Friday, February 28, 2014



              It is a declarative act of God wherein He places the believer in the legal position of a Son, with full possession of the rights of his inheritance in Christ. (cf. meaning of term under previous article)

               It is based on the Redemptive work of Christ (Gal. 4:5). This Redemption satisfied all the legal requirements of such an act; freed us from the bondage of the Law. "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."

              It is received by faith on man's part (Gal. 3:26 A.S.V.). It is not a second blessing, but is ours when we believe on Christ. "For ye are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

              It is bestowed by Divine Sovereignty on God's part (Eph. 1:5 A.S.V.). We enter the Father's house and family as sons, and find our place there has been marked out from all eternity. It represents an expression of the eternal impulse of Divine Fatherhood. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

               Its ultimate purpose is the exhibition of the Glory of God's Grace (Eph. 1:6 ASV). In sinners made sons, there will be displayed throughout eternity what the Grace of God can do. "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."

              Adoption is a distinctively N.T. blessing. It could not be given until Christ died - Gal. 4:4-5. Before the Cross, the saved were Justified by God, but not placed as sons of God. "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law," "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."

                Question: Did the O.T. Saints receive the blessing of Adoption after the Resurrection? Are they denied Sonship because they lived before the Cross? The effect of Sonship is freedom from bondage of fear (Rom. 8:15). "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

                                 Heb. 2:14-15 is suggestive at least. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."                         Heb. 11:39-40 "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:" "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
                        Heb. 12:23 "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
Perfection could not be reached through the law (Heb. 7:19) so the NT brings about the possibility of what God desires and demands and spoken in Matt. 5:48. A new man can come to finally be perfect as his Master (Luke 6:40) as He promised and taught Peter at the last supper after having been washed in blood and thoroughly washed in the water of the word (John 13)

Thursday, February 27, 2014



                                 The Greek word is  huiothesia. It occurs five times only in Paul’s Epistles. (Rom. 8:15, 8:23, 9:4, Gal. 4:5, Eph. l:5) It is a com­pound of huios (son) and tithemi (to place), and means to place as a son. It is translated always "Adoption" which was doubtless the best English word available, but because of popular usage, it needs explanation.
                                  Usage of huiothesia in N.T. times. Its background of Roman law and custom is referred to in Gal. 4:1-2. At a certain time the male child with appropriate ceremony was formally and legally "adopted", that is, placed in the position of a Son and given all the privileges of a Son. Adoption did not make him a child. He was born a child. But it placed him in the legal position of a son. Cf. Meyer on Gal. 4:1 ff. "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;" "But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father."

Our popular use of word "Adoption".
            This is not same as in the Bible. To us a son by "adoption" is not a child by birth. But in the Bible, a son of God by adoption is always a child of God by birth. We never adopt our own children. God never adopts any others.

            Since Adoption is literally Sonship, we must examine the word "Son".
                 Greek word is "huios". It is translated in N.T. by "Son" and "child". ("child" - 50 times, "son" - 120 times, as applied to man.) This was unfortunate, for these words are not synonymous in the N.T. We be­come children of God by the New Birth. But we become sons of God by Adoption. "Child" describes our life relation to God. "Son" de­scribes our legal relation to God.

                       - Some corrections should be made.
                                    In John 1:12-13, change "sons" to "children". "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
                                    In Gal. 3:26, change "children" to "sons". "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
                                   In Eph. 1:5, change "children" to "sons". "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."
                                    In Luke 20:36, change "children" to "sons". "Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection."
                                   In Matt. 5:9, 45, change "children" to "sons". "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

                        Usage of the name "Son" in the Bible.
                                    Mark 1:1 - Christ is the only begotten (essential) Son. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
                                  Job 1:6 - Angels are created Sons. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them."
                                  Luke 3:38 - Adam was a created Son. "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."
       Rom. 9:4 - Nation of Israel was an adopted Son. National matter in in O.T., not individual. "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises."
                            Gal. 3:26 ARV - N.T. believers are adopted Sons. "For ye are all the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

                                    We deal with only the last in these articles.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014




                       Some theologians have not given "Adoption" any special place or treatment. Some, like Strong, regard it as merely an aspect of Justification. Some of the Fathers and Roman Catholics confused it with Regeneration.

                       The confusion of Adoption with Justification may be due to the fact that both are legal or declarative acts of God. But they differ in what they secure for the believer. Justification secures Righteousness for sinners. Adoption secures Sonship for servants.

                       The confusion of Adoption with Regeneration is less excusable. Adoption is a declarative act. Regeneration is a work. Some who have confused the two were led astray by failure to distinguish between the words "child" and "son" in the N.T. Regeneration does make us children of God. But Adoption makes us "Sons" of God. The two words are not synonymous in the N.T.

                       On this point, our A.V. has seriously obscured the doctrine for the English reader. It puts "child" for "son" in a number of texts. This is righted by the A.S.V. If you use the A.V. you should mark all these changes.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014




-There is just one thing under consideration in these words. It is the event of the New Birth.

The phrase “of water and of the Spirit" is the rendering of the King James version. The ASV translates "of water and the Spirit", and the RSV follows the ASV, leaving out the word "of”. The reason this word is omitted is because it does not appear in the original. Omitting the second "of” is correct. And the conclusion is a most important one. Since there is just one preposition, it governs the entire phrase and points to the fact that the words water and Spirit are to be regarded as one thing, and not as two separate things. Both of these things joined together as one are essential to bring about the new birth. While the easiest reading of this text would lead the average person to this conclusion, the grammatical usage of the one preposition makes this conclusion absolutely and technically valid.

-This one thing under consideration has two sides to it. The one side is water and the other side is Spirit.
It is only fair now to point out that while there is just one thing under consideration, this one thing has two sides. As you look at one side you see water, and as you look at the other side you see Spirit. In other words there are two aspects to this one thing, and they work together. They do not work separately. The aspect of water not only stands first, but it works first so far as the nature of the case is concerned. Spirit not only stands second, but it operates second so far as the nature of the case is concerned. But it is not to be thought that these two things work separately from one another. The water is primary and fundamental. The working of Spirit is pursuant and completing. In this respect these two things work together to bring about the complete event of New Birth.

-These two sides are both on the same level or in the same sphere. They are joined by the coordinate conjunction “and".
"And" is a conjunction that joins two things that belong to the same level or to the same sphere. By this we mean that these two things must be either material or ­they must be spiritual. One cannot be material and the other spiritual.
As you know, the most common interpretation is that the water refers to the material side of the new birth and the Spirit refers to the spiritual side of the new birth; that is, water refers to baptism in water, and Spirit refers to the immaterial side of new birth by the action of Spirit. But this cannot be the case, if we are determined to follow the clear grammatical structure of the phrase. Note then several things. First, even though the text does say water, the word baptism does not appear. Second, if this does refer to baptism in water, is this Jewish, John's, Jesus, or Christian baptism? Christian baptism is yet three years in the future. And if it is Christian baptism, it must be the right kind: trine immersion, single immersion, sprinkling, or pouring. What mode of the various forms that exist will satisfy this text?
If it is still insisted that water refers to the material element of baptism, then the word Spirit should also be interpreted to refer to some material element. In the material sense, it must then refer to wind, for the same word is translated by the word wind in verse 8. Do we wish to conclude that Jesus is declaring that the new birth is accomplished by means of water and wind? My opinion is that most Christians would recoil from such a suggestion.
Of late a rather desperate effort has been made to tie the word water to some material element. So there is an interpretation that water refers to the first birth. That is, that the serum in which the embryo resides during the formation in the womb is meant. Those who hold this argue that a person must be born the first time and the second time to experience the Kingdom of God. The answer to this rather novel ap­proach is that Christ would hardly have suggested such thing to able man like Nicodemus. But in addition this would have made one birth on the material level and the other on the spiritual level. And the grammatical construction of the text forbids it.
It would seem far better, since both of these things must be in the same realm or on the same level, to understand that there two things, water and wind, are symbols of immaterial or spiritual things. The water symbolizes something that cleanses, and the wind something that quickens. And on this point, the scriptures are very clear, and provide abundant evidence for this fact, Here are two things that combine in the spiritual realm to bring about the miracle of new birth.

-These two sides are definitely Qualitative in nature. This is demonstrated by the absence of the definite article.
Here another technical item of grammar is brought to bear on the meaning of the text. Where the definite article "the" is absent the noun is qualitative in nature. The KJV omits the article before the word water, but includes it with the word Spirit.
But in the original Greek the definite article does not appear before either of these nouns. So then they should read - "of water and Spirit". The absence of the article means that these two words are to be considered from the standpoint of their nature and function.
The nature and function of water is to cleanse, and as such it serves as a remarkable symbol for the instrument which brings about the new birth. Since Jesus de­clares in this same book that the word of God cleanses, we do not need to look else­where for its meaning. "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3. Paul declares the same thing. "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water in the word" (Eph. 5:26). This cleansing is judicial in character. It leads one to the realization that he is a sinner and only the blood of Christ can take away the penalty for sin. Once this spiritual operation is performed the Spirit of God imparts new life. That is why James declares that the word of God is the instrument in bringing about the new birth. “Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth” (James 1:18).
The nature and function of wind is to give breath, and as such it serves as a remarkable symbol for the personal agent in bringing about the new birth. The Bible is absolutely clear in naming the Spirit of God as the personal agent in new birth. His particular nature and function is to quicken, make alive, and impart life. Several chapters later in the Gospel of John Christ declares – “It is the Spirit that quickeneth" (John 6;63). From Genesis to Revelation when the immediate source of life is set forth, it is always the Spirit of God that performs that function.
But there is an affinity, of the word of God and the Spirit of God. Both are said to be living. Since they are it is not surprising that they both function together in the miracle of regeneration. In almost the same breath when stating that the Spirit makes alive, Jesus went on to say – “the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). To clinch this fact in relation to the New Birth, permit me to call to your attention another passage of scripture from the pen of Peter, where both of these things are declared to be opera­tive in the new birth. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever"(1 Pet. 1:23). The incorruptible seed is the Holy Spirit. Here, the Spirit of God is placed first, which indicates that priority of time is not the issue in John 3:5. And after all, the word of God is the word of the Spirit.

-These things are revealed in the Old Testament and should have been known to Nicodemus.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Art thou a teacher in Israel and knowest not these things"? (John 3:10). In this statement Jesus was gently reprimanding this famous teacher. One so popular and highly acclaimed a teacher of the Old Testament should have been acquainted with the references in the Old Testament to the fact of the new birth. This is indeed a tragedy. Here was a man who was supposed to be expert in the under­standing and interpretation of the Old Testament. Yet here was one who ignorant of one of the primary and fundamental doctrines of that discipline committed to his trust. Upon him rested the responsibility to direct the people of Israel and safe­guard their spiritual welfare, yet he himself did not know this important truth.
Six centuries before, when the spiritual fortunes of Israel were at their lowest ebb because of the sin and wickedness of the people, when they were suffering the judgment of God from Babylonian captivity, God promised this very thing. This was a promise definitely associated with the Kingdom. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you" (Ezek. 36:25-27).

Monday, February 24, 2014


John 3:5
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Verses 5-8, comprise the full answer and the statement of all the principles. Because time will not permit us, to deal with all these verses in one article, we shall concentrate on verse 5. By way of introduction, I want to make a series of observations.
                  -Verse 5 does not introduce a new subject from that in verse 3. Jesus is still dealing with the subject of new birth.
                 -This is a restatement of the declaration made in verse 3, though in slightly different form.
                  -More particularly this statement is the answer to the appeal of Nicodemus as expressed in the word "how".
                  -To narrow the discussion the words, "born of water and of the Spirit" are intended to explain the word “again" or "from above" as expressed by the Greek of verse 3.
                  -Since Nicodemus is confused this verse is intended to correct the false im­pression that this is a birth in any way to be interpreted as on the human and natural level. That is the reason for the words "of the Spirit”.
                  -But it is also intended to explain the means by which the new birth becomes effective in men. This explanation is to be found in the words "of water".
                  -Verses 6 through 8, while a part of the answer, do not supply any added information. They are intended as notes to guard Nicodemus against ar­riving at any false notions concerning what Christ has already said. These verses are safeguards so Nicodemus will not slip off the narrow path of truth as expressed in verses 3 and 5.

              Much of the statement in verse five appears almost word for word in verse 3 Since we have already dealt with this it will not be necessary to repeat it. But there is a phrase which is new, namely, that portion of verse five which reads "of water and of the spirit". It will be our purpose to examine these words carefully, because they are intended to explain the word “again" or "from above" appearing in verse three, and answer the question "how".

These words describe and enumerate the means or elements which combine to bring about the event of New Birth. It is essential that we note at least five different things about these words to determine precisely what they mean. These things may sound a bit technical, and they are, but they are essential to the understanding of this statement of Christ. If Greek were the native tongue of each one of us, there would hardly be any need for this explanation.

Sunday, February 23, 2014



John 3:4
"Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?”

The first question is both an admission and a question. Let us consider for a moment the admission of wonder, and then proceed to the question.

You will note that the question begins with the word "how". The presence of this word does not deny the fact, but it does raise the issue of method or pro­cedure. I think that the very weight of Christ’s declaration, with its finality, has convinced Nicodemus. But still, there is some room for debate. What about the problem of procedure. "How can a man be born when he is old?" If another birth is the solution, how can this experience be brought about?

The wonder of this thought flashes through the mind of Nicodemus. Would not this be wonderful to start life all over again? If one could only move the clock of time back and begin life all over again. Or if one could start where he is today, and live his life all over again. Life is so brief. There is so much to do. There is so little time to change. Nicodemus is now old and he approaches this problem from the perspective of age. Like all as they grow older, he was given to retrospect. No doubt in these closing years he had many times reviewed his past life, and with few excep­tions found reasons for regret. If only the past could be erased, or one could begin all over again.

His psychology was as up-to-date as ours. He knew the facts of personality. He knew that what he was today was the result of all his yesterdays. All those exper­iences of infancy, childhood, adolescence, youth, and manhood added up to make him what he was in old age. He knew that the evil and unfortunate experiences have their issue in life. He knew that the good and blessed experiences also have their issue in later life. No thinking man dare shut his eyes to these realities, and in some cases almost brutal realities. But if there were only some way to prevent them before they occur, or once they have happened to undo them. A repetition of birth, or perhaps a new birth could solve the problem.

Now let us turn to the question. I cannot deny to Nicodemus the wonder of the thought that has so lately flashed through his consciousness. It is wonderful. Even we ourselves have had our hearts warmed with the wonder of this thought. But “how can a man be born when he is old?” Procedure poses the problem that at first thought seems to be insurmountable, and it was infinitely so to Nicodemus. Still, the wonder of the thought leads to the appeal concerning method or procedure. As wonderful as the thought may be, one cannot dream forever. He must come to grips with reality. So Nicodemus asks the question "How?"

How is it possible for a man to be born when he is old? This question lays em­phasis upon process, procedure, method, and manner. Is it possible to turn the wheel of nature back to the beginning, or to start new at the time of old age? Others have no doubt thought of this before Nicodemus. The doctrine of reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism is perhaps an attempt to answer this question. But it is a miserable attempt.

The second question is an attempt to answer the first question on the human and natural level. “Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

Nicodemus is thinking in terms of what he knows. Is it possible for one to enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born? The obvious answer is No. This is indicated by the way the question is stated in the Greek text. To put it the way the Greek text puts it, it would read, “it is not possible to enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born, is it?” Of course not. Nicodemus knows that he is the result of processes. He knows that at this moment he is the result of what he was an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, all the years of his life. Can he now be turned back into embryonic form in his mother's womb and be born again? Certainly that is impossible. And if impossible on the physical level, then how much more im­possible on the spiritual level.

But the wonder of the thought still lingers with him. It is only the process that throws a shadow across his path. How is it possible? How? That is what he wants to know.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." "Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"

 In the opening verses of chapter three Nicodemus met Christ face to face. To the Lord Jesus Christ Nicodemus made a startling admission. This was the mark of greatness in this man. For he not only recognized greatness wherever he saw it, but he was also willing to give tribute to whom tribute was due. Jesus responded with an amazing declaration concerning the new birth. This was the evidence of Deity in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the announcement he made ran counter to all the thinking of men.

First impressions are often lasting impressions, as I have already asserted. And this was true in this case. Frequently the very force of those impressions carries the movement of thought on to the issue. At least this was true in the case of Nicodemus. The very force of this amazing declaration swept from the mind of Nicodemus his origi­nal purpose and plunged him into the very depths of the mystery associated with the new birth. This brought Nicodemus and Christ a step closer together. Now we see them mind to mind, two great minds, one infinite and the finite, turning over the issues of life.

Without a doubt Nicodemus had been grappling with problems gathering about this point throughout his long ministry. Without a doubt he had covered the whole field of thinking on the part of men covering these various points. He had weighed opposing and varying theories, and had finally made a selection. But he was not satisfied. He could not help but see that the best solution fell short at many points in meeting the needs of men. When examined under the search light of reality there was much to condemn it, but still it was the best that men had to offer. And when he came to the Old Testament he was unable to recognize the truth because he was looking through the eyes of a false system of theology.

But now, from the lips of this peasant, with the breath of heaven upon him, there strikes upon his ears a clear, concise, statement of new birth, uttered with a voice of authority that runs counter to anything he has ever heard. Like blinding light­ning his consciousness was electrified and his mind illuminated. All the problems of sin and salvation, of promise and prophecy, of Messiah and His kingdom, seemed to converge at this point. The marvelous prospect of this Messianic declaration com­pletely gripped his mind and his heart. It offered something never conceived by men, something that could solve all the ills of society forever.

The movement of this passage depicts Jesus and Nicodemus joined mind to mind, plunged in the depths of thought, weighing the most mysterious, the most momentous, and the most majestic divine provision for men. But Nicodemus cannot completely di­vest himself of a problem that thrusts itself into his thinking. He sets this forth in two questions. Jesus responds to those questions in a series of five principles.

Friday, February 21, 2014



"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God". John 3:3
This follows swiftly upon the admission of Nicodemus. It came like a bolt out of the blue. It came crashing across all the psychologies and the philosophies and the theologies of men. This amazing statement runs contrary to all human reasoning. It transcends human thinking. It announces something never dreamed of by mortal man. Close analysis reveals at least seven things for meditation.

            The certainty of this statement: "Verily, verily".
Jesus was the only man who dared use these words. They appear only once before each statement of Christ in the first three gospels. But in the Gospel of John they always appear twice before each statement. As Son of man he could speak with certainty. But as Son of God He could speak with double certainty. The Greek word translated "verily" is the word AMEN. This is the name of the Lord Jesus (Rev. 3:14). It identifies Him as the God of truth, or as the Hebrew reads, the God of the Amen (Isa. 65:16).

            The intolerance of this statement: "Except... cannot”.
This statement excludes all other proposals for entrance and experience of the Kingdom of God. No matter how scholarly or seemingly plausible other proposals may be, this statement shuts them out. In this sense this statement is intolerant. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. But this intolerance is not arbitrary. It is necessary. In the very nature of the case a man must be born again in order to qualify Him for experience of the kingdom of God.

              The universality of its application: “a man" or Greek "anyone".
With extreme finesse Jesus directs this to everyone, to every member of the human race. And thus he includes this revered gentleman to whom he is speak­ing. Among the rabbis it was the conviction that those who studied the law were thereby qualified for the kingdom. So it is very possible that Nicodemus by virtue of his position and prominence had grown cold to his own personal need. He may have fallen into a sort of professionalism that is the very subtle snare of all who minister in holy things.

             The specific subject under discussion: "be born.”
Birth or the communication of seminal substance in the propagation of kind is the point Jesus is making. The order is from parent to offspring. This true of plants, animals, mankind. And it is also true of God. Even though evolution is struggling desperately to discover a movement from lower levels to higher levels. So far it has utterly failed. The parent is the origin, and the child is the result. Never does the child generate himself. The child never has any part in initiating the process. To reach the level with God, God Himself must reach down and impart Himself to men (John 1:13).

             The heavenly source  of this birth. "again" or Greek "Anothen - from above."
The word means essentially from above. Etymologically the word never means anything else. Some insist that the word can mean from the first, as in Luke 1:3. And therefore by extension it can mean "again". But there is some question on this point. In this same chapter of John it is used correctly as from above (see verse 31). Though the response of Nicodemus to Christ may sug­gest the idea of repeated birth, "from above” could carry this sense in such a way that Nicodemus was confused. Another birth of any kind or from any source would be apt to be interpreted by Nicodemus as another birth, one in addition to the birth he had already experienced.

                    The human need for this birth. "Cannot see" or it is "impossible to see." Any number of passages make it clear that the word "see" has reference to experience (cf. John 8:56; Acts 2:27, 31; Heb. 11:5; 1 Pet. 3:10). This has reference not merely with the eyes, but also with every sense and sensibility of the entire person. Inasmuch as this particular thing is something in the realm of spirit, it requires a whole new set of sensibilities for the person to experience the kingdom of God.

                   The grand goal of this entire experience is the kingdom of God. "The KINGDOM of God" or as the Greek reads, "the kingdom of the God".
       This does not have reference to the universal Kingdom of God, for all people are in it, and all in some sense experience it. But it does have reference to the Mediatorial Kingdom which is to be established in the earth, and which is so well set forth in the Old Testament. It is the all-consuming purpose of God to establish this kingdom. This was the passion and purpose of Christ at His first coming. It is the promise of Christ to be realized at His second coming. It is this kingdom for which Christ taught the saints to pray (Matt. 6:10). This kingdom not only refers to domain, but also dominion. For 2000 years Christ has been establishing His dominion in the hearts of believers, and one day these will be ushered into His domain. The church will constitute the aristo­cracy of this kingdom, the Old Testament and the tribulation martyrs, and many others saved during the tribulation-will populate this kingdom in the earth and experience its infinite and ineffable blessing.

Only by means of the New Birth will these people be enabled to enter this Kingdom and experience the rule of God among men. The preparation of this Kingdom is for people who have been made new creatures in Christ Jesus. this is accomplished by no earth-born method. it does not come through heredity, imitation, environment, reformation or inspiration. there are no philosophies of men, no psychologies of men, no theologies of men, no sociologies of men, no species of thinking of men that can propose any solution to this problem. This is a birth which issues from God and it comes from above. If there is anyone who will commit himself to this statement of Christ, by a miraculous and mysterious movement of God he will be ushered into this experience and made eligible for entrance into the kingdom of God and its blessing. The first fruits will be his now, and the harvest will come at the second coming of Christ.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


John 3:2
"The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

Now, note six things appearing in the course of this opening statement, each one seemingly more remarkable than the one preceding, and each one helping to unfold the mind and heart of Nicodemus.

1. In his address, he admits his personal subordination to Christ. He calls Him rabbi. This is an interesting fact in the light of Hebrew usage. Three words appear in Hebrew, each with rising importance: Rab, Rabbi, Rabban or Rabboni. The first means great one or great teacher; the second means my great teacher; and the third means my very dear great teacher (See John 20:16). It was the second of these that was used by Nicodemus. In this address he was not only admitting that Christ was a great teacher, he was also claiming Him for his own. We might assume that this was the mark of mere respect and refinement, and nothing more. But this is hardly a complete explanation in the light of the immediate context and the subsequent conversation.

2. At the outset he confesses that he has made a careful investigation concern­ing Christ. That is the meaning of the words "We know". This was the duty and respon­sibility of the members of the Sanhedrin (See Deut. 13). Doubtless all had joined in this investigation just as in the case of John the Baptist. That is the reason Nicodemus identified himself with others in the plural "we know". But Nicodemus was the only one who was willing to follow the truth where it led. The investigation had resulted in some settled conclusions. But Nicodemus was the only one who was willing to admit them. It was the same story at the close of Christ's ministry. "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him..,. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:37, 43).

3. Again you will note that he confesses Christ's constituted position as a teacher. "Thou art a teacher" from the lips of a man such as Nicodemus was no mean affirmation. Surely this most popular teacher in all Israel knew what he was saying. All that follows indicates that he had weighed those words. Careful examination of the use of the word teacher makes it clear that such a person was the authoritative source of doctrine. And such a person had to be officially constituted with such authority by a course of training in a recognized school and given proper certifi­cation by public officials. Jesus had neither. He was a mere peasant from the mean village of Nazareth. During His entire life and public ministry Jesus never held any public office or filled a duly constituted position in Israel. In that Nicodemus affirmed Him to be a teacher can only mean that he recognized in Christ there were gifts and qualities which basically and fundamentally constitute men for position and office.

            4. Nicodemus comes to grips with the real situation when he admits that Jesus as a teacher had supernatural-authorization. That is what He meant when said "thou art a teacher come from God". When Nicodemus said this, he placed the statement first in the sentence, thus showing where he placed the emphasis. Now this does not mean that Nicodemus was here confessing that Jesus was the Son of God come out of heaven from the Father. But this does mean exactly what is affirmed of John the Baptist in chapter one vs. 6: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John". This was true of all the Old Testament prophets. They were men who received their authorization from God. As a sincere student of the Old Testament, Nicodemus knew this. And now he recognizes in Jesus those qualities and qualifications which transcend the limited attempts of men to train and induct qualified men into office.

5. To confirm in the mind of Jesus the thoughtfulness of his admission, he points to the Divine-certification of his office. "These miracles that thou doest" were his credentials. Nor was Nicodemus wrong. The Old Testament teaches this great truth. And the New Testament confirms it. Miracles or signs pointed to something. Even though the crowd was enamored with the glamor and the spectacular, Nicodemus in contradistinction looked to the meaning, and he found it, at least enough of it that he was encouraged to go on and finally to enter into a saving relation with the Messiah. On the Day of Pentecost Peter gave full expression to the thing that Nicodemus saw three years before. "Ye men of Israel, here these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know"(Acts 2:22).

6. To seal all the above admissions, Nicodemus declares that Christ had an intimate relation with God. This he expresses in these words -"Except God be with him". But in this expression he was affirming more than mere association, more than mere empowering, although all this was true. The preposition "with" points to an intimate relation. It marks a fellowship of nature and purpose. Could it be that Nicodemus has noted a distinct difference between miracle workers of his day who claimed to be from God and the Lord Jesus Christ? Such men of his day may have dis­played power, but there was with them an absence of demeanor and spiritual qualities that characterized the bearing and performance of the Lord Jesus. Here was one who was perfumed with the presence of God, whose actions were indicative with the odors of heaven, whose speech and bearing were fed from the fountainhead of all holiness, God Himself.

After surveying these admissions, we must agree that they are nothing short of amazing. Whether Nicodemus meant to go on, we do not know. At least he never had the opportunity to state the purpose of his mission. Nevertheless, by these admissions he maneuvered himself into a teachable position. Jesus recognizes this fact and He takes advantage of it, for he follows immediately with His own amazing declaration.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014



John 3:1-3
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:" "The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
In the former articles we were introduced to a man with all the qualities of a great and good citizen, one whom any community would be glad to own. Yet here was a man, who under the scrutinizing eye of Deity was found to be like all other men in one respect. He lacked the one necessary thing to qualify him for entrance into and experience of the Kingdom of God. Here was intellect and character at its best, as far as the natural man is concerned, but still a man deficient in that which is essential for entrance into the Kingdom of God.

In this article we shall look at this man with more careful scrutiny than in the previous thoughts. His meeting with Jesus was strange and singular. This master teacher in Israel has sought out the wandering peasant from Galilee. And he has done so after the shades of night have fallen. The meeting must have made an unforgettable im­pression upon the apostle John, and with the artistry of an eye-witness some of the details are woven unobtrusively into the account.

For one thing, this man trampled underfoot a whole series of barriers in order to get to Jesus. The urgency of his mission impelled him to surmount every obstacle that stood in the way. He stepped outside the realm of Pharisaic isolationism to get to Jesus. He descended from the perch of political prestige to reach Him. He trampled underfoot professional pride. And he completely ignored the customary proprieties of time and place. Though the labors of day were over, he made use of the night for prolonged personal consultation. And he did an unheard of thing when he condescended to seek out Jesus amidst the plebian society where Jesus was staying.

We see them now, as John saw them, face to face. First impressions are often last­ing impressions, and they are often true ones. At least that was true upon this occasion. Jesus took the measure of this man. For "he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man" (John 2:24-25). This man took the measure of Jesus and was attracted to Him. With unhesitating, unstudied, and unrestrained description, he gave voice to his evaluation and the emotion that had been piling up within him.

In the following article we shall note two movements of thought: first, the startling ad­mission from the lips of Nicodemus set forth in verse 2; and second, the amazing declaration from the lips of Christ as set forth in verse 3.



            Many reasons have been advanced to explain why Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. Some are good, many are bad. Some are partial, and none seem to be complete. Some are plausible, and others are foolish.
             The most popular reason suggested is that he came to Jesus to enquire about the New Birth.
It is argued that the conversation which followed dealt with the new birth. This sees far from the truth because he did not even know the importance of the new birth, and the O.T. at this point on New birth was far from his mind (John 3:9-10). "Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?" "Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"
                     Another suggestion has been made that he wanted to know about entrance into the Kingdom (John 3:5). "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
            But as a Jew who was in the sect of the Pharisees, this was already settled in his mind. The answer was religion in the strictest sense. It was adherence to the law.

           Whatever position is taken, it must be harmony with the previous ministry of Christ.
Christ knew what was in this man, for He knew all men and needed not that any should testify of man (John 2:24-25). "But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men," "And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man."

                     The clue to the real reason is to be explained by ministry and message of Christ up to this point.
                        -The forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist came saying, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2).
                        -Christ then came preaching after John was put in prison, and He preached the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 1:14), and he said "Repent ye for the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).

                     Without a doubt this message concerning the Kingdom captured his mind.  And he was determined to find out when this kingdom was to be set up. He was a student of the Old Testament, and its major emphasis is upon a Kingdom that was to be set up, over which the Messiah would reign, and the Jewish people were to be exalted above all other nations. Since Christ spoke with such authority, he felt that here was a fresh voice from God, and that he could learn something from him about the Kingdom, but he must be able to get with him alone. During the day the crowds surged about him. The best time would be when the crowds had dispersed and gone to their homes. Night time would be the best to have a face to face talk with this teacher from God.

             But before he could even voice his request Jesus confronted him with this amazing statement, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God". In the mind of Christ there was one thing more important than when the kingdom was to be set up, and that was whether a man was qualified to enter. Jews expected to enter, but they lacked that necessary exper­ience of New birth (Amos 5:18).
"Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light."

Monday, February 17, 2014



           The position and prominence of Nicodemus.
      Two of them are pointed out by John. The third is affirmed by Christ.
Three things are affirmed of Nicodemus in the text. John 3:1, 10. "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews." "Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"
                       As a Pharisee he had religious connections.
                        He belonged to the strictest religious sect in Jewry.
                        Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Essenes.

As a ruler he had Political connections.
           It was no mean distinction to belong to this body.
This was the highest (cf. 7:45-52). "Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?" "The officers answered, Never man spake like this man." "Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?" "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" "But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed." "Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)" "Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?" "They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet."
 As a teacher he had civic connections. John 3:10
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"
            This singles him out from all other teachers in Israel and indicates that he was the most popular teacher in Israel in the sense that he was the most learned.
Yet it was to a man like this that Jesus said "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

The character and integrity of Nicodemus.
            Seven different things appear in the text describing this man.
                    -He was a man of high character. He was not fickle or vain, seeking after the glamorous and the spectacular like the multitude. The conjunction distinguishes him from others
                    - He was a man of deep conviction. He was not carried away with mere appearances or external phenomena. He knew that all that glitters is not gold.
                     -He was a man of clear thinking. He was not drawing conclusions simply because some things seem to go together. He was looking deeper and farther for the proper relation of things. Acts 2:22 point to miracles and wonders and signs as signs of His credentials as Messiah. The crowd was concerned only with the spectacular.
                      -He was a man of wise caution. He came to Jesus by night. His coming by night does not necessarily mean that in fear He was slinking from view by others, though it may indicate caution. His concern was for those who trusted him as a teacher. In such case discretion is the better part of valor.
                      -He was a man of great courage. That it has been the expository habit among preachers to castigate Nicodemus as a coward because he came by night. There is evidence to the contrary. Three times Nicodemus is identified as the one who came to Christ by night (John 3:2; 7:50; 19:39). As a historical fact He came to Jesus by night. It took courage to do what Nicodemus did as recorded in John 7:45-52 and in 19 39f).
                       -He was a man with a sensitive conscience. Such a man must follow the truth where it leads. Jesus would never had unfolded these truth to Nicodemus if He had not recognized in him a man who could be trusted with this sensitive material (Cf. Luke 8:15). To cast pearls before swine is a waste of time.
                        -He was a man of amazing conquest. His name means a conqueror of the people. Why he was given the name Nicodemus  we do not know. But it could well be that a rare quality of conquest was present in him. It is certainly true that he aligned himself with the strictest religious sect. By personal achievement he attained the top in his profession as a teacher. And finally be­cause of some of these rare qualities he was elected to the highest ruling body in Israel.

The prospective Christian existed in this man Nicodemus.
 -Here was a man who was seeking the truth. John 3
      -Here was a man who was defending the truth. John 7
         -Here was a man who was following the truth. John 19.

Nevertheless, Jesus said to him, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Sunday, February 16, 2014



 Three reasons have been given, and in each there is doubtless some truth.
It is almost certain that the full truth lies in a combination of all three.
These reasons are not mutually exclusive.
             lb. This story or incident is merely chronological in tine, In the unfolding of the gospel narrative this incident occurred at this time. This is undoubtedly true. But surely this is not the only reason. So far as events were concerned, the ministry of Christ was crowded with them. It was therefore necessary for John to make a selection of events of which he would write. That he followed this pattern is affirmed by John in chapter 20:30-31.

                     2b. This incident was the most important event at this stage of ministry. That this event was perhaps one of the more important events at this stage is doubtless true. But why is the story introduced just at this point other than chronology and importance? Does the story have some relation_ to the logical unfolding of the ministry of Christ?

                     3b. This incident was more appropriate to the movement of thought John is attempting to convey about the ministry of Christ.

This seems to be the best answer. This does not ignore chronology, nor importance. Utilizing both chronology and importance, it also fits in with the logical unfolding of the ministry of Christ.
            This is suggested by the way the story .is introduced into the text.
            KJV     reads “There was a man of the Pharisees".
            ASV    reads "Now there was a man of the Pharisees"             Greek reads "But there was a man of the Pharisees"

The conjunction "de" marks a continuation of the story, but a contrast in the meaning. This is not the strongest of adversatives, but it marks a contrast.
This conjunction sends us back to chapter two verses 23-25. The crowds at the Passover were interested in Christ because of the glamor of the miracles. They were living on the human and natural level and especially interested in the sensational and spectacular. And even though Nicodemus was also living on the same level, he was essentially different. It was not the mere external and glamorous in which he was interested. He was concerned with deeper things, their meaning and importance. To appreciate this we must make an evaluation of this man next.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Introduction To The New Birth

 Religion is a perfect refuge for flesh and attempts to bring the heart into compliance with its desires. And there the flesh feels perfectly at home. Religion has to do with acts and performances associated with an inner nature and its body of belief

                   -Religion is external and does not expose the nature within.
            - Religion is ceremonial and does not disturb the inner nature.
             -Religion is superficial and does not indict the spiritual condition.
             -Religion is ritual, thus providing an area in which the flesh can exercise itself and commend itself.

Christ came into a world which had reached the peak of perfection in religion.
                 - He found Himself immediately at cross-purposes with mere religion.
                 -This was the character of the religions of the Middle and far East. (Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Confusionism, Jainism.
                  -Judaism had degenerated over a period of 1500 years. Even in the day of Isaiah this was true (Isa. 1:5-15; 1 Sam. 15:10-23). Luke 18:9-14).
"And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:" "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican." "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." "I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
                  -Almost from the very beginning of Christianity this sort of thing began the characterize its operation. Some want to build a 1st Century Church in the 21st Century. All the seeds were there at the beginning. And these parishioners have 21 centuries of religion bred into their being.

After 2000 years Christianity today is generally like Judaism when Jesus came.
                  -Perhaps 150,000,000 in the U.S. belong to some organized church or system of  religion. Perhaps 8% are faithful to the forms of their system. Of these few indeed really represent the people who have had a change of heart.
                  -A sign on the Highway read "Ye must be born again" - "Go to church". What did that mean? There is a connection. Doubtless the purpose was good. Going to Church does not produce the New birth. Going to church could be the evidence of the New birth.
                 - Many could conclude that this is the method by which one gets the New birth, or perhaps going to church is the New birth.

            Jimmy Carter and the New birth; Carters definition does not follow that of what the Bible teaches and as his political stances clearly unravel. Going to church was his definition of being born again. He derived this from teaching of his sister. Mike Douglas and his question to the sister on the new birth is illuminative. A third dimension. Carter's choice among theologians: Neuber and Tillich. Sad.

 The Confrontation of Jesus and Nicodemus on the subject of the New Birth is as pertinent today as it was then.

            Note:Three movements
                  (1) The reason for the story of Nicodemus at this point in the Gospel.
                  (2) A review of the life and character of the man Nicodemus.
                  (3) The purpose for which Nicodemus came to Jesus on that night.

Friday, February 14, 2014



The new birth is associated with the kingdom of God   (John 3:3, 5)
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
         Without it, and man cannot enter the kingdom (John 3:5) and
 Without it a man cannot experience the kingdom (John 3:3).
                  The New birth was revealed in the Old Testament (John 3:10)
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou the master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Nicodemus was the most popular teacher in Israel, and yet he did not know about the importance and nature of this experience.

                    The new birth had been completely identified with and subjected to religion.
                        The external was made to be equal with the internal experience.
                        This is the ground upon which Jesus and Nicodemus met.

                   The third chapter of John provides the most extensive treatment of the subject in the Bible.

Thursday, February 13, 2014



  What is this new life or nature we get in Regeneration?
                        cf. Strong's view 824-825 Not an addition to the elements of human nature; merely a change in the disposition.
                        Answer: Rom. 8:5-9. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
                                    It is not a new element added, this new element in some sense being parallel with the other three elements. It is more than that.
                                    Actually, it is the coming in of the Holy, Spirit of God (John 14:17). It is the entrance of a new entity. "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
                                    It is Christ formed in us by the Holy Spirit (Col. 1:27; Gal. 2:20) "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
                                   This is the nature of God imparted in the sense of the attributes of  holiness.  (2 Pet. l:3-4) "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
                                   This permeates the entire man., It is genuine, metaphysical. Taken over the control of the man. Phil. 1:6; Phil. 2:13; 1 John 4:4-5, 5:4-5 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
 What is the difference between the Old Nature and the New Nature?
(1) The Old Nature is a tendency to rebel against God, and not an entity.
                       1. God alone creates entities and he could not be the creator of evil.
                         2. An entity goes somewhere when the believer is completely saved.
                                    Where does it go?
              (2) The New Nature is the Spirit that comes into the believer to dwell forever. He articulates himself with the human spirit to overcome sinful nature, and eventually brings that tendency to an end of its operation. 1 John 3:2; Eph. 1:13-14; Eph. 4:30 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise," "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."