’ use of anothen could have indeed forced the conversation to be instead about being “born from above.” Both ideas are quite accurate! <Notes> a) honored, blessed, b) the Messiah.
1 Peter 1:23 says: “You already having been [with ongoing results] ana+gennao begotten/come-into-being again, absolutely in fact not out-from phthartos corruptible-perishable-from-decay [singular] spora sowing-seed, but instead aphthartos of/belonging-to-incorruptible-imperishable-from-decay (a) [singular sperma seed] that is through-the-realizing-channel-of the aphthartos [singular] Logos [that is] routinely zao genuinely-living of/belonging-to (b) God and/coupled routinely meno abiding/remaining-connected-to.”
This explains Christ’s words in John 3:6 above about ‘flesh originates flesh products’ and ‘Spirit originates Spirit products’ for in the natural flesh realm, plants create spora seed-spores to that grow into ‘like-kind’ plants. Similarly, The Sperma Seed of the Father that brought-into-being His only brought-into-being Son per Acts 13:33 and Hebrews 1:5, 5 citing the Psalms 2:7 prophecy of the Messiah when The Grace and The Truth also came-into-being through-the-realizing-channel-of Jesus Christ per John 1:17, well the same singular Sperma Seed also brings-into-being ‘like-kind’ children, who are like the Son who is like the Father, and He does this by the means of their Holy Spirit, being ONE with the Father and Son, This singular Sperma Seed being put inside us AS the Holy Spirit when we become completely-different-in-kind, superior NEW creations when we are resurrected with Christ during our water-baptism. Thus Spirit begets ‘like-kind’ Spirit beings. Human flesh beings have a human spirit by the breath of life given them by the Spirit, but they are NOT ‘like-kind” to the Spirit because of the un-holiness of sin. That’s why many translations are incorrect to say: “Spirit begets spirit.” The argument is for a completely-different-in-kind NEW creation “from above!”
<Notes> a) aphthartos in the genitive case of possession. “[Singular sperma seed]” is inserted into the text for the sake of contrasting arguments because of the opposite use of phthartos, which then points to the [singular] Logos that we know refers to Jesus, not bible or any other thing as if another natural spora seed, but instead a Father’s “sperma Seed that is the one person who is Christ” per Galatians 3:16, 19. And when the Christ as the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in a person to make them a Christian, “God’s sperma See meno abides/remains-connected-to IN them” per 1 John 3:9. In the NT, the Logos is no longer gramma writings made by and collected by men into a bible, but the person of Jesus and His preached message of God about Himself per John 1:1-4 and 1 John 1:1-3 – see Logos Word of God, b) because of the genitive of possession, the Logos in mind is not a thing, like a bible, outside of God but of His own nature. Thus Jesus is always genuinely-living and/coupled always connected to God. Jesus is ONE with God. Jesus stresses this meno connection to Him, the Vine, if we every want to have the genuine-life of Christ, of God, flowing into us to produce any fruit at all – see John 15:4-5, 16.
1 John 5:1 says “EVERYONE who is routinely trusting-relying-faith that Jesus is the Christ (a), ek out-from God has already been [with ongoing results] (b) gennao begotten/come-into-being kai and/coupled EVERYONE routinely unconditionally-loving the [singular] having-already-in-the-past [singular] gennao begotten/come-into-being (c) and/morever (d) presently/ongoing unconditionally-love the [singular] having already been [with ongoing results] (b) gennao begotten/come-into-being ek out-from Him (God).” The context of the whole book is Christians are begotten from God with lasting effects because of their routine ongoing, routine ‘trusting-relying-faith and unconditionally-loving’ in Jesus as the Christ-Messiah, who was not only the “the first begotten of all creation” (e) but God’s “begotten Son, the first begotten into the world” (f) and the “first begotten of many brethren” (g) because He was “the first begotten from the dead” by His resurrection (h). However, John’s emphasis is that this unconditional-love for the first begotten, must also/particularly extend to the other begotten, to the Christ’s brethren, to the Father’s other children also begotten [with ongoing results] out-from God.
<Notes> a) the Messiah, b) perfect participle singular – the same type of individual ek out-from God is spoken of twice in this verse. This is the same type in the perfect participle singular form in 1 John 2:29 ek out-from God that practices righteousness, c) the stark switch to the aorist from the perfect participles, put the aorist further back, another reference to Christ being the only begotten Son of God. Once again John has successfully linked with kai the idea of trusting-relying-faith and unconditional-love as he does in 1 John 3:23, but here the focus is both of these are to ongoingly, routinely be shown to Jesus, but as we will see, that unconditional-love must extend further towards Christ’s children, d) kai used more than once often means more than and/coupled but with a cumulative force, even for emphasis as here: “still, besides, also, moreover, likewise, even, indeed, namely, specifically” e) Colossians 1:15, f) Hebrew 1:5-6, g) Romans 8:29, h) Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5.
Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s [own] having-been-made-workmanship, ktizo begun-by-forming-through-creation-of en in/by/with (a) Christ Jesus upon/aptly-fitting-for good works which God prepared-beforehand, in order than we might walk-all-about/live en in/by/with (a) them.” Like all of God’s creation it is ex nihilo “out of nothing in creation.” It is completely-different-in-kind from everything before it. He doesn’t form the earth out of a ball of mud – The Father’s original thought prophetically speaks it into existence by the Logos-Communicator Son and the Holy Spirit makes dunamis powerfully-make-it-happen. The Godhead works as One with different functions. Christians aren’t made from human flesh, just as John 3:6 explains. Human flesh can only produce ‘like-kind’ flesh. So God starts with something completely-different-in-kind – Himself. So “out of nothing in creation” ex nihilo, God’s own Spirit creates the Christian to be of ‘like-kind’ as a Spirit-kind-of being, no longer a flesh-kind-of being. Wow! He does this INSIDE the Christian who is NOW “In Christ” although our fleshly bodies have still not been ex nihilo made like Christ’s – this glorification/redemption of our bodies to finalize the process of salvation or “restoration to wholeness” fully into “the image of His Son” is called “the blessed hope” per Romans 8:23-25, 29; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3; Philippians 3:11, 21; Colossians 3:4. <Notes> a) the preposition en followed by the dative case both times can mean “in the location of, by the means of, or with the company of. Almost always when used with Christ it means “in the location of” but when used of the Spirit, “by the means of” but elsewhere the context determines. However, the Lord showed me that when it comes to God all 3 have a sense of being true – see Bible Info.
As Christian musicians, are we even “born again from above by the enabling-power of the Holy Spirit?” There are a lot of people in churches, even helping out in the band, that have may have said a quick prayer, but never been “filled by the Spirit” or Spirit-baptized. Then have never felt the presence of God. Most of the genuine, epignosis experience-knowledge words that make up the New Testament testimony of its writers is completely foreign to them. All they know is theology. They were convinced by someone that if they mentally agree with the doctrine and theology, they are saved. But in the previous BLOGS we already have seen that trusting-relying-faith means much more – it is a personal relationship of trust and dependence in the person of Jesus, not writings about Him. You absolutely can’t eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know or enter into the kingdom of God except through an actual experience of being “born again from above by the enabling-power of the Holy Spirit.” And you won’t have to guess if you have! When the sperma Seed of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit you were water-baptized into per Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19, THEN and ONLY THEN are you “born again from above.” You will FEEL God’s presence and power, just as SO many verses promise. There will be grace-gifts of the Spirit, signs and wonders that accompany this NEW creation experience. The only WAY to get zoe genuine-life forever is to experience a completely-different-in-kind, superior NEW creation by being “born again from above.” Otherwise all you have is your flesh self and when you die the “sins of the flesh” condemn you to an eternity separated from zoe genuine-life that IS God.
Lord, we agree with Paul who cried out in Romans 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body/flesh of death? Thanks be to God, You will through Jesus Christ our Lord/Master.” Lord we surrender everything to You so that we can be saved!