This past week I was listening to an audio sermon on CD by Timothy Juhnke, senior pastor of Faith Community Church in Kansas City, MO. I received the CD from Nick a new friend who has visited OBC on several occasions. Nick and I have the great state of Tennessee in our past in common. He gravitated to me when he spotted my bright orange Tennessee Vols jacket one worship day. Sorry I digress.
Pastor Timothy uses the expository preaching style that I love so much and he is taking his congregation through the book of John. The sermon Nick turned me on to is from last year and is on John 3:1-5. A religious leader from the Pharisaical sect whose name was Nicodemus comes to see Jesus in the middle of the night to ask him some soul searching questions. Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus has to be from God. The Lord Jesus states that:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.
Exactly what does this “born again” mean. Nicodemus questions the Lord again displaying that he is unsure what Jesus is saying. The Lord then makes the statement:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now I have read this passage many times and had based my interpretation on what I had heard from someone else. The previous interpretation was that the Lord was saying that you must be born of water, meaning a natural birth, and of the Spirit, meaning the regeneration done by the Holy Spirit when you accept Jesus as your savior and are baptized. But now after having listened to pastor Timothy preach through this passage he refers to an Old Testament passage, the same scripture Jesus is also referring to in Ezekiel chapter 36:25-27. This passage refers to what God is proclaiming through Ezekiel. He will sprinkle clean water on you (born of water), and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses. He will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put in you.
The biggest thing that I now understand better about this passage in John about being born of water and of the Spirit and its obvious relation to the Ezekiel passage is that God is the one doing it. He is the one who sprinkles us with the clean water. He is the one putting His Spirit in us. This totally blows away my earlier interpretation of a natural birth or baptism. It makes so much more sense. I have a whole new perspective on these passages from John 3. By the grace of God I threw off the doctrine of a man centered salvation a few years ago. I now see through sovereign grace eyeglasses and this passage now has new and accurate meaning.
You can hear this enlightening sermon at the following link:
You Must Be Born Again – Timothy Juhnke (May 28th, 2006)
Jacob A. Allee
May 15, 2007 at 12:03 am
Good post. I haven’t decided exactly how I would take this verse. I think there are several valid interpretations, though only one is ultimately going to be correct. I know what it certainly doesn’t mean and that is baptism.
Theodore A. Jones
June 14, 2007 at 10:10 pm
FYI. The only Way to be born again, that is born of God, is by the faith to repent of the one sin of Jesus’ murder for the forgiveness of ALL sin and be baptised to show that you find this Way acceptable. You need to regard that since Jesus’ life was taken by bloodshed that this action is directly accountable to God. The only acceptable accounting to God in regard to the sin of Jesus’ crucifixion is by the faith to willingly obey Jesus’ command Repent for God has said that each man too must comply to God’s demand. The sin of Jesus’ crucifixion is murder caused by blood shed. Therefore since God has made Jesus both Lord over you and Christ Jesus issued the order Repent but it is only by repenting of the one sin of his murder that any man might save himself from the penalty of sin. Just as Adam was under the rule “Do not” or you will surely die. Jesus’ crufixion since his death was caused by bloodshed is the foundation for instituting a new law, i.e. the law (Repent) was added so that the trespass(of his crucifixion) might increase. Therefore he became the sin any man by faith can repent of to save himself through obedience to what has been commanded.
Theodore A. Jones
June 15, 2007 at 2:12 am
Welcome. I am not sure where you are going but if you are saying that faith and being born again comes from repenting of the murder and bloodshed of Jesus you are incorrect.
We need to repent by faith, which is given by God, for our sins. All sins. In Romans 3:23 the bible says “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Also in Romans 5:17,18 That through one man’s sin (this man was Adam) the whole world was condemned. Also through one righteous act the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross that all men who are in Christ will be saved.
You see Jesus had to die. There had to be bloodshed to atone for the sin of mankind.
Does this make sense?
Theodore A. Jones
June 15, 2007 at 11:46 am
Refusing to repent of the sin of Jesus crucifixion because it is the sin of murder caused by bloodshed is also the failure to comply with God’s demand for each man Gen. 9:5b NIV. You are misunderstanding by making the false assumption of there not being a preexisting statue that prevents any direct benefit from the sin of murder caused by bloodshed. However regarding the fact that the crucifixion of Jesus caused his death by bloodshed and the preexsting statue of God’s demand from each man relative to the fact that there is no remission from the penalty of sin without the shedding of blood narrows the only possible Way the Acts 2:38 command can be obeyed to the faith of repenting of the one sin of Jesus’ murder for the forgiveness of ALL sins. It is impossible to sacrifice any human male and have bloodshed as the causitive factor of loss of life and not be required to give God an accounting to his satisfaction. It is true that only Jesus’ death caused by bloodshed could perfect the Way for salvation by faith relative to the factor of bloodshed corresponding with God’s demand for each man to account for taking the life of your fellow man by bloodshed. Jesus was crucified at Passover because Passover’s benefit of having death pass over you is not obtainable by not participating in the lamb’s slaughter but since the Lamb of God is the only begotten son of God and is a man he became the sin for each man to repent of to be saved from death. There cannot be any direct benefit for any man from sin, but this does not exclude the faith of repenting of one sin for the forgiveness of ALL sins if it has been commanded for any disobedience of any one of God’s commands is served by the penalty of eternal death. Not confessing directly to God that your are sorry Jesus was crucified is a refusal of participating in the Lord’s Passover and for this disobedience there is no escape possible from death for participation in Passover is required of every male Jew and Gentile.
Yes your answer makes sense. The sense that you haven’t had the foggiest idea of why Jesus has been crucified until now.
June 15, 2007 at 9:53 pm
Can you provide scripture to support what you are trying to convey?
If you read Romans chapter 5 you will understand why Christ was crucified. I have provided the first nine verses to support what I have been saying. But scripture as a whole crys out the reason for the death of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 53 is also another good source. In verse 5 scripture says that “He (Christ the messiah) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed”.
Man was dead in his sins and God provided His son as the perfect and only sacrifice that could satisfy is wrath toward our sin and made us alive in Christ.