King's Business - 1913-10



of the Holy Spirit in the passage be­ fore -us, we have the doctrine else- , where that we are “born again through the Word” (1 Peter 1:23). Furthermore, there is no need to say that there is no reference whatever to baptism; for water baptism is God s appointed symbol of the regen­ erating work of His Word and Spirit. As it was in connection with the baptism of the proselyte that he was spoken of “as a little child just born,” it is likely that the “water” in verse 5 would suggest baptism to Nicode- mus, and the need that he himself make an open confession of his ac­ ceptance of Jesus as the Messiah and his Ford and Saviour, and of his re­ nunciation of his Pharisaic hopes of being saved by his own scrupulous keeping of the law, by being baptized. Certainly an open confession of Christ as' Ford is entering the kingdom and being saved (Rom. 10: 9, 10; Matt. 10:32, 33). And the way of confession that God has ap­ pointed is by baptism when baptism is possible (Matt. 3:15; Acts 2:38). It is to be noted that our Ford in verse 5, changes from “see the king­ dom of God,” used in verse 3, to “enter into the. kingdom of God.” A new birth is necessary to apprehend­ ing, to having any true conception or understanding of, “the kingdom of God” (v. 3) ; much more is a new birth (now very definitely and ex­ plicitly defined and described) neces­ sary for actual admission into that kingdom and enjoyment of its privi­ leges. There seems to be a sugges­ tion here that “The kingdom of God” is not a purely spiritual kingdom but has an outward form as well: this is abundantly taught elsewhere. V. 6. “That which is born of (rather, out of) the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of (rather, out of) the Spirit is spirit.” These words explain why it is that

no man, no matter what his position or his culture or his conduct or his character or his orthodoxy or his an­ cestry may be, “cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” or even “see the kingdom of God” except he first be ‘born again,” “be born out of water and Spirit.” Everything produces after its kind, “flesh” produces after its kind and “the Spirit” produces after His kind. Even the heathen philosopher Aristotle taught that “Every nature generates its own sub­ stance.” So it is clear that spiritual life (which alone fits one to see and enter into the kingdom of God) can­ not be transmitted by natural gener­ ation. All we can get from our fathers and mothers, no matter how good and1 godly they are, is “flesh.” It may be very cultured and refined “flesh,” but after all it is “flesh.” John the Baptist had already warned both the Phari­ sees and the Sadducees that mere de­ scent from a godly ancestor, even though that ancestor be Abraham himself, would not assure them of God’s favor or a place in His king­ dom. “The flesh” does not mean merely the body, but all that we get by nat­ ural generation, all that we inherit from our human ancestors (Rom. 1 :3). “The flesh” does not of itself necessarily imply sinfulness (ch. 1 :14| 1 John 4:2), but it does “de­ scribe (our) human personality on the side which tends to sin, on which actually we have sinned.” The thought of the inherent depravity and sinfulness of the flesh as it became through the fall of our first parents, and as we consequently know it in universal human experience, is more fully developed by Paul (Rom. 8:2, 5-8; Gal. 5:16-21). It is hinted at here but that is not the thought which is most fully in view. The thought that stands out is, that there are two very distinct orders of being, “flesh ” and “Spirit,” and that “the kingdom

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