Bible Red Thread 12: A Rescue Offer 1 (John 3)
title : Bible Red Thread 12: A Rescue Offer 1 (John 3)
Bible Red Thread 12: A Rescue Offer 1 (John 3)
Understand this surprising expression: to be born again is “to be born of water and the Spirit”.
Let’s Take Stock: From the necessity of the rescue plan in Genesis 3, through the stages of its understanding throughout the Old Testament, to its fulfilment in the gospels, we have surveyed the whole of God’s rescue plan. Through Jesus, it’s possible to reconcile the Creator and his creatures who had chosen the path of independence. God chose to inscribe this plan in time and space, through the history of humanity, by revealing it in an educational and progressive way. This is the central message of the Bible!
We must be born again: A fundamental question now arises: how to be reconciled practically with God through Jesus? How do you restore your trust in God and be sure that it works? A religious leader in Jesus’s day asked himself the same questions, and Jesus’s answer – we must “be born again!” is rather disconcerting: Fortunately, the rest of the text brings us the light necessary to understand this surprising expression: to be born again is “to be born of water and the Spirit”.
To be born of water: The expression “to be born of water” evokes natural birth, which concerns all human beings without exception. This could make us believe that Jesus is talking about returning to our mother’s womb! But, as Jesus continues to explain to the religious leader, “what is born of the flesh is flesh”. Even if it were possible to return to our mothers’ wombs, that would not reconcile us to God.
Starting my life over, even as best I could, would not reconcile me to God.
Born of the Spirit: Man’s nature cannot change, and the will to change, no matter how intense, is not enough to maintain reconciliation with God. We discovered it with Abraham, the people of God, or David. Only a profound change of nature can allow this reconciliation: this is what the Holy Spirit allows and operates in those who ask him. A change in nature through the operation of the Holy Spirit in us means to be “born of the Spirit” of God. A change of identity allows us to be connected to God again, to become a child of God again, thanks to the Holy Spirit; thus, making it possible to inherit Christ-like characteristics and find harmony with God. This is the miracle that humanity has been waiting for.
It is God who allows this new birth through Jesus Christ
A solution that satisfies love and justice: God’s offer of reconciliation is only motivated by the unconditional love that He pours out on his creatures since the beginning of history. God loves us, so he cannot condemn his creatures. However, since God is just, the promised punishment must be applied. To satisfy his love and his justice, God went so far as to pay the only necessary and sufficient price: to offer the perfect life of his own son Jesus in the acquittal of yours.
The circle is complete: God allows all those who choose to put their trust in Jesus, to enter the Kingdom of God for eternity. By bearing allegiance to the Creator King, we change identity, and again become capable of practising good works that God has prepared in advance, according to his plan to bless us so that we may be a blessing! The circle is complete: God’s perfect plan, seriously undermined in Genesis 3, is once again realized: one people, one territory under his authority!
A fundamental choice: The only condition to benefit from this rescue is to trust God and to believe that our rescue required the death of Jesus. This rescue offer is aimed at everyone, so also at you, personally. Why you? The Bible is clear: you do not deserve this offer. All that you could bring to God is not enough to pay the price of your reconciliation. God’s rescue offer is therefore a pure gift from God to be seized with joy. Whether or not you accept God’s free offer doesn’t change the fundamental choice of this life that God left us so that we may be reconciled to Him in Genesis 3. There is neither an option nor a choice already checked by default. Since the beginning of Genesis, only two alternatives exist: 1. Trust in God and live 2. Trust in creatures and die. Who is trustworthy? So, if with your mouth you declare that Jesus is the King and if in your heart you trust that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans chapter 10, verses 9-10.
With the Red Thread, you realize the perfect nature of God’s plan of reconciliation. God didn’t do all this for you to believe only in his demonstration. But God did this because you are separated from him forever, and only Jesus can reconcile you to him. Your faith must be placed in Jesus for what He has done for you.
1. But there was a man from among the Pharisees, his name Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;
2. he came to him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God, for none can do these signs that thou doest unless God be with him.
3. Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4. Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be born being old? can he enter a second time into the womb of his mother and be born?
5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born of water and of Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7. Do not wonder that I said to thee, It is needful that *ye* should be born anew.
8. The wind blows where it will, and thou hearest its voice, but knowest not whence it comes and where it goes: thus is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9. Nicodemus answered and said to him, How can these things be?
10. Jesus answered and said to him, Thou art the teacher of Israel and knowest not these things!
11. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that which we know, and we bear witness of that which we have seen, and ye receive not our witness.
12. If I have said the earthly things to you, and ye believe not, how, if I say the heavenly things to you, will ye believe?
13. And no one has gone up into heaven, save he who came down out of heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.
14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, thus must the Son of man be lifted up,
15. that every one who believes on him may [not perish, but] have life eternal.
16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.
17. For God has not sent his Son into the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him.
18. He that believes on him is not judged: but he that believes not has been already judged, because he has not believed on the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
19. And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light; for their works were evil.
20. For every one that does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light that his works may not be shewn as they are;
21. but he that practises the truth comes to the light, that his works may be manifested that they have been wrought in God.
22. After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he abode with them and baptised.
23. And John also was baptising in Aenon, near Salim, because there was a great deal of water there; and they came to [him] and were baptised:
24. for John was not yet cast into prison.
25. There was therefore a reasoning of the disciples of John with a Jew about purification.
26. And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, he who was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, he baptises, and all come to him.
27. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it be given him out of heaven.
28. Ye yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but, that I am sent before him.
29. He that has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices in heart because of the voice of the bridegroom: this my joy then is fulfilled.
30. He must increase, but I must decrease.
31. He who comes from above is above all. He who has his origin in the earth is of the earth, and speaks [as] of the earth. He who comes out of heaven is above all,
32. [and] what he has seen and has heard, this he testifies; and no one receives his testimony.
33. He that has received his testimony has set to his seal that God is true;
34. for he whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives not the Spirit by measure.
35. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things [to be] in his hand.
36. He that believes on the Son has life eternal, and he that is not subject to the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him.
1. and *you*, being dead in your offences and sins --
2. in which ye once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience:
3. among whom *we* also all once had our conversation in the lusts of our flesh, doing what the flesh and the thoughts willed to do, and were children, by nature, of wrath, even as the rest:
4. but God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love wherewith he loved us,
5. (we too being dead in offences,) has quickened us with the Christ, (ye are saved by grace,)
6. and has raised [us] up together, and has made [us] sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,
7. that he might display in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
8. For ye are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God's gift:
9. not on the principle of works, that no one might boast.
10. For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before prepared that we should walk in them.
11. Wherefore remember that *ye*, once nations in [the] flesh, who [are] called uncircumcision by that called circumcision in [the] flesh done with the hand;
12. that ye were at that time without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13. but now in Christ Jesus *ye* who once were afar off are become nigh by the blood of the Christ.
14. For *he* is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of enclosure,
15. having annulled the enmity in his flesh, the law of commandments in ordinances, that he might form the two in himself into one new man, making peace;
16. and might reconcile both in one body to God by the cross, having by it slain the enmity;
17. and, coming, he has preached the glad tidings of peace to you who [were] afar off, and [the glad tidings of] peace to those [who were] nigh.
18. For through him we have both access by one Spirit to the Father.
19. So then ye are no longer strangers and foreigners, but ye are fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God,
20. being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the corner-stone,
21. in whom all [the] building fitted together increases to a holy temple in the Lord;
22. in whom *ye* also are built together for a habitation of God in [the] Spirit.
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Related Links / Notes
Study Notes are translated from the original French and available in the online magazine TaJeunesse (literlly “Your Youth”). The orginal texts are magazine articles. The texts provided here follow that form and include some of the images from the magazine, and help provide a deep understanding of the main themes of the Bible.
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