John 3:1-8

You must be born from above. The effect of the wind.

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1Now a certain man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, 2came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?” 5Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’ (John 3:1-7)

The fundamental idea behind nearly all religions is the human endeavor to achieve a certain level of spirituality by meeting specific requirements. This implies that whatever they can achieve through their own efforts is still limited by human nature.

However, God rejects this notion and emphasizes the importance of being born from above. What He means is that whatever makes us acceptable before Him must originate from God Himself.

Throughout history, humans have attempted to cover their imperfections, like Adam and Eve using fig leaves to conceal their nakedness. But God provided animal skins as temporary coverings and, ultimately, bestowed the clothing of righteousness found in Christ.

Even when Abraham believed he had to offer his son Isaac to God, God replaced Isaac with a ram and, in the end, offered His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation.

Both fig leaves and even Isaac are merely products of human flesh. Thus, being born from above means embracing God’s gift of salvation through Christ. This acceptance signifies recognizing that genuine acceptance before God comes from receiving His divine gift.


8The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

This highlights the distinction between what comes from human endeavors (born of the flesh) and what originates from the Spirit (born of the Spirit). Works of the flesh can be initiated by human efforts, whereas the works of the Spirit are solely initiated by God. John uses the analogy of the wind to illustrate that while the work of the Spirit may become apparent to us afterward, it can never be initiated by human flesh. The work of the Spirit is divinely orchestrated and beyond human manipulation.

Nevertheless, many Christians strive to produce the work of the Spirit. It is important to note that while unusual manifestations occurred in the book of Acts, they occurred like the work of the wind—emerging not from human intervention or desires, but solely according to God’s will.

(Next study: John 3:9-21)

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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