John chapter three, in my estimation, qualifies as one of the most important chapters in the Bible. I would submit that the rest of the Bible is built around this chapter. We of course have John 3:16, referred to as the "Gospel in a nutshell", but the verse that I believe is central to revealing the Christian walk is John 3:6: "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:6. From this verse I believe Jesus is making a One-to-One correlation between the physical and the spiritual. Now, a bit of background, I grew up in a Church of the Nazarene parsonage whose cardinal doctrine is/was "Second Blessing Holiness". So, I was spoon fed this doctrine from day one. Simply stated after one is "Born Again", the first work of grace, there is a need for a second work of grace commonly known as "Entire Sanctification". Now this has been peached involving everything from angelic perfection to "give it your best shot" - And, WHERE DID IT COME FROM? I believe this doctrine came from Jesus Himself. Interestingly, every evangelical on the planet has no problem with "the born again thing" - one is born physically, and one must be born spiritually. Even just the phrase "born Again" lends to the idea of a one-to - one correlation. Everybody gets this. But, since Jesus made the comparison between the physical and spiritual, lets look at what must happen in the physical maturation process and make application to the spiritual. A child is born, so, is that it? No! There is a growth in "physical grace". Are we done? NO! During the "Tween years" there is that wonderful entry into physical puberty. This will very between early and late bloomers but to properly develop everyone must enter this "second work of physical grace" - and it happens in an instant. Boys voices can change in mid-sentence, and if girls are not prepared there is embarrassment. Ok, application to the spiritual: A person is "Born Again", wonderful they have entered God's family. Following this there is a "Growth in Spiritual Grace". But after awhile the "Old ways" start to tempt and there is a tug of war in the spirit. A complete commitment to God's ways is needed, and a cleanzing of the carnal nature. This is the fallen nature we inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. What is needed is entry into "Spiritual Puberty" - and this happens in an instant as we make the complete commitment to God. Notice that this is an individual request, Jesus said: "If you then... know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit TO THOSE WHO ASK HIM. Luke 11:13". Now, there is no such thing as "instant maturity" when one enters physical or spiritual puberty (ask any parent). However, if this instantaneous work is not done, there will be no continued growth to maturity either in the physical or the spiritual. Another observation: Someone may say," Why doesn't God do this all at once?". Answer: Because we could not handle it. As Jesus said to His disciples, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He , the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth...John16: 12. As I wrap this up there is one more thing to address. John is the only one of the Gospels which records this encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus. The reason being? John was the only one of the Gospel writers who witnessed the meeting. Nicodemus would have had his entourage, after all one did not leave the city walls alone for fear of robbers, and Jesus, undoubtedly, had His "inner three" who accompanied Him on personal ministry. Peter James and John were there, and I can see John standing right at Jesus elbow taking good mental notes. Flash forward. John is now an old man writing 1 John. As he remembers Jesus conversation with Nicodemus, he writes and makes application and comparison with these words: "I write to you dear children (babes KJV)...I write to you fathers...I write to you young men...1 John 2: 12-13" He, of course is writing to believes and their spiritual walk. What is he doing? He is making the One-to-One correlation - comparison between the physical and the spiritual. Don't get hung up on words and terms. John Wesley used "Perfect Love", or others say "Complete Commitment", or "Sold out for Christ", or the old Nazarene term "Entire Sanctification". As Jesus said "By their fruit (deeds) you will know them. For my meager mind "Spiritual Puberty" works. Just let Jesus' Holy Spirit have all of you and live the joyous life!
"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:6". Blessings and stay healthy in Jesus' Name, Bob.