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Sunday, January 23, 2011

1/24/11 John 3:3- 8 Born of the Spirit

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

(Nicodemus- Henry Ossawa Tanner 1889)

Thoughts: All who are alive are born to the flesh- physically.  But not all are born of the Spirit.   To be born of the Spirit means to open our heart to the Holy Spirit- asking Jesus in. Jesus expands this in vs. 5 where he speaks of being born of water and the Spirit.  In our baptism we are cleansed of the sins of the past.  In the Spriit we are strengthened to live for the future.  The Church in America today (not denominations and institutions, but the people of God) need to be born anew- with a new way of thinking.  Perhaps the recession is an opportunity for the Church to love things less and love the Spirit more.  The people of God need to be so changed and untangled from things that we are- in reality and in witness to the world- new creations, born again. 

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to be made alive to you.  Change me into a new creation that seeks you above all else.

John Calvin Abridged: The expression "born again" means not the correction of one part but the renovation of the whole nature. It is not translated "born from above" for then Nicodemus would not have questioned a second birth of the flesh.   Christ was not talking about a natural way of being born again (as Pythagorus' transmigration of souls), but that we are born when we are renewed in heart and mind by the Spirit. By "water" is not meant baptism, but an inner purification of the Spirit.  We cannot enter the kingdom unless we are spiritual- though we are naturally only physical.

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