Born of Water and of Spirit
"Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 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?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"( John 3:3-6)
Do you find it curious that this was Jesus' response to Nicodemus when he came to him at night to find out if he was the Messiah. Nicodemus didn't so much as get the question formulated in plain words, but only hinted to the prospect that Jesus was sent from God and could be the Messiah when Jesus tells him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God"
We would expect Jesus to wait for the question and answer him plainly that he was the Christ , and yet, he immediately tells him he must be born again. Why is this proof that Jesus was the Messiah? Nicodemus presses further, not understanding his statement, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Jesus testifies about himself through his explanation, "Truly, truly I say unto you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
Jesus is speaking to Israel's Teacher, a Pharisee, an expert of the Law. A man who has already told Jesus that he knew he was from God by the works that he had performed. Nicodemus recognized that Jesus was from God and could be the Messiah, because the miracles He preformed, aligned with the signs and wonders which followed God's prophets and spokesmen in the past.
Therefore, Jesus answers Nicodemus with what God has already spoken about this new birth thus testifying about himself in the process, knowing that according to the Law a testimony of one isn't valid unless the testimony of another validates it. Jesus was proving his testimony, citing from the prophets, what the scriptures had already said about the Messiah and the new birth and in the process answering Nicodemus' question.
Why did Jesus tell him that he had to be born of water and the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God? Because in the scriptures, God said that He would vindicate his Holy name and Israel by putting His Spirit within them causing them to walk in his statues, a miracle only performed by a new birth.
"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. "You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. " ( Ezekiel 36:25-28 ).
This promise is taking about the New Covenant that God made with Israel of which Jesus is the mediator. It is talking about this miracle of the new birth. The cleansing to remove the stain and effects of sin and the power to walk according to the statues and ordinances of God. Jesus is simply reminding Nicodemus, the teacher of the law, what God has already said about the Messiah and the new birth. The law and the prophets testified for Jesus that he was the Christ, and this testimony was far weightier in Nicodemus' eyes than that of Jesus' alone.
As proof that Jesus is the Christ, he immediately explains to Nicodemus how to be born from above, now this new birth is two fold. Jesus said you must be born of water and of Spirit to enter the kingdom of God, just as God had foretold in Ezekiel. Many people assume that the birth of water is when they were are born into the world, and being born of the Spirit is when they were born into God's kingdom, but Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:26, "That he might sanctify her (the wife, the church, those who are born of the Spirit), having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word" So hearing and receiving the Word is how we are born of water. How we are cleaned from our filthiness, how we are renewed and sanctified in the new birth.
In the same way that a child is born by being conceived by the seed of man, for a person to be born again, the Word must be planted into the heart and conceive. The seed planted, is not the seed of man, but instead it is the incorruptible seed of God, or of God's spoken Word. I Peter 1:23 says, "for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
What is the incorruptible seed? It is the spoken and manifested Word of God, John 1:1 tells us that "In the beginning was the Word (Christ), and the word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Verse 3 lends an important truth to this when it says, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" So the new birth can only come about by implanting the seed, which is the Word of God, which is capably of sanctifying and cleansing those who hear and receive the Word.
This is confirmed in John 1:12-13 which says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God". The Amplified Bible says of verse 13, "Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]"
The Word spoken, the Word heard, the Word received brings rebirth and regeneration "into a kingdom which can never perish, spoil or fade" ( I Peter 1:4 ) Once the Word is received and implanted and conceived into the heart, then God takes out the spirit of this world, the spirit of darkness and puts His Spirit into us, just as he promised in Ezekiel, "I will put My Spirit within you."
Paul tells us in Ephesians that His Spirit within us is the guarantee of our redemption and inheritance, "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. ( Ephesians 1:13-14 )
Then Amplified Bible says, "In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the first fruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it--to the praise of His glory" ( Ephesians 1:13-14 ).
God puts His Spirit within us as a guarantee of what he has promised us. Paul said when you heard the Word of Truth, the water that Jesus is referring to, and believed it, then you were stamped or sealed with the Holy Spirit, The Spirit that He gives you translates you from the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of His dear Son ( Colossians 1:13 ) and this Spirit is the guarantee or down payment for full redemption... it is the down payment or guarantee of the promise that you are Gods child, that you were born of God. That is why Jesus said you have to be born of water, by hearing the word of God and believing it and born of Spirit, which is the proof of your belief in the Gospel, before you can see the kingdom of God.
Jesus goes onto tell Nicodemus, in verse 7, "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 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. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can these things be?" ( John 3:7-8 ).
Remember that Nicodemus started out by admitting to Jesus that he knew he was from God by what he saw Jesus do. Jesus responded by telling him how this is, "unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God." ( John 3:3 Amplified ) Then Jesus uses the example of the wind with Nicodemus, you see the wind and it's effects in the trees and you feel it but cannot understand where it came from or where it is going because the working behind the wind is unobtainable knowledge and understanding for you, but yet you know it is by the evidence you see. But the same is true for those born of the Spirit. You see the effects of the kingdom, you see the miracles performed, you testified yourself that I am from God because I do these things, and yet you don't understand the whys and the how of them because you cannot see the kingdom of God. I tell you the truth, to see, know, be acquainted with and experience the Kingdom of God you must be born of water and Spirit.
It isn't enough to recognize the Kingdom God by the fruits of the kingdom. To participate in the kingdom you have to accept Jesus' testimony about the kingdom, believe it and be born of it to obtain it. And that is the message that Jesus shared with Nicodemus, the teacher of the law, who should have understood these things and should have excepted the evidence and testimony of Jesus alone, but instead came and questioned him.
And yet, The same is true for us today, To see the kingdom we must be washed and cleansed with the water of the Word and we must belief in His name and because of it be born anew with Lord's very own Spirit inside us, that is when we are born into the kingdom of God as his very own children. John 1:12-13 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."