And then onto verse 7 (Mirror), “Don’t be surprised when I say to you (humanity plural) You couldn’t get here in the flesh unless you got here from above”. For you the most benefit will be: the awareness, the understanding that you are both flesh and spirit. We have been raised with Christ and seated in heavenly places ruling and reigning with Christ. This is not sitting on a cloud and reigning from a far away place, but reigning in the spiritual with full authority as sons of God, co-labouring with Him on this earth. The conversation continues with the example of the wind (spirit). As Francois in the Mirror says in vs 8b, “If life was not born out of spirit in the first place, it would not be possible to detect spirit influence at all”. We are spirit-compatible by design. Spirit is humanity’s origin, from there we are born into the womb, becoming flesh. This echoes back to vs 3 and 5. Nicodemus was still puzzled, “How is this possible? What kind of birth can this be?” (Mirror vs 9). Now Jesus puts Nicodemus in his place and questions his understanding. “Nicodemus, hear me our conversation stems from what we, mankind, have already borne witness to; we endorse what we have observed; how is it that your religious perspectives keep you so blinded to this?” (Mirror vs 11). The ones who discover their genesis in God beyond their natural conception, God gives them the assurance that they are indeed his offspring. This is about our “God-begottenness” (Mirror, John 1:12-13). This is the very essence of the mission of Jesus; while being lifted up from the earth he has drawn all judgement to himself. The human race co-crucified and co-raised with the Christ, now redeemed and being persuaded in the life of the ages. The next verse we know so well: vs 16, “The entire cosmos is the object of God’s affection! And he is not about to abandon his creation-the gift of his son is for mankind to realise their origin in him who mirrors their authentic birth- begotten not of flesh, but of the Father! In this persuasion the life of the ages echoes within the individual and announces that the days of regret and sense of lost-ness are over. No condemnation/rejection or separation, but the awareness of/awakening to true sonship. Concluding the conversation,Jesus encourages Nicodemus to be partaker of the light not to hide in his own darkness anymore, but be transformed by the renewing of his mind”.
This will open our eyes or awaken us to the truth of what the early church taught. “Meaning a change in the soul by the grace of God, also called the ‘new birth’, ‘resurrection’, ‘new life’, or ‘new creation’”. Born from above is a gift from God, same as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came on all flesh. Releasing with a mighty manifestation which was veiled/dormant on the inside of the apostles and the rest of humanity. Their eyes and ears were opened, awakened to the spirit. They spoke in other tongues. All could hear them in their own language. The people did not have to do anything, only say “thank you”. It is a done deal, you can’t do anything to make this ‘born from above’ happen. Yes it will benefit you when you believe this as 1 Timothy 4:10 says. Your life will change. Remember, “everything has been given you, every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3). Believe it!
The Bible tells us that we were ‘born again’ in Jesus’ Resurrection. 1 Peter 1:3,23 (HCSB) “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, He has given us a new birth (regenerated) into the living hope (expectation) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. All men were ‘born again’ or regenerated or revitalised, in the resurrection. Verse 23, “Since you have been (past tense) born again (regenerated ) into this expectation (assurance,trust,confidence) of being -not of perishable seed but of imperishable-through the living and enduring word of God.” This is Jesus, the incorruptible, imperishable God-seed impregnated into Mary.
This changed our understanding of our true identity. Not born of the flesh, not born under the law, not born from corruptible seed. “But by His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth, so that we would be the first fruits of his creatures” (HCSB). JB Philips says, “By his own wish he made us his own sons through the Word of truth that we might be, so to speak, the first specimens of his new creation”.
But wait there’s more.
Jesus is also the head of the body. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead. He is the first and last, Alpha and Omega. You are born of Him. Therefore in Him we have 2 locators: genetic and historical.
Genetically: we are of his seed; imperishable. Having fellowship with the Father and the Son Jesus the Christ as per John 14:20.
Historically: He located us before Adam. Before the foundation of the world, he chose us in Jesus and predestined us for adoption as sons (Eph. 1:4-5). Jesus’ redemption sacrifice, the cross, revealed the identity of humanity, the cancellation of sin, removal of the curse, elimination of the fall.
His, Jesus’ Resurrection inaugurated a new creation. Not as in succession of the old, but before the old, so the old never existed in God’s mind. This is hard to grasp. Can God relocate all of humanity to a place/position before the fall? To the beginning? Yes God can do everything – RIGHT? Now Adam is no longer humanity’s beginning, humanity’s identity. Jesus has gone before, taken humanity with Him, into time before time. This was before sin, before the curse, before the fall. Humanity has been redeemed. The majority of people don’t realise this. They have No knowledge of this. Our identity is in Christ, born from above.
So ‘born again’. We came to the conclusion that ‘born again’ is a misleading term compared to ‘born from above’. ‘Born from above’ is not something we step into, based on the decision we make. But being ‘born from above’ was a done deal through Grace, and we can only say “Thank you Father”, an acceptance or in other words, “be awakened/become aware” to the fact that we are already, together with all humanity, born into the resurrection. Yes, Nicodemus who lived before the resurrection had to come to the awakening of being ‘born from above’. It was still to come for him.
At this point in time the Holy Spirit is bringing a Reformation to the church and beyond. He is correcting our misunderstandings. And the ‘born again’ topic is one of them. This Reformation is like a Resurrection, an awakening in our thinking.