John 3:3 (Born Again)

Born Again Edit

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Daily Bible Reading: Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47

Relate: In 1978 Chuck Colson wrote entitled “Born Again” and earlier that same year Jimmy Carter publicly professed to being born again. The term, used to describe a spiritual conversion to Christ, took off like wildfire. By the next American presidential election every major candidate was claiming to be born again. A phrase used to explain an intensely personal experience had become political and it sadly remains so in the eyes of many to this day. More than once when sharing my faith with someone else, they ask, “You’re not one of those ‘born-agains’ are you? Those people are crazy.” Rather than getting defensive I’ve learned to simply smile and respond, “Yes, as a matter of fact we are.”

The phrase as used today carries a lot of baggage, but when Jesus first used it in his conversation with Nicodemus, He was expressly asking Nicodemus to shrug off a lot of his baggage. As a Pharisee and a Jewish leader, Nicodemus’ understanding of God carried with it a lot of baggage regarding race and politics. The Jews were starting to forget that they were supposed to be a light and a blessing to the world and  were more and more getting lost in their own elitist, egocentric subculture. The rules and laws for being a follower of God were growing more and more burdensome as each and every teacher added their interpretation on top of all that had gone before. Nicodemus himself would have been a man in his forties or more at a time when life expectancy meant he had a reasonable expectation to be gone in decade. Most of his life was behind him.

React: The call of Jesus is the same call as it is today to those who would chose to follow him. Put aside the burdens, the pains, the memories, the sins of your past. Be born anew and come follow me. Lay down your ideas and presuppositions and expectations for what it means to be religious. Be born anew and just follow me. Put down that political and ethnic bias. Drop off your prejudices about those of another age race and religion. I love everybody. Be born anew and come follow me. It is time to surrender everything. It is time to start all over. Or rather, it is time for Me (Jesus) to create a new beginning in you. It is time to be born again.

Respond: 

God, I am Yours. I lay aside everything. I lay down my preconceptions. I lay down my prejudices. I lay down my past. Most of all, I lay down my sin. I know that I can only do this because You have paid the penalty for it when You died on the cross. You paid there the punishment for my sins and my failures. There are no words that can express how grateful I am for that sacrifice. I acknowledge that it is only through the cross that I have any right to come to You now. You are my Savior. I lay aside everything so that You can wash me and make me new. Like a newborn child I acknowledge my complete and total dependence on You. All that I have, all that I am, is Yours.

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13 thoughts on “John 3:3 (Born Again)

  1. You’re so right! Politicians identifying themselves as Christians has become a campaign strategy. Christians should learn to scrutinize a persons stance and their actions to uncover who they truly are. I’m at a loss for how our current president was reelected because, by his actions, he surely can only “claim” to be a Christian.

  2. Jesus tells us we can identify His children by their fruit. He warns us of the false prophets who will spout scripture and tout their Christian faith as some sort of accomplishment that deserves a pat on the back. We are definitely surrounded by wolves. As Christians we need to be more discerning and look at the fruit, not just of those in office but of the people in our lives. Thank you for reminding me to keep my hope only in Christ and not in man. Man will disappoint. Every. Single. Time.

  3. A thought that you can hear now very often, (but not when I was young) is that Jesus loves everybody. You put those words also in His mouth:”Be born anew and just follow me…. I love everybody.”. Sounds good; even biblical, but up till now I could not find it in the Bible. Can anybody please tell me exactly from where in Scriptures those words are quoted from?

    • You are looking at two commands and a statement that aren’t necessarily found as one unit but all three are all over the Bible.
      “Be born anew” is simply another way of saying be born again. I was just using it that way because “born again” is cliche and carries baggage.
      “Follow me” is a command Jesus gives over and over again and is still an open invitation for all of us. Of course, it does come with instructions on how: (Luke 9:23)
      “I love everybody” again, the love of God for mankind is laced throughout scripture. The most famous scripture in the Bible (John 3:16) begins and is built on the premise of this love.

      • My question was only about “I love everybody”. Those other two issues are straight from the Bible. But I still don’t know where the Bible says that God loves everybody, meaning all human beings.
        “Laced throughout Scripture” is Gods punishment for all those who hate him. That’s in both old and new Testament.
        Just one example: Psalm 5.
        4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
        evil may not dwell with you.
        5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
        you hate all evildoers.
        6 You destroy those who speak lies;
        the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
        John 3:16 states how much God loves the world. (It is a personal opinion that that is ‘the most famous text in the Bible’.) There are different opinions about the meaning of the word ‘world’ in the last gospel but that ‘world’ would mean ‘everybody’ is new for me. That Gods love is mentioned in John 3:16 is clear. But from there to the statement “God loves everybody” is too big a jump for me. I’m sure you have more and better evidence for your statement because ït “is laced throughout Scripture”.
        The Bible is clear about it that God will not refuse anyone who comes to him. But that’s another issue.

        • Wow. I’m absolutely blown away that the love of God is truly being called into question. Are you serious or are you just playing Devil’s Advocate? The entire Bible from cover to cover is a story of our rebellion and God’s reconciliation. He loves us all too much to leave us to our sorry state but will go to any length to reconcile us to Him. As the wise woman told David, “God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” (2 Samuel 14:14)
          I have to ask, if “the world” doesn’t mean the world, then what does it mean? Who is not included in “the world” and how on earth can you justify their exclusion. He doesn’t say the church, He doesn’t say the saints, He doesn’t say those who will come to Him. He says the world. We are all a part of that. After all, God’s love for us extends beyond and before our justification. He proved His love by dying for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5) He doesn’t play favorites (Romans 2:11, Job 34:19) but longs for us all to come to repentance (Matthew 18:14, 1 Peter 3:9). Who did Jesus die for? Everybody. Just as death entered the world through the disobedience Adam and infected all men, so the obedience of Christ makes life available to all. (Romans 5:12-21 esp vs 18)
          Look at love defined. It is patient. It is kind. It does not envy. It does not delight in evil… etc. To whom does God not act in this way? Who can say God is truly impatient? Who can say He is unkind? Whether they acknowledge it or not, God’s love is evident and available for all. Everybody. It is the most basic, foundational principle in the Bible. God is love.

  4. I agree! Sometimes we get caught up in the ‘politically correctness’ or we want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and stop calling ourselves Christians, or born again due to the negative baggage that society wants to attach to those words. But I for one am not going to led the world dictate who I am. I AM a Christian, and I AM born again! Thanks B.J.

  5. Sorry brother Richardson, for posting my reply to your last reply here. I couldn’t find the reply button below your last reaction. I am reacting on your writing from Febr. 28.
    Wow. You starting with two untrue statements. You being ‘absolutely blown away’? Tell that the marines; the rest of your reply shows it isn’t true. But worst is that you portray me as a person “truly calling the love of God into question”. Completely false! Everybody who did read what I wrote can see that. It is an old and cheap trick to make an opponent out as a different person and then show that person is wrong.
    Maybe I’m too reckless discussing this with a professional theologian, because I never studied theology. But reading Romans 2 and Job 34, I cannot see that there can be found that ‘God loves everybody’. Yes if you separate both your texts from their contexts they support your opinion magnificently. But in university you were not taught to do so. See how Romans 2 supports your opinion if we not only read verse 11 but also 9 and 10. I’m using the NET bible translation:
    9 There will be affliction and distress on everyone who does evil, on the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, for the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
    Does verse 11 mean that people who do evil share Gods love just as people who do good? Or does it mean that God treats Jews and Greek both in the same way?
    In my opinion is God’s love for good or evil people completely not the subject of Job 2. Verse 19 says:
    that God “shows no partiality to princes, and does not take note of the rich more than the poor, because all of them are the work of his hands”.
    Yes, Romans 5 is very clear about it that ‘the obedience of Christ makes life available to all’. But that His love is available for everybody and that preachers and missionaries can tell about that offer of free grace and eternal life to everybody does not mean that God loves those who hate Him, reject Him and His offer of free grace.
    The entire Bible, from cover to cover is not only speaking of God’s love but also of His wrath. You know I didn’t call His love into question, but is there a place for His wrath in your theology and preaching? Is Romans 9:22-23 not speaking of both: “22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction? 9:23 And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory -.” And that God did not “love everybody” during the time of the old testament can be read in Romans 9:27 “And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved,” (NET)

    • This will be my last response regarding this because I don’t want to argue. Arguing will get nobody anywhere and there is no point in bandying scripture back and forth just so each side can demonstrate how they are right and the other wrong. Even if scripture is being “interpreted” correctly, when applied for fighting it is being “used” poorly. Rather than address or discuss anything I said, you came back with more scripture. You still did not explain how the world in John 3:16 does not mean everybody. God loves the world so much He sent His Son to die.
      I think the biggest disconnect comes from two things. 1) You are equating wrath not loving. Growing up, I never doubted my parents loved me. Yet there were times I experienced the full brunt of their wrath. It was not because they, even for a moment, stopped loving me. In fact, their wrath was an aspect of their love. They wanted what was best for me yet I was stupid and foolish enough to do _____. I earned their wrath. I deserved it. Their wrath was a natural consequence of the confluence of their love and my sin.
      Which gets us to the second disconnect: 2) Hell is a consequence of people abusing their free will. Hell isn’t a divine torture chamber for those God doesn’t love. The greatest demonstration of God’s love is the cross. Beyond that, it is my opinion that one of the second greatest proofs of His love is that He allows us to have free will. He is not an autocrat or a dictator. We chose hell. Hell is a natural consequence of our choice to “get free” of God. It is Him that all of us live and move and have our being. Yet many, most, want nothing to do with God. Hell is the product of that desire coming true. Hell wasn’t made for people. It was made for the devil and his followers.
      God loves everybody. To say that God plays favorites is both misinterpreting scripture and misunderstanding one of the defining characteristics of who our great and awesome God is. God is love.
      You said I took Romans 2:11 out of context. You asked: “Does verse 11 mean that people who do evil share Gods love just as people who do good?” Yes. God is rewarding and punishing. Both are aspects of love. Just as Paul said only a few verses ago, “God will repay each person according to what they have done.” God is not showing favoritism.
      Then you asked: “Does it mean that God treats Jews and Greek both in the same way?” Yes, it does. The “first” with regards to Jews and Greeks is one of chronology. For Jew and Greek both, the punishments and rewards are the same. That is made clear in verses 9,10 as you quoted it. Paul also made this same point right before building the case of our sin and a need for a Savior when he wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” The gospel is for both. The gospel has power to save both. The gospel came to the Jews first. As Paul said in another letter, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
      You closed out your response quoting Isaiah from Romans 9:27 ““Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” But you did not finish the thought: “For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” It is not that an unloving God is destroying most while picking a few favorites to be spared. Rather, God who is both loving and just is giving them the justice they deserved while still showing mercy to those who have relied on faith rather than works. Yes, not all received this mercy… “Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.”
      God loves you, Jan de Vries. He loves me. The love He has for us is deeper and richer and more mind boggling than we can ever know. Yet each and every person we come into contact with is loved by God with that same intensity. He longs for them to come to know Him just as He longs for us to know Him more. There is nothing in you or I that makes us any different. There is nothing in us that makes us better. We have no reason to boast, but we have a huge responsibility. That responsibility is to be ambassadors of God’s love to those who don’t yet see it. That responsibility is to love others as He does. If we don’t truly understand that love then we will fail in our mission. He longs for everyone to come to repentance. Why? So they can truly know and experience the love relationship God has made available… for everybody.

  6. We just covered the first few verses JN 3 during our men’s Bible study this week. So simple, yet it confounded one of the most educated and religious men of that day- Nicodemus. Jesus made sure to break it down barney style for him and even precursored it with a couple Verily’s- in other words- take notes and apply my friend if you know what’s best for you. I see where you are coming with the cliche- and it may be so for those who have been conditioned with the terminology. But for those who become truly born-again I believe the term takes on a whole new meaning which is quite beautiful and profound. At least it is to me.. 🙂

    Comment 011 on the Comment Trail

    I like the format of you blog. Good stuff!

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