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 3.5-6Born of water and the Spirit? What’s interesting to me is that we usually associate this verse immediately with baptism, but I believe Jesus may have been trying to make a much deeper point.
Follow closely—in the first few verses of the Bible, there is some very interesting language used.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Genesis 1.1-5
The earth itself was born from the Spirit moving over the surface of the waters. At that moment, God cried out, “Let there be light.” Over and over, Jesus used this imagery of light shining in the darkness. The darkness is all of our darkened misapprehensions and misconceptions of God and what type of God we perceive Him to be. It’s the lies we have been told and that we have believed concerning Him and His character. The light, on the other hand, is the truth concerning God’s character of love as revealed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Son.
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God [His Love] in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4.6
It is at the moment when the Spirit is hovering once again over the “waters” of our heart, which is without form and void, that God cries out, “Let there be light.” But it’s not literal light, like we see emanating from a light bulb. It’s the revelation of God’s love for us, shining from the life and death of Jesus Himself, in contrast to the darkness of lies we have believed about Him.
When we are “born” of this experience, born of “water and Spirit”, we cease to be simply born of the flesh, conceived of human design and origin. We become born now of the Spirit, of this new revelation of God and the truth regarding His character. Naturally, we are of the flesh—very selfish, very self-centered. But to be born of the Spirit, to be born from a revelation of God and the truth of His love, radically changes us from the inside out. It transforms and converts us from being selfish to “no longer living for ourselves but for Him who died for us and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14,15. Love has awakened love.
Something to ponder this week: being born again is much more than just saying a sinner’s prayer or taking a giant bath in the front of some church. It’s a radical orientation shift that comes through encountering God for who He really is.
I wish you God’s best this week. Happy pondering.