Scripture Reading: John 3:1-21
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.4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?5 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.
Born again—complete work of Spirit, outside of human power to do this. Undergoing a fundamental and permanent revolution. Not a reformation, but a complete overthrow, removal of the old life and replaced with a new life. Literally means: from above. Nicodemus stuck thinking physically.
Water and Spirit—OT use of water often linked with Spirit. Ezekiel 36:25-27—cleansing by water with giving of new heart. Could be talking particularly of Jewish teacher things about John’s Baptism and Spirit baptism of Christ later.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Flesh and spirit are separate. Even if a person could re-enter his mom and be born again, he would be no closer to spiritual rebirth! Listeth—desire, will, theleo. We can’t discern what all the Spirit is doing. The spirit-born person has a mystery about life too! Where will we end up?
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Those who believed the word were subsequently sealed—a finished transaction, ownership, and security. Earnest—first installment paid as a pledge that the rest will follow. The mode of salvation, the guarantee of deliverance, and the final deliverance are all wrapped up in the security of the Spirit.
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
There is resurrection power in salvation. His power makes us spiritually alive and preserves our new life. The power that raised Christ at work in us! This same power that promises to raise our physical bodies, raises us up to new life NOW!
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Not by works, your flesh can’t flesh itself into spiritual life. Regeneration is the one time act of salvation, renewing is the daily process of sanctification. Spirit is provided abundantly—no lack on His part, only on ours.
Justification leads to sanctification which leads to assurance of complete salvation.
Works are not the foundation, but they are part of the overall building.
Wesley--He desires that all believers should be careful to maintain good works - Have their thoughts upon them: use their best contrivance, their utmost endeavours, not barely to practise, but to excel, to be eminent and distinguished in them
Salvation is the beginning point, the first taste that guarantees so much more to come. If He has the power to save; He has the power to provide all else. When we use His provision, good works take place.
Profitable--True good works benefit other people; not just religious works that make you feel good about you!
Introduces concept of works—what we do with the Spirit