Posts Tagged ‘Born Again’

Natural Man is Blinded to Spiritual Things

June 28, 2015

 

I found an enlightening article that goes into more detail regarding what Jesus meant, (as well as what the terms commonly meant to first century Jews) when He told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that he must be “born again” in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Christine

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“Born Again”

Though some people regard the phrase, “born again,” as modern lingo denoting enthusiastic Christians, Jesus Himself used the expression to describe those who have experienced genuine salvation. However, the idiom didn’t originate at His encounter with Nicodemus in John 3.

To the first century Jew, “born again” was a commonly understood term for certain rites of passage in a man’s life. Six different events were so labeled in Rabbinic Judaism. The first was the bar mitzvah (literally, “son of the commandment”), a confirmation ritual whereby 13-year-old boys entered manhood and shared the moral and religious responsibilities of the adult community. A man was said to be “born again” a second time when he married, and the expression was also used if he was ordained as a rabbi. Becoming the head of a rabbinic academy—a position open only to rabbis who were married—was a fourth time the term applied. The final two usages of “born again” were a Gentile’s conversion to Judaism and a man being crowned king.

In light of this, the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3:1-21 becomes more understandable. Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council known as the Sanhedrin, is identified as a “ruler of the Jews” and “the teacher of Israel” (vv. 1,10). As such, he was obviously considered “born again” in the first four ways listed, namely, he was bar mitzvahed, married, ordained, and a rabbi in leadership.

So when Jesus said to him, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3), Nicodemus was naturally confused—he had already been “born again” in all of the four ways available to him. Notice his response: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (v. 4) He was thinking that the only way to go through any of those rites of passage would be to start physical life over as a baby.

The Lord met Nicodemus where he was and then broadened his understanding to include the spiritual: “…Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (vv. 5-6). Though his comprehension was incomplete that night, Nicodemus later showed evidence he understood another way to be born again. (John 7:50; 19:39)

This article is based on the manuscript Nicodemus—A Rabbi’s Quest by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. For more information, visit http://www.ariel.org/.

With that in mind, let’s look at reasons why people who do not understand Christian faith often ridicule, denigrate, and even hate Jesus Christ, hate the Word of God – the Bible,  as well as hate those of us who wholeheartedly believe in God’s Living Word – Jesus Christ, and God’s written Word – the Bible.

First of all, it is a fact that natural man is blinded to spiritual things.  How do I know this?  Because I have been there.

Non-believers, skeptics, agnostics and atheists often attempt to use logical reasoning to explain away humanity’s need for redemption. In their prideful hearts and minds, Jesus Christ dying on the cross for man’s sins is a ridiculous notion.

In my discussions with several people who reject Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent resurrection to life, I have often found similarity in the reasons they hold for such rejection. When I share, explain and exhort the Gospel message they not only out rightly reject that message, they also cannot comprehend God’s truths as revealed in the Bible.

Why?

The Bible calls such incomprehension as beingspiritually discerned.”

1 Corinthians 2:14 – But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

In Pastor Chuck Smith’s commentary, he simply states:

v. 14 The natural man is blinded to spiritual things.

In Pastor Chuck Smith’s sermon notes, he goes into great detail about what is the natural man? He also shares many Scripture links which describe why natural man is indeed “blinded” to spiritual things.

In this post, I’d like to particularly focus on the following sermon notes:

B. What does Paul have to say about the natural man?

1 “He receives not the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him.”

a. You try to talk to him about spiritual things and you may as well be talking to a Barbie Doll.

b. There is absolutely no comprehension.

c. Sometimes they will listen patiently if they are cultured, and others will just get angry and scream at you.

Been there; experienced that!

Pastor Smith goes on to explain:

a. They are spiritually discerned.

b. So he lacks the faculties by which they are known and understood, (i.e. the spiritual nature).

c. You might say with equal logic, the blind man cannot appreciate the beauty of a sunset.

d. The deaf man cannot know the glories of the symphony.

e. They lack the faculties by which these things are known.

Many of the people who reject the Gospel of Christ are intelligent; often extremely intelligent.

So what is the problem?

Why can’t they grasp what born-again believers in Christ are sharing?

Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that logical reasoning is not an absolute law that governs the universe, nor is it a set of rules that govern behavior.

One must decide whether logic is the right “tool” for the job. There are other ways to communicate, discuss and debate.

Jesus tells us in John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Just two verses down in John 3:5, Jesus says it again – 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.

And then again in John 3:7 – Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Must be extremely important because Jesus mentions it three times within 5 sentences (verses)!!

What must happen before being born again? One must have faith in who Jesus is!!

Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

Faith is daring the soul to believe what the eyes cannot see.

Logical irreverence dictates, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” whereas faithful devotion enables one to “believe it, then I’ll see it.”

Intellectual pride, rationalizations and excuses all keep people from God. The Gospel seems foolish to those who forsake faith and rely on their own understanding.

What happens to those who are not born again in the Spirit through Jesus Christ?

Romans 8:9 – But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We don’t belong to Christ until we are born again of the Spirit!! All the church going, tithing, chorus singing, good deed doing, works of the flesh etc. will not make you one of His!

When Jesus ask us, “Who do you say that I am?” what is your response??

Matthew 16:16 – And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6:69 – And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus emphasizes the importance of faith:

“Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)


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