The concept of being born again is gaining more popularity among Christians, especially with the increasing number of Protestants churches all around the world. Having said that, a lot are still in the dark about what the subject means.
The early church pastors will only ask you; Are you a Christian? How is your Christian life?
This is not the case anymore. I want to ask you today; Are you born again? How is your spiritual life?
Christianity is a lot more than religion. There is a need to enlighten ourselves on this subject matter.
Imagine a whole Pharisee teacher and a ruler of the Jews who do not know what it means to be born again. He did not hide his ignorance but rather went to Jesus to clear his doubt.
This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3 verse 2)
Let’s take a deep dive to see and unveil the meaning of this scripture.
Who wrote John 3:5 and when was it written?
The gospel of John 3:5 was written by Apostle John. Some Christian writers suggested that it was written by John in the second century between 60 AD to 100 AD.
What is the context of John 3?
The context of John 3 simply talks about the new birth in Christ.
This chapter of John is one of the most important chapters of the four books of the gospel (Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John) and should be the most preached in our churches as much as the gospel of Jesus is concerned.
To understand the context of this chapter, let us refer to what happened in the preceding chapter. Jesus was seen where he demonstrated great authority in the temple. He saw some money changers and others buying and selling in the temple. Jesus was very angry and drove all of them away.
And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2 verses 14 to 16)
Jesus’ action on this day raised many questions in the heart of the Jewish rulers. That was what prompted Nicodemus to approach Jesus in chapter 3 of John.
Can you see their response in John 2 verse 18 below?
“So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
Jesus could read these questions in the heart of Nicodemus. That was why he went into the discussion straight away. Jesus’ message to Nicodemus is in John 3 verse 3 below,
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Every other details are explanation of the concept of being born again.
Jesus brought him into a comfort zone. It was an opportunity to send a clear message back to the leaders of the Jews.
Nicodemus answers: How can this be? How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” He wondered how is it possible to have a second birth.
Jesus now explained the new birth principles to him. Verses 5 to 8 below give a comprehensive explanation of Nicodemus’ concern.
“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.’ The wind bloweth 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.”
Jesus reproved Nicodemus for not having been familiar with the teaching of the new birth as the teacher of Israel.
He makes it clear that He can speak authoritatively about things in heaven, and that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. He crowned the justification with the most powerful message of God’s love in the bible.
John 3 verse 16,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus calm the talk with a serene condemnation of sin,
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (Verses 17 to 21)
The chapter ended with John the Baptist’s final testimony about Jesus. He clears the dispute between some of his disciples and the Jews about purification. They were surprised to see Jesus also baptizing people.
You yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. (Verses 28 to 30)
The book clarifies Jesus is the only means of salvation for the whole world. No one can come to God except through him.
What is the message of John 3:5?
The message of John 3:5 talks about the salvation of soul.
The verse of scripture teaches about the salvation of souls. This is simply giving our lives to Jesus, acknowledging him as our Lord and personal Saviour. The verse means except one believes in Christ, confesses his sin, and repents from such sins he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
The process is very simple, it is not a ceremonial procedure. You would need not need to enter into your mother’s womb as Nicodemus asked, of course, this is not even possible.
I will explain this verse using verse 3,
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
While verse 5 says,
“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
The important point to note here is, new birth connotes a newness of life. To be born again means a new birth into a new reign of God in Christ on the earth. Practically, you are expected to go before the lord, confess your sins, have genuine repentance of such sins, and accept Jesus as your Lord.
2 Corinthians 5 verse 17 says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
You cannot have a smooth salvation experience without application of the verse 5. You must be born of water and the Spirit.
Water baptism simply symbolizes a person dying to sin and living unto righteousness. It is an act of our death and burial with Christ and then being resurrected to new life.
Colossians 2 verse 12 reveals this picture.
“buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. ”
Immersion into the water symbolizes death and burial. Raising up from the water of baptism symbolizes resurrection from the dead and the beginning of a new life. Believers enjoy the divine nature of Christ after water baptism. Water baptism paints the picture of your new birth confession.
In the same vein, it is the Holy Spirit that can make a genuine change. He will renew our own spirit by dwelling in us.
Romans 12 verse 2 says,
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
To be transformed, you will need the help of the Spirit of God
John 4 verse 24,
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
With these two virtues combined, your salvation and journey to eternal life will be smooth and exciting.
“Most assuredly, I say to you,” meaning
“Most assuredly, I say to you,” means Jesus was certain about his response to Nicodemus.
Jesus earlier replied to Nicodemus in verse 3. He aims to emphasize his previous statement so he used this phrase to draw his attention to what he was going to say. He also wanted the reply to stick to Nicodemus’ brain.
Jesus then gave a clear-cut statement as to what it means to be born again.
“Unless one is born of water and the Spirit” meaning
“Unless one is born of water and the Spirit,” means every believer must be born of water and of the Holy Spirit.
Some Christians see water baptism and Holy Ghost baptism as optional. This verse of the bible clarifies that. It is a must for every child of God that desires to enter the kingdom. Some believers referred to water baptism as the physical birth or natural birth and Holy Ghost baptism as the spiritual birth. This is not the case.
Water baptism is simply demonstrated by water immersion. Jesus our perfect example also had this experience in Matthew 3:16-17.
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The holy bible also confirms the significance of water baptism in Ezekiel 36 verses 25 to 27,
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
The Holy Ghost baptism is the promise from Jesus to us. He helps believers in our journey. Its purpose is stated below in John 16 verses 7 to 11,
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
The Holy Ghost guides us in our decisions and keeps us on the right path to eternal life.
“He cannot enter the kingdom of God” meaning
“He cannot enter the kingdom of God” means no one can have eternal life on his terms.
Jesus has laid down the rules. No one can change or beat the rules. If you are not born again, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6 verses 9 to 11,
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Unless a man gives his life to Christ he cannot have access to God’s inheritances here on earth and neither can he have life everlasting.
What is the difference in biblical translations John 3:5 (NKJV, KJV, NIV & ESV)?
John 3:5 NKJV biblical translation “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”
John 3:5 KJV biblical translation “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
John 3:5 NIV biblical translation “ Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”
John 3:5 ESV biblical translation “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
There is no difference in the four translations between NKJV, KJV, NIV, and ESV
The four translations are written almost the same and have the same meaning.
How do I apply John 3:5 to my life?
Applying John 3:5 to my life is to surrender to Jesus and live my life for him.
Review your life today and see how you are standing with God.
Are you once born again and have gone back to your old sinful life?
Have you been preached to but you are still contemplating on what steps to take?
Is this the first time you are opportune to read the subject of being born again?
It is never too late. Put aside the earthly things, for they are temporal.
Focus only on the heavenly things and the kingdom of heaven.
Our God is merciful.
Make a quick turn today and see how God will decorate your life.
What is John 3:5 prayer?
Merciful God, thank You for the gift of your son Jesus. I come to you today as a sinner, forgive me my sins and wash me with your blood. I declare you as my Lord and personal Saviour. May you write my name in the book of life, in Jesus’s name. AMEN
This is a call for all Christians. I was born into a Christian family does not exempt you. Every child of God must answer this call. You must get to a point to confess Jesus as your lord and saviour.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3 verses 23 to 24)
I have a piece of good news for you. Jesus offers a free gift of salvation. Your life will never be the same.