Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #815 MP3 Audio File Video File

Born of Water and the Spirit

John 3:4-8

Delivered 06/26/16

We began chapter 3 of the Fourth Gospel last week which continues the emphasis on beginning new; there was new wine, a new temple, and new birth. In this chapter we met Nicodemus, a man who was a Jew, a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin (the highest legal, legislative and judicial body of the Jews), and a highly respected teacher of the Hebrew Scriptures. Nicodemus is the cream of the Jewish crop. This is one of the most formidable men in the religious system of Israel. And remember that Judaism was established by Yahweh. But at the time of the first century Judaism was apostate, they have forsaken Yahweh, and He had departed from them.

To Nicodemus, this high ranking religious official, Yeshua says, "You must be born from above" all your accomplishments won't get you into the Kingdom of God:

Yeshua answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 NASB

Nicodemus' brand of Judaism didn't understand the need for a new birth. The Pharisees thought one birth, that into Judaism, was enough. Notice what John the Baptizer said to the Pharisees:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:7-10 NASB

For the Jews in Yeshua's day, to be born a Jew was to be born into the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus thinks that his birth alone as an Israelite assures him of seeing the Kingdom of God. But Yeshua tells him that his natural birth (as an Israelite) will not save him, and that he must be reborn from above. Notice what Paul said about Israel:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; Romans 9:6 NASB

"They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel"—the purpose of this distinction is to show that the covenant promises of God did not have respect to Israel after the flesh, but to true Israel; Yeshua and all who trust in Him. Therefore, the unbelief and rejection of ethnic Israel as a whole in no way interfered with the fulfilment of God's covenant purpose and promise. Nicodemus was an Israelite after the flesh, but he was not a true Israelite. Just as he was born into the nation Israel, he had to be born into the true Israel. Notice his response to Yeshua's statement that he had to be born from above:

Nicodemus said to Him, "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?" John 3:4 NASB

He interprets Yeshua's use of anothen to mean "born again." If you remember last week I said that the word translated "again" is anothen, which has a double meaning, it could mean either "again" or "from above." Nicodemus takes the meaning of "again."

Nicodemus did not understand what Yeshua was talking about at all. At this point he could not believe that new birth was a requirement for entrance into the Kingdom and was amazed by the very thought. His response is therefore marked with unbelief, which prompts him to reply with a crassly literalistic interpretation of what Yeshua said, as a way of expressing a certain degree of scorn. He knew he couldn't crawl back into his mother's womb.

Yeshua answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5 NASB

"Truly, truly"—literally, this is "Amen! Amen!" This double "Amen" found in the initial position in a sentence was a unique way of drawing attention to Yeshua's significant, trustworthy statements, or revelation from Yahweh.

Nicodemus' misunderstanding leads Yeshua to explain His point slightly differently. Here He says, "born of water and the Spirit," which is just a different way of saying, "born from above" in verse 3. Here Yeshua says he, "cannot enter the kingdom of God," which is another way of saying he, "cannot see the kingdom of God" in verse 3. So Yeshua is saying the same thing, but in a different way so Nicodemus will get it. So what he is saying in verse 5 was something that Nicodemus should understand.

There is great controversy today over what Yeshua means by "born of water and the Spirit"—the definite article translated "the" before "Spirit" is absent in the Greek text. The English translators have inserted it to clarify their interpretation of "spirit" (pneuma) as the Holy Spirit.

What do you think is the most common understanding of water in this verse?

The word "water" here is understood by the majority of contemporary commentators to refer to Christian baptism, though there is little agreement amongst them on the relation between "water" and "Spirit."

Some commentators take the "water" as an allusion to water baptism, and the "spirit" as referring to the Holy Spirit. According to this view, spiritual birth happens only when a person undergoes water baptism, and as a result experiences regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

In considering audience relevance, Christian baptism would have had no significance for Nicodemus. He knew nothing of Christian baptism. And it's interesting that Yeshua never mentioned water baptism again in clarifying the new birth to Nicodemus.

Another view proposed by many scholars is that "water" is an allusion to the amniotic fluid in which a fetus develops in its mother's womb. Other scholars see it as a euphemistic reference to the semen, without which natural birth is impossible. Rabbinic literature quite often refers to male semen as "water," "rain," "dew," and similar terms. So this interpretation understands "water" to refer to normal physical birth, which is common to everyone, and "Spirit" to refer to the spiritual birth, which is essential for life in the Kingdom.

This view assumes that two births are in view, whereas the construction of the

Greek phrase favors one birth rather than two. If two were in view, there would normally be a repetition of the preposition before the second noun. Also, the entire expression "of water and the Spirit" is the equivalent of anothen, "from above," if there is genuine parallelism between verse 3 and verse 5, and this too argues that the expression should be taken as a reference to one birth, not two.

What would be the point of telling Nicodemus or anyone that they have to be born physically and then spiritually? If they are hearing Yeshua speak, they have already been born physically!

The Pillar New Testament Commentary states, "The most plausible interpretation of 'born of water and the Spirit' turns on three factors. First, the expression is parallel to 'from above' (anothen, v. 3), and so only one birth is in view. Second, the preposition 'of' governs both 'water' and 'spirit.' The most natural way of taking this construction is to see the phrase as a conceptual unity: there is a water-spirit source (cf. Murray J. Harris, NIDNTT 3. 1178) that stands as the origin of this regeneration. Third, Yeshua berates Nicodemus for not understanding these things in his role as 'Israel's teacher' (v. 10), a senior 'professor' of the Scriptures, and this in turn suggests we must turn to what Christians call the Old Testament to begin to discern what Yeshua had in mind."

Judaism expected the Kingdom of God to be the Age of the Spirit. The pouring out of the Spirit of God was an important part of Old Covenant expectations for the Messianic Age:

"It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. "Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. Joel 2:28-29 NASB

Joel spoke of the pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh. Isaiah 32:15-20 looked forward to a time when peace and righteousness would be restored on earth and the Spirit would be poured out from above. When water is used figuratively in the Tanakh, it habitually refers to renewal or cleansing, especially when it is found in conjunction with "spirit."

'For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants; Isaiah 44:3 NASB

Here we see the connection of water and spirit. Most important to our discussion is:

"For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from 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 be careful to observe My ordinances. Ezekiel 36:24-27 NASB

Here the water and spirit come together, the first to signify cleansing from impurity, and the second to depict the transformation of heart that will enable people to follow God wholly.

So the revelation that Yahweh would bring cleansing and renewal as water, by means of His Spirit, was clear in the Tanakh. Yeshua evidently meant that unless a person has experienced spiritual cleansing and renewal from the Spirit of Yahweh, he cannot enter the Kingdom.

As I said earlier, the construction of the phrase in the Greek text indicates that the preposition "of" governs both "water" and "Spirit." This means that Yeshua was clarifying regeneration by using two terms that both describe the new birth. He was not saying that two separate things have to be present for regeneration to happen.

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6 NASB

Two words are being contrasted here, flesh and spirit. In the Greek it is sarx versus pneuma. In Paul's letters he will often contrast these two words, but in the Fourth Gospel the contrast appears only here. In the Synoptic Gospels the sarx versus pneuma contrast appears only in Mark at Yeshua's prayer at Gethsemane:

"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Mark 14:38 NASB

What is the context of "flesh" in John 3:6 and Mark 14:38? Human frailty, not sinful nature. Until now man has only thought in terms of "birth" in human terms: the seed of man bears children. Man is "begotten" by the seed of a human father and becomes "flesh" when he is born in the kingdom of the world. But Yeshua tells Nicodemus that man can enter the Kingdom of God only when man is "born" of the heavenly Father, born from above. Earthly life comes to man only from an earthly father; eternal life comes only from the heavenly Father.

Yeshua is saying, "No longer is being in Covenant with God a question of being born in the physical line of Abraham, but of being born from above through the action of the Holy Spirit by means of life giving water to become a child of God."

The only reality that flesh can produce is flesh. The spiritual "Kingdom of God" can only be entered by that which is "spirit":

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 1 Corinthians 15:50 NASB

That which is Spirit can only be generated by the Holy Spirit. The point is that natural, human birth produces people who belong to the earthly family of humankind, but not to the children of God. Only the Spirit gives birth to spirit:

and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Romans 8:8-9 NASB

That means that the man of the flesh cannot please God. Does faith please God? Yes, it does. But the man who is in the flesh cannot please God. What does he need? He needs an operation of God the Holy Spirit by which he is taken out of the flesh and given new life, being placed in Christ.

This would have all been difficult for Nicodemus to grasp. He viewed acceptance by God like so many of his Jewish contemporaries did. He thought that his heritage (ancestry, position, works, all that made him what he was) was adequate to get him into the Kingdom and make him acceptable to God. He had to realize that he needed a complete spiritual cleansing and renewal that only God could provide by His Spirit! Likewise today, most people are relying on themselves, who they are and what they have done, for acceptance with God.

"Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' John 3:7 NASB

This word translated "again" is the Greek word anothen. It is derived from an adverb that means "above" so that "again" may mean simply "from above." This same word is used in:

"He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. John 3:31 NASB

Here we see it has the force of "from above" or "from heaven."

Nicodemus shouldn't have been amazed at the idea that there is a spiritual birth in addition to a physical birth, since the Tanakh spoke of it (Ezek. 36:25-28). There is also an intertestamental reference from Jubilees 1:25 says, "I will create in them a holy spirit and I will cleanse them … I will be their Father and they shall be my children." The Essenes of Qumran wrote in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls that God would cleanse man, "of all wicked deeds by means of a holy spirit; like purifying waters He will sprinkle upon him the spirit of truth." These texts revealed that entrance into the Kingdom is a spiritual matter, not a matter of physical descent or merit. This was a revelation that most of the Jews in Yeshua's day, including Nicodemus, missed.

The first "you" in this text is singular, referring to Nicodemus, but the second "you" is plural, referring to a general principle applicable to all human beings. The plural "you" sets Yeshua over against not just Nicodemus, but the entire human race.

The word "must" is from the Greek verb dei, which is present active indicative, which literally means: "It is necessary." It denotes things that must occur for the plan of God to move forward (BAGD 172).

From this point on in this Gospel Yeshua makes no further mention of being born again, or being born of the Spirit, nor does He mention the Kingdom (except in His defense in 18:36), but He does mention repeatedly the fact that He came so that we might have "life" or "eternal life." To enter the Kingdom is to have eternal life.

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8 NASB

Both the Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma can mean "breath" or "wind" as well as "spirit," though in the New Testament any meaning other than "Spirit" is rare. This is a clever play on both meanings of the word pneuma in this passage and Biblical scholars point out that we do not get the same sense of the word-play when translated into English. There is word-play also in the use of the word "sound"; "you hear the sound of it, is literally, "voice." The word-play suggests the "sound" of the wind, but the "voice" of the Spirit. This coming of the Holy Spirit is not something that can be explained by man, and yet it happens. The wind cannot be seen, but its sound can be heard; the Spirit cannot be seen, but the Spirit's voice is heard in the hearts for those who have been regenerated by the Spirit's gift of new birth.

What are the similarities here between the wind and Spirit? First, both the Spirit and the wind operate sovereignly. Man does not and cannot control either one. Second, we perceive the presence of both by their effects. Third, we cannot explain their actions, since they arise from unseen and partially unknowable factors; they are mysterious.

So he is making clear that the new birth is the work of Holy Spirit. When you are born again, you are born by the Spirit. The new spiritual life that comes in the new birth comes through the Holy Spirit. This is really clear in John 6:

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63 NASB

So the new birth and the new life that comes with it is the work of the Holy Spirit. We don't cause the Spirit to bring about the new birth any more than we make the wind blow.

As the "water and spirit" birth is grounded in Ezekiel 36:25-27, so there may be an allusion here to Ezekiel 37. There God's breath/Spirit (ruach/pneuma) comes upon the valley of dry bones and the dry bones are revived; God's people come to life.

Verse 8 stresses the enigma of why some people believe when they hear/see the Gospel and others do not. Lazarus later asserts that no one can believe unless drawn by the Spirit of God.

So being "born from above" and being "born of water and the Spirit" are the efficient cause of regeneration. Titus 3:4-5 supports this reading:

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Yeshua the Christ our Savior, Titus 3:5-6 NASB

The renewing of the Holy Spirit is a further explanation of regeneration. Clark translates it this way: "the washing effected by regeneration is the renewal." The Holy Spirit cleanses us through regeneration so that being born of water and being born of the Spirit refer to the same thing.

There are five characteristics of regeneration—let's look at them and see if we can get a handle on regeneration.

1. Regeneration is solely a work of God.

Regeneration is to bring to birth again. It is a work that a creature cannot do; only God can do it, as Ephesians teaches in:

even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Ephesians 2:5 NASB

We were dead, and God gave us life. When a person is dead, he cannot see, feel or act. Until God gives a person life, he is dead to spiritual things. Man is passive in the new birth; he does no more to produce his own birth than Lazarus did to produce his resurrection:

When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." John 11:43 NASB

Did Lazarus have the ability in himself to obey that command? No, he was dead! He had no ability at all. Unsaved man, natural man, does not have the ability to believe the Gospel. Regeneration is solely a work of God whereby we are made alive.

In our text when Yeshua says, "Unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God" He uses a passive voice in "born," which means He is declaring the necessity of a condition that someone else must bring about on our behalf. The passive voice expresses the subject being acted upon. So Yeshua told Nicodemus, you cannot birth yourself spiritually so that you enter the Kingdom. Someone else must birth you, and apart from that new birth you cannot enter the kingdom.

2. Regeneration is an instantaneous act below the level of human consciousness.

You don't feel it! No one can say, "I felt my new birth." Do you remember your natural birth? No, because it is below your consciousness. You do remember things that happen afterward or things that result from your birth. My earliest memories are from when I was around four years old. My earliest memories of my new birth were when I began to feel conviction of sin. How much does a dead man feel? The new birth is non-experiential. It is mysterious and only recognized by its effects. That truth is illustrated by Yeshua in our text:

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8 NASB

3. Regeneration is effected without means.

Most Christians think that the means of regeneration is the Word of God or faith. But regeneration is a direct act of God upon the spirit of a man. Truth cannot be the means of regeneration, because before a man is regenerated, he is blind and cannot see the truth, deaf and cannot hear the truth, dead and cannot respond to the truth. Truth cannot be the means of the new birth when the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit as 1 Corinthians 2:14 teaches. The increase of light will not enable a blind man to see; the disease of the eye must first be cured. So must a man be regenerated by the Spirit before he can receive the truth. It is solely a work of the Spirit, and that's why we pray for the lost:

Yeshua answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 NASB

You need a new birth before you are able to see.

The Greek text of 1 Peter 1:23 helps clarify the concept of regeneration without means:

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:23 NASB

Those two prepositions "of" and "through" are different. The preposition "of" indicates the source. We are born of God. And "through" indicates the instrumentality. The Holy Spirit gives us life, so we can receive the Word. Regeneration is a direct act of God upon the spirit of man. It is a spiritual resurrection.

4. Regeneration renews the will.

The unregenerate man is unable to be willing. He naturally does not will to please God, so salvation is not of human volition; man cannot will to be saved. He must be made willing by God. This is clearly taught in:

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:13 NASB

Those who received Yeshua were born of God—they were made willing by a supernatural act of God. We see the concept of God's supernatural intervention in the salvation of a person in:

A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. Acts 16:14 NASB

Notice carefully what the text says: "the LORD OPENED her heart to respond…." If you try to deny that the one single reason that Lydia understood and believed the Gospel was because God deliberately opened her heart and enabled her to believe, you are fighting God's Word. If you try to get man's "free will" as the one determining factor into this text, you are consciously corrupting the Word of God.

Steve Zeisler, commenting on this text, writes, "As Paul was speaking, Lydia opened her heart to the Lord." He also writes, "This woman was overtaken by the grace of God, and she opened her heart to the Lord and opened her home to be used." And a third time he writes, "She not only opened her heart, but she opened her home."

I don't know what translation he is using, because the text says "The Lord opened her heart." This is the only place in the New Testament that uses the phrase "opened her heart," and the Bible gives the whole credit for this "opening" to God's power and not to man's will. Arminianism insists that man's free will must furnish the willingness, or power, and the Bible says that the Holy Spirit of God furnishes that power, or ability in the new birth.

How did Lydia become a Christian? The passage refers to Lydia by saying, "the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul." That is regeneration, being born from above!

Theologians have developed what is called the "Ordo salutis" or the "order of salvation," which is the logical order of events in salvation; like some other foundational doctrines, this is not spelled out in Scripture, but it can be logically deduced by looking at the whole of Scripture. Usually these events are indistinguishable in a person's life but the logical order is:

(A) Foreknowledge-

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; Romans 8:29 NASB

Some understand "foreknowledge" as God looking into the future and choosing those whom He foresaw would believe. Are they saying that God gained knowledge by observation? If so, then there was a time when He didn't have all knowledge, and thus He's not an omniscient God after all.

Notice that it is not WHAT He foreknew, but WHOM He foreknew. The word "foreknew" is from the Greek word proginosko. The background of the term must be located in the Hebrew Scriptures, where for Yahweh "to know" refers not to simple knowledge, but to covenantal love.

In this unbroken chain of salvation, all whom God "loved before hand" (foreknew) He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, He justified and He glorified. Now, we know that everybody is not going to be justified, so this must mean that God does not love everybody, which is a truth taught in the Scriptures.

So the "Ordo Salutis" begins in eternity past with God choosing to love certain individuals. Then we see that all whom God loved He:

(B) Predestined— "whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son." The Greek word translated predestine is proorizo; it is the word from which we get our English word "horizon." This Greek word could be literally translated: "pre-horizon." The horizon is the great boundary between the earth and the sky, and the Greek word horizo means: "to establish boundaries." And to set the boundaries, to draw the lines, to establish the limits, is to determine what will be. And to do that ahead of time, in eternity past, is predestination.

The predestination in Romans 8:29 means that in eternity past, God drew some lines. He established a horizon around each person He had foreknown—a set boundary marking him off—a circle of destiny. What predestined means in its most elementary form is that our final destination, heaven or damnation, is decided by God, not only before we get there, but before we are born.

The Scriptures also call this "Election." It is the idea of God choosing whom He loves. Choosing them to be part of His family. Choosing them to be in His presence. The Gospel is the Good News, not of man's act of choosing Christ, but of God's act of choosing man. Election is an idea seen throughout Scripture:

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 NASB

They were "beloved by the Lord" and "chosen…for salvation."

(C) State of Death—

I add this to the list, because I think it is important for us to understand that even though we were loved and chosen by God from eternity past, we were born into the world in a state of spiritual death; born under the wrath of God.

All men are born separated from God so that they are spiritually dead. Every unbeliever is in a state of death:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned- Romans 5:12 NASB

Because of Adam's sin, spiritual death spread to all men. Adam was the federal head of the human race; when he sinned, we sinned. His sin is imputed to all men. In historical theology, man's condition in sin has been called "total depravity." Ephesians strongly sets forth the degree of man's total depravity in sin:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1 NASB

Scripture declares that we were dead in sin, and God acts first to bring about a spiritual resurrection—making us alive in Christ. This represents the next step in the "Ordo Salutis" which is:

(D) Calling-

and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:30 NASB

This calling is an effectual calling, God calling dead men to life. This is regeneration, or a spiritual resurrection:

even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Ephesians 2:5 NASB

Fallen man, in his natural state, lacks all power to commune with God, because man is spiritually dead. Apart from God giving life, man cannot even understand God.

In the "Ordo Salutis" we were physically born spiritually dead—born in a state of death. Then at some point in our life God called us. This is an effectual call, it is a call from death to life. This effectual call—regeneration, is by grace with out means. In a supernatural act, God gives a person a new heart, and he is born from above.

So far in the "Ordo Salutis" we have foreknowledge, predestination, state of death, effectual calling. What is next?

(E) Faith-

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8 NASB

Faith is understanding and assent to the propositions of the Gospel. Let me just add here that a person must hear the Gospel before they can understand and assent to it. They cannot believe what they don't know. Faith is belief or trust in Christ and Christ alone for our salvation. Faith is the response of God's life giving call—regeneration, not the cause of it. Regeneration precedes faith.

So far in the "Ordo Salutis" we have foreknowledge, predestination, state of death, effectual calling, faith. What is next?

(F) Justification or Salvation-

And they said, "Believe in the Lord Yeshua, and you shall be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:31 NASB

When we believe in Christ, we are saved—justified. The Scriptures are clear that faith in Yeshua the Christ is the instrumental pre-condition of justification. For example:

nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Yeshua, even we have believed in Christ Yeshua, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified. Galatians 2:16 NASB

It would surely seem impossible to avoid the conclusion that salvation and justification are upon the event of faith, or through the instrumentality of faith. God justifies the ungodly who believe in Yeshua; in a word, believers.

(G) Glorification

So what is glorification? Glorification is nothing more than dwelling in God's presence:

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:4 NASB

Believers, Christ has been revealed, and we have been glorified! Being "glorified" is essentially being delivered from the damage inflicted by sin, and being restored to the perfection of Adam's pre-fallen condition in the presence of God.

An understanding of regeneration, being born from above, should cause a deep attitude of gratefulness to Yahweh. We didn't deserve to be regenerated, because we dserve wrath, but Yahweh in His love reached out to us and made us alive. This is the Gospel. The Gospel is: "God saves sinners."

GOD—the Triune Yahweh, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power, and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people; the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father's will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing.

SAVES—does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies.

SINNERS—men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, unable to lift a finger to do God's will or better their spiritual condition. This is the Gospel, God saves sinners.

Apart from His work of regeneration, no one would have ever sought Him, and everyone would die in his sins. You must be born from above!

Continue the Series

Berean Bible Church provides this material free of charge for the edification of the Body of Christ. You can help further this work by your prayer and by contributing online or by mailing to:

Berean Bible Church
1000 Chattanooga Street
Chesapeake, VA 23322