Rebirth by God’s Sovereignty

Posted by admin on 2 October 2022 in 1 Corinthians, John, Matthew, Proverbs |

John 3:9–11 (NIV 2011)

9 ‘How can this be?’ Nicodemus asked.

10 ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.

I. The Rebirth and The Sovereignty of God (9-10)

After Jesus explained about the ‘born of water and the Spirit’ (John 3:5-8), Nicodemus still couldn’t understand (9) as before (John 3:4). Nicodemus was not reborn (John 3:3), and he was spiritually ignorant (9, John 3:4). It is clear that the amount of education or knowledge does not guarantee the rebirth because it is ‘born of God’ (John 1:13). 1 Corinthians 1:26–31 shows the aspects of where the rebirth took place and why Jesus said ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 5:3).

 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’

The Bible says ‘Knowledge puffs up while love builds up’ (1 Corinthians 8:1b). People with knowledge tend to be proud because of their knowledge and may be ‘mockers’.

“Mockers (also called “scoffers” in Scripture) defy and renounce truth and good things, not only to their own detriment and destruction, but that of others. They are provokers of others to wrong, strife, and evil.” [1] The Proverbs warns us not to rebuke them. See Proverbs 9:7–8.

7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;

whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.

8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;

rebuke the wise and they will love you.

BBE (The Bible in Basic English) translated ‘a mocker’ in Proverbs 9:7 as ‘a man of pride’. If they can’t see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), they may be living in hell or creating hell. Be very cautious as it is said ‘Don’t go to the hell’ because you will experience the hell of insults (Proverbs 9:7a), abuse (Proverbs 9:7b), and hatred (Proverbs 9:8a) if you happen to correct or rebuke the mockers.

 II. The Fact and Reality of Rebirth is What We Know and What We Have Seen (11)

See v11a.

 ‘Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen’

 Here, ‘We’ may indicate Jesus and Baptist John [1].

 ‘What’ is the fact and reality of new birth [2]. ‘We know’ is present tense and ‘we have seen’ is present perfect tense. Together Jesus is telling us that ‘We have seen once and still have before our eyes.’[2]

 Baptist John sees, knows and testifies. He said ‘I myself did not know him’ (John 1:31, John 1:33a) but via the revelation of God (John 1:33b) he has seen the Spirit and become knowing & testifying (John 1:34).

 Jesus has seen God (John 6:46) and sees what the Father does (John 5:19). Jesus was full of ‘truth’ (John 1:14) and the truth himself (John 14:6). ‘Truth’ is ‘the revelation of God’. That is, ‘we can know God through Jesus’.

 See v11b,

 ‘but still you people do not accept our testimony.’

 To accept our message is equivalent to “to believe what we say” or “to put confidence in what we declare” [3].


[1] There's Four Types of People.

[2] Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel.

[3] Newman, Barclays M., Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on the Gospel of John.

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