My study of the scriptures has had a profound effect on my life. As I have studied, I have grown closer to God and found answers to real challenges in my life. This blog is a scripture journal that records insights I have discovered in the past and continue to gain as I search, ponder, and pray.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

John 3 Being Reborn of the Spirit

This morning I was studying John 3 where Nicodemus comes to talk to Christ at night. I started it with a frame of reference of Baptism by Fire and all the conversations I've engaged in that about that topic. If being born of the water is baptism, then it naturally follows that being born of the spirit is akin to the Baptism by Fire. It is through the Holy Ghost that we receive a remission of our sins. It is through the Holy Ghost, because of the atonement, that we become sanctified.

As I read the whole message that Jesus gave to Nicodemus, I noticed a footnote from verse 11a that reads "The Greek construction suggest that verses 11-21 contain a direct quotation. This testimony of Jesus was given to a member of the Sandedrin." That made me think more about those verses as one speech rather than individual verses that are really good. It is a beautiful testimony of Jesus.

Verse 14 says the son of man must be lifted up. That is exactly the same testimony that Jesus gives of himself in 3 Nephi 21:13-19. Just as Jesus told Nicodemus that a man can't enter into the kingdom of God without being born of the spirit, Jesus told the Nephites that they couldn't enter into his rest if they were not clean. Only those who could enter his rest were those "who have washed their garments in [his] blood because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end" (3 Ne 27:19).

I gained some additional insights as I cross referenced to D&C 84:24. This verse taught about the Israelites who couldn't see God because "they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence (italics added)." What a great perspective. It's not that God is mean and chooses not to let us enter into his Kingdom if we aren't baptized by fire. It's a natural consequence of our decisions! If we are unclean, we cannot be in his kingdom because we ourselves could not withstand His glory.

The way to be able to endure his presence is by being reborn of the spirit. By letting the Holy Ghost change our very beings until we become like God. We need the Holy Ghost in our lives -- every single day. As Alma asked, "if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love...can ye feel so now?"

1 comment:

  1. Several verses, including Ether 3:15, imply that "no man hath seen God at any time." One of them comes from Exodus 33:20 "there shall no man see me, and live," a mere nine verses after "the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." I believe we get a hint on how to reconcile these from the Hebrew. In "there shall no man see me, and live," the word for man is אדם, 'adam, which in Isaiah 2:9 is translated as "mean man" (or common man). "as a man speaketh unto his friend" comes from איש, 'ish, which Isaiah 2:9 translates "great man." Perhaps the difference between the common man and the great man is this rebirth that you talk about.