John 3 and Election

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by The Archangel, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. The Archangel

    The Archangel
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    John 3 has long-since been troubling to me. I have never been able to figure out that blasted "unless you are born of water and of the spirit" thing. I've heard some good explainations; I've heard some downright bizzare interpretations.

    I won't clog this thread by posting the entire passage--I'm sure that you all have Bibles and you all know how to read. [​IMG]

    I will, however, take some verses and try to make sense of them.

    John 3:3 (ESV)
    Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."


    Can anyone say "DUH?" Although, the greek is purposly ambiguous. It can mean "born again" and it can mean "born from above." Given the statement, It probably means both.

    John 3:4-5 (ESV)
    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?" [5] Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.


    Here is where the goofy-ness comes in. This is weird! What is Jesus talking about? Obviously, Jesus expects Nicodemus to know this--Right? I mean Jesus chastizes Nicodemus for not knowing this in verse 10 John 3:10 (ESV)
    Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?


    What does this mean? Look at Ezekiel 36:24-28

    Ezekiel 36:24-28 (ESV)
    I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. [25] I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. [26] And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. [28] You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.


    Do you see that? The "born of water" points to v. 25. God cleanses with "water" (I do think that water, here, is symbolic language). Then, God gives a new heart (of flesh, to replace the one of stone). Also, God gives His spirit into the person (thus the "born of the spirit" part of John 3:5). Following that, God is the One who causes the person to walk in His ways and obey His statutes.

    What can we see from these passages?

    1. Regeneration preceeds redemption.

    WHY? The order of operation in Ezekiel is the cleansing first THEN the new heart THEN the spirit.

    NOTICE, however, it is ALL God's doing.

    2. We are in need of cleansing before the new heart and spirit are given.

    3. We posess, by default, a heart of stone.

    God cannot use our hearts of stone. Therefore, He (not we) replaces them with a heart of flesh. (Is Ephesians 2:1 ringing in your ears?)

    4. God is the One who guarentees that we walk according to His ways.

    How does this resonate with Calvinism?

    1. Effectual Call
    2. Total Inability
    3. Irresistable Grace
    4. Perseverance of the Saints

    (These 4 points are not meant to correspond to the above 4 points--also, they are not meant to be the "4 Points of Archangel's Modified Calvinism")

    Now, I know that many of you will meet this with great consternation and a passionate response will ensue. Good. Discussion is always a good thing!

    Blessings to all, enjoy the topic and discuss like brothers and sisters in Christ!

    Archangel
     
  2. KenH

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    I am comfortable with the idea of water being a symbol for the gospel.
     
  3. The Archangel

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    Hi Ken!

    Is that to say that it is the Gospel that cleanses? I don't know about that. Certainly the Gospel is quite "powerful." However, if it is the Gospel that cleanses, why is not everyone cleansed when they hear the Gospel?

    I think that the water is symbolic of the work fo regeneration that the Holy Spirit does. Actually, perhaps the whole Ezekiel passage is about the work of the HS in regeneration.

    I'll have to think on this more.

    Have a good saturday!

    Archangel
     
  4. npetreley

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    I always wondered about this, too. Here are some possibilities (from the obvious to the bizarre...):

    1. Symbolic: cleansed, as in baptism.

    2. Symbolic: Washed by the Word (almost same as #1).

    3. Born of water, which means a natural birth as well as a spiritual one (the water breaks).

    4. Created by water (I've read a physicist's theory that God created all things out of water, which is somewhat corroborated by scripture).


    I personally vote for #2.
     
  5. KenH

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    Because one has to be born of water and the Spirit.

    John 4:13-14(NASB)
    13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;
    14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

    John 7:38(NASB)
    38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

    Ephesians 5:26(NASB)
    26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
     
  6. The Archangel

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    Ken,

    Very Interesting!!!!!!!

    Thanks, I'll keep on thinking on this.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  7. Frogman

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    I agree with this. Though I may possess one of the 'wierd' interpretations to offer, I associate this with the word as it is by the word and always made effectual through the power of the Holy Spirit of God that this regeneration and redemption is worked.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  8. russell55

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    I find this verse a little mysterious, too.

    Might Titus 3:5 be a clue: "....by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit..."?
     
  9. Frogman

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    I would say that Titus 3.5 is in strong connection.

    IMHO.

    Bro. dallas
     
  10. ScottEmerson

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    "Born of water" most easily answers Nicodemus' question concerning being born from the womb. The first birth is the physical one - the water - the second birth is the spiritual one. THat is the water and the spirit.

    Reading any more into this passage makes it more complicated than it really is, I think.
     
  11. Harald

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    "Water" in John 3:5 does not mean the Gospel of Christ. That would amount to the heresy of gospel regeneration. A parallell verse to look at (from the NT) for explaining John 3:5 is Titus 3:5. Also here "water" in the capacity of "washing" precedes (the) Spirit. Why would God the Spirit twice put a physical thing like water prior to Himself in the Greek Testament, which He inspired? Answer: "water"/"washing" refers to Christ, who has the preeminence before the Spirit, more specifically to the aspect of regeneration which has to do with cleansing by His blood. In both John 3:5 and Tit. 3:5 the conjunction kai could be rendered as "namely". Substitute "namely" for "and" in both verses and the riddle is pretty much solved. In John 3:5 the word "water" and the word "Spirit" (without article in the Greek) both refer to the same thing, begetting from above, yet emphasizing two aspects of it, cp. Tit. 3:5, which emphasizes 1)a washing (of regeneration) and 2) a "renewal of Holy Spirit" (no article here either in Gr.). Both the washing of regeneration and Holy Spirit renewal refer to the same event, begetting from above, yet highlighting two aspects of it.

    Regeneration is a multifaceted thing according to the written word of God. Most of what is taught about it today under the guise of Christianity is heretical, sadly. The Scripture knows nothing about such anomalies as decisional regeneration, baptismal regeneration, faith regeneration, gospel regeneration, Bible regeneration, sermon regeneration. The only regeneration the Bible knows and teaches about is sovereign divine regeneration of dead sinners by the living voice of the Son of God, through the Holy Spirit of God. God the Triune Jehovah is the sole Regenerator, Him and no one else. Some call the biblical doctrine of regeneration by the term "Holy Spirit regeneration".

    Harald
     
  12. Frogman

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    Brethren,

    Perhaps this is way off, but I have wondered at the order of the Altar of sacrifice and the Brass Laver in the tabernacle and temple worship. The Laver is no doubt for the washing of the priest before entering into the tabernacle and/or temple.

    I view this as typical of the Spirit as well.

    Perhaps I should start another thread, but if you deem these related what are your thoughts?

    Bro. Dallas
     
  13. ScottEmerson

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    THat is a big assumption - that of kai translating of namely. Where else do we see John use that grammar employed? If we cannot find any other instances of this, then why should we here and here alone say that water and Spirit are the same thing? Is it because doctrine guides our hermeneutics?
     
  14. ScottEmerson

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    And has anyone here read the next verse. This lends credibility to "born of water" as a physical birth. Jesus says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (3:6). This is a clear parallel to the born of water and born of Spirit.

    To read anything about regeneration into "born of water" is to read something that isn't there.
     
  15. Frogman

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    Except that it is the Spirit that regenerates, this is my understanding of the paralell.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  16. russell55

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    I wouldn't translate "kai" as namely, either, but --despite the next verse which mentions two births--the underlying language structure of this verse seems to suggest that it is one birth, by water and the Spirit, rather than two births, one by water and one by the Spirit.
     
  17. Harald

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    Wiser men have argued that the absence of a second ek before Spirit in John 3:5 indicates that "water" and Spirit refer to the same thing. It says ex hydatos kai pneumatos - "out of water and of Spirit". Spirit is in the genitive. Or as I stated above "out of water, namely of Spirit". Only a baptismal regenerationist would believe "water" has reference to baptism. The NT refutes the notion that "water" is the written Gospel. Jesus the Lord taught that the written Gospel as preached, the good seed, fell into good ground. It did not create the good ground, but fell into it, mark well. The good ground into which the good seed, the Gospel, fell, was a good heart, viz. a regenerate heart. The Gospel preached (or written and read) falling into the good ground/regenerate heart resulted in fruit. Regeneration must and does precede the entrance of the true Gospel of Christ in power and Holy Spirit, 1Thess 1:5-6. The Gospel of God entering a regenerate heart in the day of God's power results in Gospel conversion, aka Gospel salvation.


    "Water" in John 3:5 can logically and scripturally be nothing else than a purely spiritual occurrence, explained sufficiently by the words "washing of regeneration" of Titus 3:5, which to me speaks of inward cleansing of a sinner's soul by the blood of Christ applied in the Holy Spirit. This is a thing co-simultaneous to Holy Spirit renewal of the same verse.

    The Gospel is impotent when it comes to the new birth, it has no inherent regenerating power. By definition the word Gospel is Good Tidings. The only Word able to regenerate is the Living Word incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ. By His voice echoing in the spiritual realm are dead sinners quickened into spiritual life. The purpose of the Gospel is not to impart life, but to inform a regenerate sinner about spiritual things and realities as the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ and shows them to him. To believe anything else as regards regeneration than instantaneous and sovereign Holy Spirit regeneration apart from means is soteriological superstition.

    Harald
     
  18. ScottEmerson

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    And you have provided no evidence against the easiest translatoin - that of birth of water as being a physical one. Titus 3:5 does not exactly parallel, and you are "forcing" it as such.
     
  19. ScottEmerson

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    But at least you are willing to admit that verse 6 suggests two verses. Why do you think Jesus would change like that?
     
  20. The Archangel

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    And you have provided no evidence against the easiest translatoin - that of birth of water as being a physical one. Titus 3:5 does not exactly parallel, and you are "forcing" it as such. </font>[/QUOTE]Hello Scott!

    On the water being from physical birth:

    That is not likely. Why? Jesus slams Nicodemus for "Not knowing these things." What is he talking about? Being born from above; being washed of the water; and being born of the spirit.

    Jesus says to Nic., "Are you the teacher of Israel and not know these things?"

    Your interpretation, which I have heard before too, would only make sense if Jesus chastized Nic. by saying, "Are you the physician of Israel..." or "Are you the gynecologist of Israel..."

    But Jesus, as in other cases, is yelling at him for not knowing the scriptures. Nic. thought of being born from his mother a second time. Jesus says that this is a clearly wrong-minded thing. I have no good reason to believe, therefore, that the water refers to birth.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     

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