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Truly, truly; You must be born anew

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posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:04 PM
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“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” –John ch3 v3

Jesus was fond of using the phrase “Truly I say to you”, but this “double” version, with the repeated
AMEN, is found only in John’s gospel.
He seems to use it to mark the statements which he wants people to remember.

This discourse in the third chapter presents three of them in quick succession, underlining its importance.
It is addressed to the Pharisee Nicodemus, who has come to see Jesus under cover of night.
As a spokesman for the more sympathetic Jews, he respectfully calls Jesus “Rabbi”, and says “we know that you are a teacher come from God”.
In other words, he rejects the charge that Jesus is a charlatan, but still fails to grasp his real significance
As commonly happens, Jesus understands and chooses to answer the unspoken question, which may have been “What must we do to be in a right relation with God?”

The answer comes in the form quoted at the top of the page.

Why “born”?
We ought to relate this to the statement in the opening chapter;
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” –ch1 vv12-13
We need to be “born” in order to cross to the right side of the boundary between being and not being “children of God”.

But Jesus says that we must be born ANOTHEN, which has always been a translation puzzle.
“From above” is the original meaning of the word, but Greek writers extended that to “from the beginning” and “all over again”.
So the phrase can be, but doesn’t have to be, translated as “born again”.
Nicodemus himself is hearing and responding to “born again”.
That’s obvious, because he has a very literal understanding of “being born a second time”, which troubles his mind.
However, this can be seen as another example of the “materialistic misunderstanding” which always bedevils conversations between Jesus and the people around him. He tries to teach them about spiritual things, involving the use of metaphor, and they insist on taking the metaphors more literally than he intended.

He clarifies his meaning now with another “Truly, truly” statement;
“Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (v5).
If we are born “of the Spirit” (that is, by the power of God), then our birth has clearly come “from above”.
That is part of what the opening chapter was telling us; “born…of the will of God”.
We need to be “born of the Spirit”, because becoming children of God requires a completely new kind of birth;
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.
If mere “flesh” cannot enter the kingdom of God, then being “born of the flesh” won’t meet our need.
We need something different, not more of the same.


But a birth which is different from the first birth, and later than the first birth, must also be a second birth.
So the concept of “born from above” necessarily includes the concept of “born again”, and we don’t have to choose between the two interpretations.
Modern translations tend to prefer “anew”, to get away from the more literal understanding.

The expansion of the phrase to “born of water and of the Spirit” is understood as a reference to baptism.
One way of expressing the relation between “born of water” and “born of the Spirit” is a definition found in the Anglican catechism;
“A sacrament is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”.
In this case, baptism portrays the experience of death-and-rebirth.
So the physical act is the “outward and visible sign” of the “inward and spiritual grace” that we have begun a new life as children of God.

The active power of the Spirit needs to be portrayed by this visible event, because it isn’t visible at all in the ordinary way.
There’s a useful metaphor in the fact that “spirit” and “wind” are the same word in Greek and Hebrew and other languages.
So Jesus compares our experience of the Spirit with our experience of the wind.
We do not know where the wind comes from, or where it goes to.
We cannot see the wind itself; we can only see the effects of the wind.
“So it is with everyone that is born of the Spirit”.
The origin of the Spirit is not accessible to our senses.
We cannot see the movements of the Spirit itself; we can only follow its effects.

Nicodemus finds himself baffled. “How can this be?” These things will be incomprehensible until he can lift his mind away from the material world.
But Jesus believes that he should have been able to understand these things, because he is “a teacher of Israel”.
The implication is that the teachers of Israel should have been able to learn about these things, in principle, even from the law and the prophets.
The same point is made elsewhere in the gospels.

A further rebuke on the closed minds of the Jews comes in the last of the “Truly, truly” statements;
“Truly, truly I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony” (v11).
How do we explain that enigmatic “we”?
Is this John reverting to his own voice, speaking for the church and addressing the stubborn Jews of his own time, who rejected the testimony of the apostles?
Or does Jesus mean “the Spirit and I”, giving a joint testimony of what they have learned in the presence of the Father.
Either way, the message is that knowledge of what lies beyond our physical horizons must itself come from beyond our physical horizons.
Their new birth will come “from above”, and they need to learn about it from the same source.




posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:06 PM
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It is useful to compare this teaching with what we find in other parts of the New Testament.

We find in 1 Peter the teaching that “You have been born anew [ANAGEGENNEMENOI]… through the living and abiding word of God” – 1 Peter ch1 v23

Remarkably, we find much the same wording in James, where we might not have expected it; “He brought us forth by the word of truth” –James ch1 v18
Paul does talk about becoming sons of God, but uses the metaphor of adoption rather than birth.
We are promoted from slaves to sons.
Nevertheless, he too associates the Spirit with this change- “Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba, Father” Galatians ch4 vv1-6
Otherwise Paul’s preferred metaphor about the new life is one of being raised from the dead;
“… so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” –Romans ch6 v4

In a couple of chapters, we will find John himself using “raised from the dead” as an alternative metaphor.
We can even trace this thought back to Jesus.
For Jesus said to one of his potential followers “Let the dead bury their dead”- Luke ch8 v60
If he could think of them as “dead”, because they were not following his teaching, then he must have believed that his teaching was offering “a new life” by one means or another.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:17 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I sometimes forget that probably 90% of the people on this board really do not know the basics.

Good Post and explanation.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:19 PM
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a reply to: infolurker
While others like to misrepresent the basics, which is another good reason for laying them out.
Thank you for the encouragement.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:23 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel) has done more damage than can be imagined.

It leads people away from the Spirit to worship the physical and has caused those seeking truth to "fall away".



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:30 PM
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a reply to: infolurker
Yes, I'm inclined to think that "prosperity gospel" is one of the things that happens when Christians begin reading the Old Testament "by the letter" instead of "by the Spirit". Because "God will make you prosper" is there in the OT texts.
This is a many-faceted problem.
Enthusiastic literalism is turning the modern church back towards legalism.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:33 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

In this same passage, speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus says:

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their DEEDS are EVIL" ... John 3:20 - "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."

When Jesus says, "This is the verdict" one would do well to pay attention. Tell me, what you think this means in the context of being born "anew" and help me understand this... what does it mean to come into the Light?

Note: Nic came to see Jesus at night.
Again we see the interplay of the literal vs the figurative.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:34 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Good thread D .

1Jn 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1Jn 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
The phrase son's of God is what has been bestowed on us because we will replace the son's of God who were a major part of the divine council .Those that God allowed to become the gods of men from Babel to the Cross where God redeems men from all nations and tongues .



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:45 PM
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originally posted by: wasaka
When Jesus says, "This is the verdict" one would do well to pay attention. Tell me, what you think this means in the context of being born "anew" and help me understand this... what does it mean to come into the Light?

A very good question.
My first thought is that "staying away from the light" would mean "attempting to evade the scrutiny of God's critical eye".
So "coming to the light" must be the opposite. Allowing God to examine your conscience. Or rather, since he will do that anyway, listening to and recognising what the Spirit has to say on the subject.
The connection of that with being "born anew" is that recognition of sin has often been found to be a preliminary to turning back to God.
Those who refuse to come to the light won't see the need to be born anew and won't look for it.

P.S. Yes, "light" is such an important theme in John that I'm thinking of devoting a thread to it at some later stage.
Judas went out "into the night", of course.
edit on 1-5-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 05:57 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” –John ch3 v3
....
But Jesus says that we must be born ANOTHEN, which has always been a translation puzzle.
“From above” is the original meaning of the word, but Greek writers extended that to “from the beginning” and “all over again”.
....
Their new birth will come “from above”, and they need to learn about it from the same source.

I am glad you created this thread because as we have spoken about in the past, I consider that phrase "from above" also supports that Jesus was teaching his closest followers esoteric matters concerning the Light above via one's "eye being single".

That Jesus was a spiritual master is a given - his disciples related to him that way and even called him Master. That he gave them demanding disciplines is also obvious by just considering doing the two great commandments fully. Such is the work of the spiritual master.

And of course he spoke to them about entering the kingdom of heaven, through him. This, and other teachings that were not removed from the Bible by the official exoteric church, point to his essential esoteric message.

Jesus blessed his disciples with their rebirth into the Light from above, and also the Holy Spirit continued this Blessing via descent from above - so that phrase "from above" serves both these purposes, as well as the other ones you pointed out.

An intriguing couple of words. Thank you for this consideration.

edit on 5/1/2015 by bb23108 because:



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: bb23108
As long as you understand that I don't intend to discuss this theme except in terms of what the New Testament actually says, and intends to say.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 06:11 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: bb23108
As long as you understand that I don't intend to discuss this theme except in terms of what the New Testament actually says, and intends to say.

Definitely. I only spoke of what is readily accessible in the New Testament.

And what the New Testament "intends to say" of course is subject to interpretation - just like you are demonstrating with this thread's major theme relative to the words "from above". Right?

edit on 5/1/2015 by bb23108 because:



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 06:31 PM
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a reply to: bb23108

Good Information from Hebrews:

The Supremacy of God's Son

1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?

6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God's angels worship him.”

7 Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”

8 But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And,

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
12
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.[a]
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,

“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Hebrews 2 English Standard Version (ESV)
Warning Against Neglecting Salvation

2 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
The Founder of Salvation

5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,[a]
8
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


edit on 1-5-2015 by infolurker because: (no reason given)

edit on 1-5-2015 by infolurker because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 06:57 PM
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a reply to: infolurker
That is beautiful. I particularly like this:

"He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power."

I think the words "radiance" and "imprint" are particularly eloquent and noteworthy because they describe Jesus as the radiant expression of God, and of his being completely in union with and transparent to God's Light, and thus a conduit to God for all.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 07:47 PM
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I can't even remember the exact words I said or others said from this morning, but those people remembered all Jesus said word for word and retold the stories to others who remembered them word for word and those people told the stories to others word for word that repeated until someone wrote them down word for word.


That is what I find so amazing about it all.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 08:25 PM
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So what am I supposed to be understanding from the two original posts?



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 08:30 PM
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a reply to: JustTheMan
The moral is in the title; "You must be born anew".
The original posts are about getting to grips with an understanding of what Jesus meant by it.
The two main conclusions; we need to be born "from above", that is, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And this amounts to a kind of "second birth", because our original birth is a purely physical one.
It's all there in the OP.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 08:42 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
The moral is in the title; "You must be born anew".
The original posts are about getting to grips with an understanding of what Jesus meant by it.
The two main conclusions; we need to be born "from above", that is, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I have read about various peoples' accounts of receiving the Holy Spirit at the heart. They described it as their rebirth, and felt their heart open in love for God and others. Some also describe this descent as occurring more than once and as an ecstatic feeling of love-communion with God through Jesus.

Would you care to elaborate more on what your understanding of this actual descent is by the Holy Spirit - in terms of what is said in the New Testament?

edit on 5/1/2015 by bb23108 because:



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 08:55 PM
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a reply to: bb23108
It's not possible to generalise, because different people would experience it in different ways.
For some, it might be as you've seen it described.
For others, it might be something less tangible.
Some are just conscious of having made a conscious decision for God.
Others don't have a conscious moment of decision, because they feel they have known God all their lives.
The observation of Jesus that "you can't see the wind, you can only see its effects" has a bearing here. The Spirit doesn't always work in exactly the same way.
We can never know how much the power of the Spirit is actually having its effect upon the unconscious mind, drawing the person in.
(My own experience was described in the thread "How an atheist became a Christian")

The common factor ought to be a resulting sense of belonging to God, being a child of God, through the agency of Christ.
The initiative of God, the agency of Christ; those are the key points of what the New Testament says on the subject.






edit on 1-5-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 09:30 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

OK thanks.




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