In contrast to the Pharisaical teaching that said men could affect their own rebirth through certain works, Jesus says it only happens by God through His Spirit. Nicodemus is hearing Jesus’ words, and I believe he understands what Jesus is saying at some level, about salvation but yet he’s amazed by it.
He must have been asking himself whoever heard of such a thing? More than that, whoever seen such a thing? In verse 7 Jesus tells him not to marvel at this concept.
John 3:7-8 (NKJV)
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows 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.”
Nicodemus is amazed at the prospect that the Spirit of God is out among men every day moving them, granting rebirth yet it’s undetected up to this point by Israel’s religious leaders. How can that be? In Pharisaical thinking, rebirth is a process of works, just like the sacraments of Catholic theology. Therefore it must be tangible, it has to be something men could see and understand. Continue reading
The consequences for our spirit when we receive God’s salvation through faith ROMANS 6 – Part 2
Right away, you reach the core idea of this chapter, the main point of teaching on the consequences of salvation for our spirit. Our old spirit was put to death with Christ and so it has ceased to exist. Paul uses the concept of baptism to explain what happened when we were saved by our faith in Jesus Christ. And to understand this comparison properly, we first need to understand the term baptism properly. The word baptism means a washing and there are two baptisms described in the New Testament. One is spiritual, one is physical. One God does, one we do. One produces a death and rebirth, the other pictures a death and rebirth.
The first baptism the Bible describes is the spirit baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is a baptism of spirit in the sense that a person is immersed by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God comes to live inside a person, so in that sense the person is completely immersed by the Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit is the moment we are born again, as Jesus said to Nicodemus: Continue reading
God’s Salvation By Faith (Part 2 of The Sufficiency of Christ’s Righteousness)
ROMANS 5 (cont.)
We endure suffering for His name sake, in whatever form it comes. Paul says as trials come and we endure them, perseverance becomes a product of that. Why do you persevere in the face of trials? Why don’t you let it get you down or discourage you or put an end to your walk with Christ? Because of what you just read. It exaggerates your hope in what is coming after it. And as we persevere in that way, Paul says that perseverance grows our spiritual character. Strengthening our resolve all the more so the development of spiritual character through trials is the blessing God gives to the believer because that character growth lasts into eternity and it’s the basis of our reward. James says, count it all joy brethren when you face various trials and he goes on to explain the effect of those trials and you will end up with being perfect, complete, lacking nothing, speaking of your reward in the kingdom.. A persecuted church in general is a strong and growing church while a comfortable church is a weak and lethargic church. Continue reading
Our Salvation is not of Works but on the Basis of Faith Alone
ROMANS 4 (cont,)
We’re in chapter 4 of Romans and from the Old Testament, Paul is seeking to prove three basic points related to obtaining righteousness.
First, Paul proved that salvation has always been a matter of faith, not works. He used the example of Abraham as his proof. Abraham was credited with righteousness because he believed in God to keep a promise concerning a future son. He wasn’t credited on the basis of his works, therefore Abraham proves works are not the way to righteousness, it is on the basis of faith. Abraham is Paul’s example to prove that salvation by faith is not a new idea. Its been around since Abraham. Continue reading