Jesus told Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of His day, that he needed to be born again. Looking at the Greek word ανωθεν , which is the word frequently translated " again " we find the passage is literally saying " You must be BORN FROM ABOVE. " This can be found in the third chapter of the gospel of John verses 3 through 7. In John 1:12,13, the beloved disciple calls this being born of God.
This is the same Greek word, ανωθεν that is used when it talks about the veil of the temple being torn from TOP to bottom at the death of Jesus. This is also the same Greek word that is used when lots were cast for His garments and His tunic was of one piece woven from the TOP in one piece. ( John 19:23 )
ανωθεν is used on rare occasions to mean anew. That is probably why Nicodemus was confused and thought that Jesus was talking about re-entering the womb of his mother. Jesus corrected that thinking and made it clear that He was talking about a birth from above, ie., a birth from the Holy Spirit.
When I was a young person, I failed to read these verses in context, and thought that being " born of water and the Spirit " meant water baptism, WHICH IT MOST CERTAINLY DOES NOT !
Lets look at John 3:3. " Jesus answered and said to him ( Nicodemus ) , Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born from above ( born a second time ), he cannot see ( understand )the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to Him, " How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? "
Jesus answered, " Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, " You must be born again ( from above ). " The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. "
Why am I saying born from above ? Because that is what it says in the Greek ! The word, which is translated as " again " in most popular Bibles, is ανωθεν. Nearly all the Greek dictionaries and interlinears tell us that this word means not again,
but " from above ".
What did Jesus mean, anyway ? First of all, there are two kinds of births. The first is the natural birth. ( the birth from the bag of water in the mother's womb ) The second is the spiritual birth, what Jesus called being born from above. Just as you couldn't accomplish your natural birth, you can't accomplish your spiritual birth. Only God can create a new you!
The process of New Testament ( New Covenant ) salvation is described in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, chapter 31,
verses 31-34 :
" Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the COVENANT that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, " Know the LORD," for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. " "
" Thus says the Lord GOD: ' "I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one HEART, and I will put a new SPIRIT within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. ' "
Only God can give you a new heart. Don't be deceived into thinking that you have been born again by some human process. It is not thru being baptized, or joining a church, or saying a prayer, or walking down an aisle. Salvation is the " ...gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast! " ( Ephesians 2:8-9 )
Only God can give you a spiritual birth ( the birth from above. ) No minister or priest, or church, or any other person of any kind can give you a spiritual birth. Do not be deceived by anyone who tries to tell you otherwise. If you find within you a tendency to do things you know you shouldn't, God is the one to go to. Find a place where you can be alone, and only God can hear you. Ask Him to give you a heart to do the things that are good and right. Ask Him to make you into the kind of person that He wants you to be. Ask Him,- and keep on asking Him, until you sense in your spirit that it has happened! Keep on asking Him until you feel within you the desire to keep His commandments.
The only thing that Jesus said a person MUST do, is to be BORN FROM ABOVE. He never said that a person MUST go to church, or that a person MUST be baptized, or that a person MUST pray, or MUST DO a lot of other of worthwhile things. Of course, these things are important, and are stated in other ways in scripture, but the FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT Jesus says we MUST do is to be BORN FROM ABOVE. When you think about it, doesn't it make sense that the birth MUST come before anything else?
Priests and pastors can't give you the new birth. Only God can make you BORN FROM ABOVE!
Our Sunday AM services are being held at the Mexico Beach Civic Center. In accordance with federal laws, we have permission to use this heated, and air conditioned, facility on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM central time. We begin with a short time of greeting and fellowship, and then TJ leads us in worship. After the service we have holy communion, a time when people can request prayer, especially for healing, and sometimes, a pot luck luncheon.
The Mexico Beach Civic Center is located at 105 N. 31st Street. It is the white building with the dark green roof, which is just behind that new Mexico Beach restaurant, Mango Marley's. It is behind Parker Realty, and is on the northeast side of Rte 98. It is about 7/10 mile south of the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. For a map showing the location of the Mexico Beach Civic Center, click below the photo:
Mexico Beach Civic Center
Map of Civic Center Area
To learn more about Jesus's return, click here: Jesus Is Coming Soon !
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