Learning Activity 87 – Two Passages in Harmony

During the first part of my Christian journey I attended what could be called a “liturgical church.” Very little emphasis was given to the Scriptures during that time period. I can say with great honesty that I never heard nor read myself the following conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus.

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus. a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him. Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born anew. The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or wither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus said to him, How can this be? Jesus answered him, Are you a teacher os Israel , and yet you do not understand this? Truly, truly I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:1-12).

The passage above is known as the “Born Again” passage that Jesus had with Nicodemus. It is obvious from the response by Nicodemus that he did not have even a clue as to what Jesus was saying to him at the time. The problem that Nicodemus was having is not unlike a condition that still exists today in Christianity and that is that Nicodemus was attempting to understand the statements of Jesus though a physical mind set with no apparent reference to the spiritual realm!

“How can a man be born when he is old?”

“Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

“How can this be?”

After I moved on from a liturgical church setting to an evangelical setting the passage above took center stage being mentioned during most, if not all, gatherings with other Christians that were like minded.

Later in my Christian journey I was motivated to spend large amounts of time in self-study of the Scriptures and found a passage that particularly caught my interest that I would like to share with you.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Upon seeing that passage I immediately realized that this was the understanding that Nicodemus was missing in his conversation with Jesus. Jesus was certainly attempting to communicate a spiritual understanding to Nicodemus, but Nicodemus was stuck in the physical realm in his unrenewed mind! Nicodemus was “blinded” to the spiritual understanding necessary to comprehend what jesus was saying to him. Had Nicodemus had an awareness of the spiritual realm he would have known that in the spiritual realm the questions that Nicodemus was asking Jesus were inappropriate to the conversation! There is little doubt that at a later time Nicodemus understood a lot more as he appears in this passage in Chapter 19 of John.

“After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.” (John 19:38-40).

Christians today have this clarity available to us and enable us to come to the understanding of what has happened to us the instant that we first believed. It is further clarified by:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

When these passages are studied you should be able to see clearly that your Adamic sin nature was not just removed from you to make you a new person in Christ, but miraculously, in the spiritual realm, you were completely recreated into a new person because of the presence of the living Christ indwelling you. When the Bible says we become “new” it uses the Greek word “kainos” new which means you are totally new, you become something that was never before! Think on that for a moment. That is truly good news! Think on these things and renew your mind with them!

If the above has not caused you to break out in thankfulness to the completed work of Christ in our spiritual lives then consider one last passage.

“For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:15). This passage is clearly informing the believer that anything that you do (circumcision, something that is done physically, like self works to please God) nor anything you do not do (uncircumcision, in this case the guilt we put upon ourselves by thinking we should have done this or that to please God in some earlier situation of life) has anything to do with who and what you are in Christ for all of eternity. The ONLY¬† THING THAT COUNTS is what Christ has done in your spirit by making you a totally new creation in Him!

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