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Born Again: The Lost Meaning of John 3:3

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by Jeff Wickham, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. thomas15

    thomas15 Be Thou my vision Supporter

    United States
    Hard to believe but true.
  2. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    Care to answer my question?
  3. Shane R

    Shane R Priest Supporter

    United States
    Hard to believe this has exceeded 20 posts and no one has yet discussed that 'born again' is an awkward, outdated, or possibly just bad translation that does not help the English reader catch the true force of Jesus' statement. An alternative reading is 'born from above.' This fits much better with the word play Jesus employs in vs. 5-8, where he discusses the Spirit moving like the wind. The force of the passage then, is that the Spirit effects an ontological change on the person.
  4. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

    I said:
    "v.9 of ch 10 tells us how a sheep becomes one of His; by entering through Him."
    Here is v.9 - I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture.

    Nothing about naming any of them here. Or that they are His already. It's about how to be saved. by faith in Him (using the metaphor of entering the gate, which is Him).

    This is a different passage and context altogether.

    According to Jesus, there were 3 kinds of sheep:
    1. His sheep and other sheep of His
    2. not His sheep
    3. THE sheep, for which He died.

    Calvinists should have a big problem with the fact that Jesus only used the words "the sheep" when He spoke of dying for sheep, but He also noted those that were His and those that were not His in the same context.

    If Christ only died for the so-called elect, He would have said He died for His sheep.

    Let's not try to mash different contexts and passages together to make a point.

    What is logical is that v.9 indicates how to be saved. And we know that His sheep are saved. That's the logical connection.

    I said:
    "My point isn't that they become 'sheep' through faith. It's that THE sheep become His sheep by believing in Him."
    You're reading quite a bit into the text that's not there.

    Your posts are obviously influenced by that theology.

    btw, you also said this:
    "I do agree with much of Calvinism - even as I disagree with much of Calvinism."

    Do you realize that this is contradictory? The word "much" means at least more than half. There's no way to agree with more than half of Calvinism and disagree with more than half of Calvinism.

    If your agreement and disagreement is 50%, then just say so.

    Do you believe that election is being chosen for salvation?

    In the area of election, I hope you answer my question above.

    As to refusal to prove it to me, it's pretty obvious that this is just a ruse, a dodge, a way to avoid having to prove what you know that you cannot prove.

    I CAN prove that election is NOT about salvation. Not even close.

    Ah, yes. Throw in a little bit of ad hominem.

    Except Eph 1:4 says nothing about becoming saved. The word "us" is actually defined in Eph 1:19 as "us who believe". So, God chooses believers (us) to be holy and blameless. That is lifestyle. That is service.

    You really didn't need to use quote marks around 'saved'. Paul never did in Eph 2:8.

    What verse are you thinking of when you make this statement?

    Well, I just proved who God chose in Eph 1:4. Believers.

    Here is a list of examples in the Bible described as "elect" or "chosen". Let's see which ones were chosen for salvation.

    1. Election of Christ: an individual election
    1 Pet 2:6 Isa 28:16 Isa 42:1 Luke 9:35 Luke 23:35
    2. Election of Angels: a group or corporate election
    1 Tim 5:21
    3. Election of Israel:
    a group or corporate election
    Amos 3:2 Deut 7:6 Acts 13:17
    4. Election of believers:
    a group or corporate election
    Eph 1:4a [note: this verse doesn’t say that God chose who would be believers, but that He chose believers…to be holy and blameless] 1 Peter 2:9
    5. The Election of the 12 Disciples: a group or corporate election John 6:70
    6. The Election of
    Paul: an individual election Acts 9:15

    Was Jesus chosen for salvation? Obviously not.
    Were any angels chosen for salvation? The Bible is totally silent on whether salvation by any means is related to angels.
    Were all of the nation of Israel saved in the OT? Again, obviously not.
    Believers, by definition from Eph 2:8, are already saved, so obviously not chosen for salvation.

    Was Judas chosen for salvation? Obviously not.
    Was Paul's experience on the Damascus road chosen for salvation? No.

    But, don't believe me. But DO believe what Paul himself said about that.

    Paul was elected to service:

    Acts 9:15 - But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.

    Acts 20:24 - However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the gas of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

    Acts 22:10 - "'What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. "'Get up,' the Lord said, 'and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’

    Acts 22:14, 15 - 14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.

    Acts 26:16 - ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.

    Rom 15:17 - Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.

    1 Cor 3:5 - What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

    1 Cor 4:1 - This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.

    2 Cor 4:5 - For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

    2 Cor 11:8 - I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.

    Gal 1:10 - A I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    Gal 1:16 - to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man

    Gal 3:7 - I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.

    Eph 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power

    Col 1:25 - I have become its (the Church) servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— direct reference to Acts 9:15

    1 Tim 1:12 - I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

    1 Tim 2:7 - And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

    2 Tim 1:9 - He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

    2 Tim 1:11 - And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.

    What we see is that Paul equated his election (being chosen) with an appointment to service.

    Sure. Just read the verses above and say that again. Again, don't take my word for it, but DO take Paul's word for it.

    Yes, you've said that.

    No it isn't. This is what the Bible says about "what makes them come to Jesus".

    John 6
    44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
    45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.

    The red words tell us that God has taught all. Not some.
    The blue words tell us that those who have listened and learned from the Father COME TO ME.

    No they aren't. Those who listened and learned from the Father come to Jesus.

    In John 10. Not everywhere.

    It's not bias. It's false doctrine that I point out.

    No you're not. You were never taught by Apollos. And it seems real clear to me that you aren't familiar with free grace theology at all.

    More ad hominem noted.

    I post on what I know from Scripture. You can call it whatever you want.

    btw, have you ever thoroughly studied the 3 words in the word group related to 'election'? I have. The noun, the verb, and the adjective. I have studied ALL of the verses for ALL of these 3 words.

    And what I found is that NONE of them use election/chosen with salvation.

  5. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    Non sense - vs. 3 tells you all about Him calling His sheep by name and them following Him.

    You're starting to play your games again. I'm not interested in them and I bow out when you start - right about now.

    The names of His sheep were written in the Lamb's Book of Life from ages past. As His sheep they were given in time to the Son by the Father. He calls them and they follow Him when He calls them by name. Nothing could be more clear.

    Of course people are saved through faith in Him. No one believes or teaches otherwise - not even the most die hard 5-point Calvinist. No one teaches that people are saved by their names beinge written, or because they are called (or, as some would put it, they are part of the elect).

    His sheep are saved through faith in His Word and until then even they are enemies of God and children of wrath.

    It is a straw man to insinuate erroneously that anyone says that anyone is saved simply by being one of the elect.
    Well that's a problem of Calvinists not me.
    You seem to forget that I'm not a Calvinist. I do not believe in limited atonement. Nor have I given you any reason to think that I do.

    I don't have any more time to play your games. Perhaps you can find a Calvinist on another thread to play them.

    Just remember that none of them believe and teach that anyone is saved by election. They all believe and teach that anyone saved is saved because they came to believe on the Son through faith. :wave:
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  6. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

    v.3 - The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

    OK, so what? v.9 STILL is the statement about HOW to be saved. What do you think "entering my Me" (the Gate) means?

    I said:
    "v.9 of ch 10 tells us how a sheep becomes one of His; by entering through Him."
    Here is v.9 - I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture. Nothing about naming any of them here. Or that they are His already. It's about how to be saved. by faith in Him (using the metaphor of entering the gate, which is Him).
    Quoting Scripture is some kind of game for you?? Really? Too bad. That's what I do.

    No argument. And nothing here that supports Calvinism.

    I've already shown that election isn't about being chosen for salvation.

    If you don't like my quoting Scripture, that's your freedom to do so.

    Then you don't understand their doctrine of election. :wave:
  7. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    It's not your quoting of scripture that I object to. It's your silly pretending that no other scripture than the exact one you reference has any bearing on the subject at hand and even worse that you don't know what they are or where Calvinists find them that I object to.
    Nonsense - you have shown that there is also the electing by God to certain positions of service for believers as well as election to salvation. So what? Election to salvation is all over the N.T. scriptures.

    I said, "Just remember that none of them believe and teach that anyone is saved by election. They all believe and teach that anyone saved is saved because they came to believe on the Son through faith."
    No - it's you who don't understand their doctrine.

    No Calvinist teaches that anyone is saved by election. They all believe and teach that anyone saved is saved because they came to believe on the Son through faith."

    Please supply a quote from a Calvinist that teaches otherwise and I'll condemn the quote right along with you.

    Their obvious understanding of the means that God uses to save His elect is why their record of evangelical outreach so great. With regard to outreach - the 19th century has been called the Great Century of Missions. During that century - hardly a single mission outreach was started in the world that was not started by a Calvinist.

    Calvinist missionaries have been more active than most in using the means of preaching the gospel so that God's elect might be called from among the people of the world as God commanded His church to do.

    The decline of Calvinistic zeal and criticism for their doctrine paralleled the decline of outreach in the 20th century.

    The names of God's elect were written long before the creation began. As He clearly says, Jesus was sent forth to the earth to be the one and only gate for the elect to enter salvation through. He calls the name of those who have been given to Him by the Father and who have had their hearts prepared by the Father and "His sheep" hear His voice and follow Him unto salvation.

    You know full well where this doctrine is found in the scriptures. There are many pertinent passages. To pretend that you don't know where people get these doctrines is disingenuous to say the least.

    From the words of Jesus through the conversion and teaching of Paul to the personal call of Lydia - election unto salvation is a clear teaching throughout the N.T. scriptures.

    Your silly contention that election only applies to certain types of service is just plain silly in light of that clear teaching.

    While the world receives a general call - the elect receive a personal call (by name if you will) and all those so called and respond are justified having received salvation by grace "through faith".

    I'm not going to lead you back through every pertinent scripture regarding the personal inward call of the elect. You already know where to find them and I will not be a party to your silly games.

    You say that vs. 9 and 10 don't say anything about people who are already His sheep being called by name and following Him unto salvation because they are His sheep given to Him by the Father before the foundation of the world. Really? You don't see that in the scripture passage?

    Give me a break.

    You can play games with others if they want to play along. But I'll be moving along now.
  8. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

    Can you defend this silly charge with evidence that I'm pretending that no other Scripture exists except what I reference?

    Or that I don't know where other verses are?

    Your ad hominem attacks are rather tired. I think you can do better. How about just sticking with Scripture itself and don't worry about what you might think about what I'm thinking.

    I wouldn't pretend to guess what you might be thinking.

    OK, now we may be actually getting somewhere.

    First, I have NEVER shown there is election to salvation. in fact, my position is the opposite. There are NO verses that speak of being elected to salvation.

    Second, if there are such verses "all over the NT", please quote a few.

    It is correct that Calvinists don't generally say it that way, but that is the basis for which their doctrine of election is based.

    What else (to a Calvinist) is election for?

    While it is true that they believe that salvation comes by believing on the Son through faith, because they know what Eph 2;8 and many other verses plainly say about how to be saved, just unpack their doctrine of election to get the full picture, and what they REALLY believe about salvation, and how anyone comes to salvation.

    I'll unpack it for you, using TULIP.

    Because they think that unregenerate man is totally depraved and therefore cannot believe the gospel, they also believe that God in eternity past chose certain humans to be saved, without any conditions attached (unconditional election). So, how does a totally depraved UNABLE human come to salvation, since he cannot believe?

    Well, easy. God regenerates the totally depraved elected one, so he/she CAN believe, and WILL believe, once regenerated.

    So, you see, election is very much about how Calvinists think a person gets saved.

    Go ahead and repeat yourself. But I just explained (unpacked) TULIP to show otherwise.

    I'll do better. I'll quote from a Calvinist website.

    The Five Points of Calvinism, TULIP

    Basically, Calvinism is known by an acronym: T.U.L.I.P.
    Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
    Unconditional Election
    Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
    Irresistible Grace
    Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)

    Under total depravity is this statement:
    "The Calvinist asks the question, "In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?" The answer is, "He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.""

    So, basically, it IS God that chooses who will be saved since man cannot believe on his own.

    This leads to the second point, election, and this:
    "God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not."

    It could not be more clear. Man makes no choice at all. God makes all the choosing on who will be saved.

    What is quite interesting is the point that evangelism is totally unnecessary under TULIP. Why? Because God chose from eternity past who would believe (through election and regeneration).

    Therefore, all who were chosen CANNOT refuse to believe, nor can they simply not believe.

    What Calvinists won't admit, even though it's so obviously true, is that because of their doctrine of election, evangelization isn't necessary.

    OK. But they are inconsistent Calvinists, then.

    Sure. God has always known who will believe. But the Bible NEVER EVER teaches that God has chosen who will believe, which is through election.

    But I beg you to prove me wrong by very clear and plain verses that teach what Calvinists claim.

    Where is this so "cleary said"?? I've never seen any such verses.

    Please prove your claim from Scripture. Nothing of what you claim here is found in Scripture.

    I'm dead serious, whether you are able to grasp that or not. Again, I've studied EVERY verse that contains ALL 3 of the word group regarding election and I've NEVER seen ANY verse linking election to salvation.

    But since you claim there are "many pertinent passages", you're going to have to teach me where they are.

    Again, I am not kidding. I've NEVER seen any such passages linking election to salvation. So show me.

    If it's so clear, then show me.

    I never said anything about "only applies to certain types of service". You need to slow down a bit when reading my posts.

    I said every verse that mentions election as a verb is about service. I never even suggested only certain types. Please stop making up things I have never said.

    OK, non Calvinist, please explain WHY the world receives a general call? What is the purpose of such a call, IF God never chose any of them for salvation?

    This "general call" makes no sense, in light of what Calvinistic election means.

    I know you won't. Because you know yourself that you cannot do it.

    OK, one more time. I am not kidding. I've NEVER seen ANY verse that links election to salvation.

    If you are so confident that these verses are all over the NT, why can't you just pick (elect) one verse to prove your claim?

    Instead, you simply dodge having to defend your claims.

    In the opening verses of ch 10, Jesus was using the literal experience of human shepherds and their sheep. A shepherd's sheep DID know his voice and did follow him. Jesus was setting up His metaphors.

    You don't deserve one. Find me any verse that tells us that election is for salvation.

    yeah, sure. Move along. Don't even try to defend yourself. But of course, such a move only demonstrates your inability to defend yourself.

    I CAN prove my point. How many verses would you like to see?
  9. thomas15

    thomas15 Be Thou my vision Supporter

    United States
    It is impossible to look at the heart and deep thoughts of another so it is also impossible to know who the saved are and who the saved are not.

    What covenant theology wants to teach is that an individual is saved at the moment he/she confesses sin and places faith and trust in the risen Christ for eternal life.

    ....So far so good.

    The system then goes on to teach that the individual isn't really saved unless there are some good works. Just what kind of works and how much are not specified. So the result is that the individual in the covenant theology system is not exactly sure if he/she is really saved or not.

    To a dispensationalist, it is a mystery as to how the actual covenants given to Israel without condition are taken away (according to covenant theology) and given to another. That mystery is solved when one understands that in covenant theology promises made and details of doctrine are not honored, are not binding. All of us post reformation speak of salvation as a gift but if we have to perform good works to maintain it then it's not a free gift.

    Reformed covenant theology denies that if a person is trusting in the shed blood of Christ and hence heaven bound, that good works are used to determine rewards in the kingdom. They say that there is but one judgement and that is to determine heaven or that other place. There are no rewards, all are equal. True they say that once saved always saved. They get around that by saying that the carnal Christian or the back-slidden Christian isn't really a Christian, isn't of the elect. But what about the dear sweet grandmother that does a few good works but not up to the potential?
  10. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    I have never heard of a Reformed theologian who denied that we will answer for every word and deed (whether good or bad) that we do in the flesh after initial salvation.

    Perhaps you could provide a quote from a Reformed theologian that said that.

    Also - I don't see the irony in what I said previously anywhere in your post. But - OK on that point.
  11. thomas15

    thomas15 Be Thou my vision Supporter

    United States
    I never said that reformed theologians deny that the judged will answer for every deed. What I said was that there is a difference between the judgment of believers and non-believers. What I said is that reformed theologians deny that that the saved will be rewarded for their works that advance the kingdom. They teach that there is one judgment and that is to determine saved or unsaved and if saved then those enter the kingdom on an even keel. No rewards for service.
  12. BBAS 64

    BBAS 64 Contributor Supporter


    Good day,

    Sorry been away...

    Drawing of the father in Jn 6 is to overcome the inability of man to come, for the explicit purpose of Christ to raise them up.

    No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day

    Drawing all men to myself he said to show in Jn 12:

    He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

    So IOW "Yes" they are very different in purpose and effect.

    In Him,

  13. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

    United States
    I did a little research and you're right. You learn something every day if you're open to it.

    It seems that most Reformed theologians take the stance that we will all have the same "righteousness of Christ" and therefore we will all receive that and only that.

    I disagree with them about that as well as a few other areas. One more reason to avoid labels.

    Reformed, like many others, often take their supposed "logic" a little too far and end up off the mark. This seems to be another of their unwarranted "logical" conclusions.

    Certainly so called limited atonement is another place where they do the same thing and end up in a ditch. I'd have to include "unconditional" election and "total" depravity - unless their meaning was nuanced a great deal by them. It isn't of course and that's why most 5-point Calvinists end up totally ignoring many pertinent non-Calvinist proofs rather than including them in with their own and coming to a balance theology.

    It works both wasy IMO and that's a shame. People from almost every Christian group tend to dig in and just go with the party line whatever that may be.

    I've always tried to be open to at least examining both sides of every issue. I guess that's why I get a little peeved when people make assumptions about what I believe and "pigeon hole" me theologically.

    I've always felt that the truth of most of these doctrines lays somewhere in between both extremes (which is not to say that truth is relative and there isn't a clear line between truth and heresy).:)
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
  14. thomas15

    thomas15 Be Thou my vision Supporter

    United States
    Thank you for that comment my Brother.
  15. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

    It means we're "born dead", due to alienation from the very source of our existence, God, our Creator. This separation, initiated by Adam, is not the right and just order of things for man. Rather communion with God is what we were made for. And that relationship is the primary and most basic aspect of righteousness or justice for man, from which any and all other righteousness flows. We're "justified" as we turn back to God; merely acting justly doesn't cut it.

    So the "original sin" consisted of shattering that relationship, which hadn't yet been solidified on man's part in Eden, and the state known as "original sin" consists chiefly in this rift between man and God that we all experience in this life. We don't even know God. And even through God's dealing with His chosen people, they didn't as a whole know Him either. Through them God was patiently dealing with His beloved creation, educating us until the final revelation would arrive, the full light, in the person of Jesus Christ. Then we would have opportunity, on a scale that involves all of humankind, to know the true living God:
    "I will be their God, and they will be my people.
    No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
    because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
    declares the Lord."
    Jer 31:33-34

    "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3

    This is the "knowledge of God" that Jesus came to reveal, a more direct and intimate knowledge which is the object of faith and which will be fully consummated only in the next life:
    "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Cor 13:12

    To know God is to love Him. As we come to know, believe in, hope in, and love God, we're reconciled with Him and pass from death to eternal life.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  16. BFT

    BFT New Member

    United States
    I think one day..we are all going to be surprised how complicated "man" has made God

    That Passage in John is one of the most simplistic...basic passages there is

    Jesus explained the Earthly birth then the spiritual re-birth

    some simple statements to just...well..just believe it...like,,,childlike faith

    only way to Father is the son

    whosoever calls upon the name

    the most effective witnessing we have been blessed to see results..is simply the Bible being read...not these crazy spins...

    who cares if you have to have label a viewpoint...ya just stuck a man made concept between you & God...
  17. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

    Given all the other references to water baptism in the New Testament, I think the innocent view automatically tends towards that. A child's mind wouldn't make the leap to amniotic fluid.
  18. Mountainmanbob

    Mountainmanbob Goat Whisperer Supporter

    United States
    True, call it what we wish
    it's good solid teaching straight from the Book.
  19. JLB777

    JLB777 Newbie Supporter


    The condition for receiving eternal life is hear and obey His Voice, in which we follow Him; Follow -

    His Gospel, His Commandments, His Teachings.

    This results in receiving eternal life.

    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-28

    Commandments -

    He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4

    Doctrine -

    Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9

    Gospel -

    in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2 Thessalonians 1:8

  20. JLB777

    JLB777 Newbie Supporter

    There is nothing in John 3:4-7 that mentions baptism.

    Jesus is teaching about being born again.

    He uses natural earthly things to teach about spiritual heavenly things.

    Natural birth and spiritual birth.

    That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6

    That which is born of flesh = Natural Birth

    That which is born of the Spirit = Spiritual birth