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Born Again: The Lost Meaning of John 3:3

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  • Born Again: The Lost Meaning of John 3:3

    In Christian circles the term "born again" is very common, so much so that I believe sometimes it has lost the force of its original meaning. This video explores four key lessons from the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus about being born again. And in it, we also explore a derelict house, since it is a good illustration of certain aspects of being born again.

    What is most meaningful to you about being born again?


  • #2
    Greetings Jeff,

    I believe that there is evidence that the "water" of John 3:3 is the water which is "a purification for sin" (Num.19:9) which had flowed over the ashes of the red heifer, a sin offering under the law.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting thought, thank you Jerry. Do you think the other times John speaks of water (John 4:13-14; John 7:37-38) are also references to the sin offering?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jeff Wickham View Post
        Interesting thought, thank you Jerry. Do you think the other times John speaks of water (John 4:13-14; John 7:37-38) are also references to the sin offering?
        Jeff, not in all instances. But do you think that the "water" John speaks of in the following verse is referring to the Spirit?:

        "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth" (1 Jn.5:6).

        Let us look at the following verse which is also speaking of the new birth of John 3:5:

        "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing (loutron) of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"
        (Titus 3:5; NIV).

        In regard to the Greek word loutron Sir Robert Anderson writes that "the LXX uses it twice; namely in Cant. iv.2 (where it is the washing place for sheep); and in Ecclesiasticus xxxiv. 25 where the Son of Sairach writes: 'He that washeth himself after the touching of a dead body, if he touch it again what avails his loutron?'"

        Anderson continues, writing that "This last passage is of the very highest importance here, and gives us the clew we are in search of. The reference is to one of the principal ordinances of the Mosaic ritual--a type, moreover, which fills a large place in New Testament doctrine--especially in Hebrews--namely the great sin-offering with the 'water of purification' (Num. xix.)."

        At Ecclesiasticus 34:25 the reference to " touching a corpse" and "water" is in regard to the sin-offering of the red heifer spoken of here:

        "'The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days.That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean...." (Num.19:11-12).

        A red heifer, which was a sin-offering, was slaughtered by a priest and the ashes were gathered up and placed in a clean place. This sin-offering is a type of the Lord Jesus's death and Alda R. Habershon writes that "The ashes speak of the finished work; for they show that the sacrifice has been accepted."

        Then water was poured over the ashes and as a result the water served as a purification from sin:

        "'Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin"
        (Num.19:9).

        We can also see the Greek word loutron used here:
        "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing (loutron) of water with the word," (Eph.5:25-26).

        At Ephesians 5:25-26 Paul is using the words "the washing of water" in a typical sense, meaning that the Jews received the benefits of the sin-offering by the water and those in the church receive the benefits of the death of the Lord Jesus with the "word"--"the washing (loutron) of water with the word."

        Anderson wrote, "We know what the sacrifice typified, what did the water typify? What is the means by which the defiled sinner is brought into contact, as it were, with the great sin offering of Calvary? By 'the word of the truth of the gospel.'"

        So the Lord Jesus at John 3:5 was using the word "water" in a typical sense where the anti-type is the "word."
        "It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven - things into which angels long to look" ( 1 Pet.1:12).
        "for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake" (1 Thess.1:5).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
          Jeff, not in all instances. But do you think that the "water" John speaks of in the following verse is referring to the Spirit?:

          "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth" (1 Jn.5:6).

          Let us look at the following verse which is also speaking of the new birth of John 3:5:

          "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing (loutron) of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"
          (Titus 3:5; NIV).

          In regard to the Greek word loutron Sir Robert Anderson writes that "the LXX uses it twice; namely in Cant. iv.2 (where it is the washing place for sheep); and in Ecclesiasticus xxxiv. 25 where the Son of Sairach writes: 'He that washeth himself after the touching of a dead body, if he touch it again what avails his loutron?'"

          Anderson continues, writing that "This last passage is of the very highest importance here, and gives us the clew we are in search of. The reference is to one of the principal ordinances of the Mosaic ritual--a type, moreover, which fills a large place in New Testament doctrine--especially in Hebrews--namely the great sin-offering with the 'water of purification' (Num. xix.)."

          At Ecclesiasticus 34:25 the reference to " touching a corpse" and "water" is in regard to the sin-offering of the red heifer spoken of here:

          "'The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days.That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean...." (Num.19:11-12).

          A red heifer, which was a sin-offering, was slaughtered by a priest and the ashes were gathered up and placed in a clean place. This sin-offering is a type of the Lord Jesus's death and Alda R. Habershon writes that "The ashes speak of the finished work; for they show that the sacrifice has been accepted."

          Then water was poured over the ashes and as a result the water served as a purification from sin:

          "'Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin"
          (Num.19:9).

          We can also see the Greek word loutron used here:
          "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing (loutron) of water with the word," (Eph.5:25-26).

          At Ephesians 5:25-26 Paul is using the words "the washing of water" in a typical sense, meaning that the Jews received the benefits of the sin-offering by the water and those in the church receive the benefits of the death of the Lord Jesus with the "word"--"the washing (loutron) of water with the word."

          Anderson wrote, "We know what the sacrifice typified, what did the water typify? What is the means by which the defiled sinner is brought into contact, as it were, with the great sin offering of Calvary? By 'the word of the truth of the gospel.'"

          So the Lord Jesus at John 3:5 was using the word "water" in a typical sense where the anti-type is the "word."
          "It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven - things into which angels long to look" ( 1 Pet.1:12).
          "for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake" (1 Thess.1:5).
          Jerry,

          So you hold the Apocrypha to be on the same level of inspiration as the Bible?
          “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
          ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

          “One and God make a majority.”
          ― Frederick Douglass

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ffreeloader View Post
            Jerry,

            So you hold the Apocrypha to be on the same level of inspiration as the Bible?
            I see no reason to doubt that the quote from the LXX which I used is not accurate even though there are many things in Apocrypha which are not true. So to answer your question, I do not think that the Apocrypha is on the same level of inspiration as the Bible used by the Protestants.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
              I see no reason to doubt that the quote from the LXX which I used is not accurate even though there are many things in Apocrypha which are not true. So to answer your question, I do not think that the Apocrypha is on the same level of inspiration as the Bible used by the Protestants.
              OK. Your post deeply implies you're a Catholic. I hadn't realized that or I wouldn't have asked you what I did. Guess I just hadn't read enough of your posts to realize it.

              As for me, I would never quote the Apocrypha to "prove" a point of doctrine for the fact that the Apocrypha is not inspired and is a combination of error and some truth. To me that makes it very dangerous for a mixture of error and truth gives error much more power as the mixture gives error plausibility.
              “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
              ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

              “One and God make a majority.”
              ― Frederick Douglass

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ffreeloader View Post
                OK. Your post deeply implies you're a Catholic. I hadn't realized that or I wouldn't have asked you what I did. Guess I just hadn't read enough of your posts to realize it.

                As for me, I would never quote the Apocrypha to "prove" a point of doctrine for the fact that the Apocrypha is not inspired and is a combination of error and some truth. To me that makes it very dangerous for a mixture of error and truth gives error much more power as the mixture gives error plausibility.
                No, I am not a Catholic. After all, I said that the Apocrypha contains errors. But that doesn't mean that everything found in those books are in error.

                Perhaps you are willing to tell us what you think that the word "water" at John 3:5 is speaking about?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
                  Jeff, not in all instances. But do you think that the "water" John speaks of in the following verse is referring to the Spirit?:

                  "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth" (1 Jn.5:6).

                  Let us look at the following verse which is also speaking of the new birth of John 3:5:

                  "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing (loutron) of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"
                  (Titus 3:5; NIV).

                  In regard to the Greek word loutron Sir Robert Anderson writes that "the LXX uses it twice; namely in Cant. iv.2 (where it is the washing place for sheep); and in Ecclesiasticus xxxiv. 25 where the Son of Sairach writes: 'He that washeth himself after the touching of a dead body, if he touch it again what avails his loutron?'"

                  Anderson continues, writing that "This last passage is of the very highest importance here, and gives us the clew we are in search of. The reference is to one of the principal ordinances of the Mosaic ritual--a type, moreover, which fills a large place in New Testament doctrine--especially in Hebrews--namely the great sin-offering with the 'water of purification' (Num. xix.)."

                  At Ecclesiasticus 34:25 the reference to " touching a corpse" and "water" is in regard to the sin-offering of the red heifer spoken of here:

                  "'The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days.That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean...." (Num.19:11-12).

                  A red heifer, which was a sin-offering, was slaughtered by a priest and the ashes were gathered up and placed in a clean place. This sin-offering is a type of the Lord Jesus's death and Alda R. Habershon writes that "The ashes speak of the finished work; for they show that the sacrifice has been accepted."

                  Then water was poured over the ashes and as a result the water served as a purification from sin:

                  "'Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin"
                  (Num.19:9).

                  We can also see the Greek word loutron used here:
                  "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing (loutron) of water with the word," (Eph.5:25-26).

                  At Ephesians 5:25-26 Paul is using the words "the washing of water" in a typical sense, meaning that the Jews received the benefits of the sin-offering by the water and those in the church receive the benefits of the death of the Lord Jesus with the "word"--"the washing (loutron) of water with the word."

                  Anderson wrote, "We know what the sacrifice typified, what did the water typify? What is the means by which the defiled sinner is brought into contact, as it were, with the great sin offering of Calvary? By 'the word of the truth of the gospel.'"

                  So the Lord Jesus at John 3:5 was using the word "water" in a typical sense where the anti-type is the "word."
                  "It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven - things into which angels long to look" ( 1 Pet.1:12).
                  "for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake" (1 Thess.1:5).
                  Hi Jerry, thank you for your thorough and well-reasoned reply. I agree that the water represents the word. And the way we avail ourselves of the sin offering is to take that word in. Interestingly, in 1 John 5:6, John mentions the water, blood, and Spirit. But then in 1 John 5:8 he says that they are in one. My current understanding of this passage is that these three are different, yet overlapping, aspects of union with Christ. It seems John was pointing out that while this union certainly involves the right attitude toward obedience, as we take those words in (represented by the water), they have the ability within them to empower us to carry them out (represented by the blood, which is the life). And even beyond that, the Holy Spirit works in us to change us for the better, even while we are not aware of His work. These distinctions are helpful, otherwise people might emphasize one of these three aspects to the neglect of the others.

                  But although these three are separate in a sense, in another way they are the same, even to the degree that Jesus declared, "The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). Jesus is the Word, so to invite Jesus into our hearts is one-and-the-same with inviting His teaching into our hearts. And He comes into our hearts in the form of His Spirit. And as He dwells within us, He gives us His life - His blood - to flow through us. So there is a lot of overlap between the water, blood, and Spirit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
                    No, I am not a Catholic. After all, I said that the Apocrypha contains errors. But that doesn't mean that everything found in those books are in error.

                    Perhaps you are willing to tell us what you think that the word "water" at John 3:5 is speaking about?
                    Jesus spoke of Himself as the living water. And Jesus is the word of God. Water can't be referring to the Holy Spirit in that passage as it would make no sense for Jesus to say born of the Spirit and the Spirit. The word of God has creative power. What God says is reality. When He speaks life to us, it is no different than when He spoke life into existence during creation. It is the same principle at work.

                    John 4: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
                    That is what God's word does for us, if and when we believe and trust it.
                    “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
                    ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

                    “One and God make a majority.”
                    ― Frederick Douglass

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ffreeloader View Post
                      Jesus spoke of Himself as the living water.
                      The living water is the Holy Spirit:

                      "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
                      (Jn,7:37-39).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
                        The living water is the Holy Spirit:

                        "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
                        (Jn,7:37-39).
                        So you insist that Jesus said:Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the Spirit and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


                        That does not make sense in the context of the verse. Jesus would not have repeated Himself like that. He had to have had another thought in mind. Titus 3:5 repeats this concept: but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

                        So once again it is water and the Spirit. The symbology of "washing of regeneration" here is that of baptism according to Strong's. The death of the old man and birth of the new. Baptism is symbolic, but apparently it creates something that is very real in spiritual terms. To me this is once again a reference to the word of God for it recreates us and gives us spiritual insight into our own selves. Hebrews 4:12 tells us the word is sharper than any twoedged sword and is capable of exposing the thoughts and intents of the heart and dividing the soul and the spirit. That type of insight is a must in the conversion experience for self-knowledge of our sinfulness is a prerequisite for repentance and accepting Christ as our Savior. How do we come to acknowledge our need of a Savior and who that Savior is? Through the word of God.
                        “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
                        ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

                        “One and God make a majority.”
                        ― Frederick Douglass

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ffreeloader View Post
                          So you insist that Jesus said:[COLOR=red][FONT=&]Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the Spirit and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
                          I never said that. Why don't you actually read what I said?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Being born of water and of the Spirit is at the same time concerning the same thing.


                            John 3:3 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.


                            That water is about cleansing…washing of away of our sins. So then, we must be born again by water is about the washing away of our sins that happens after we repent of our sins. Being born of the Spirit happens after we repent and the Holy Spirit lives in our heart and we are made clean, we are saved, born again. We have a new life, it is more than just starting over without any sins, but actually being reconciled to God and we are a new creation with the Spirit of God in us. We are to live our new life through the Spirit---living through the Spirit is obeying Jesus' teachings.

                            Titus 3:5... He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

                            Paul in the letter to Titus says we are SAVED---BORN AGAIN, by the receiving of the Holy Spirit and WASHING and living according to the Word of God.
                            Last edited by God's Truth; October 22nd, 2019, 12:41 PM.
                            Oh how I love the Word of God!

                            Do not just read the word do it.

                            Comment

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