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EGENERATION; re-born; made anew; cleansed; puri
fied. Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Except a man be made clean with water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
How can a man be born of water ?
How can a man be born of water? Water in all ages has been not only a means of cleansing and purifying things outwardly, but also a symbol of some change that takes place within. Water is a purifier, a satisfier of the physical system, and is used by Jews, Christians and other religious people as a symbol of purification.
The Jews bathed and immersed themselves and their clothing, dishes, jars and everything that came in contact with anyone that was not of their belief, anyone that they called unclean. When they returned from the market place they were very particular to wash themselves vigorously. It was an outward manifestation of an inward cleansing.
Even to this day the orthodox Jews wash their cooking utensils, and let them stand from six to twelve hours after cooking one kind of meat before using them for another kind.
Born of water might be understood plainer if one was to say, regenerated of or by water, or cleansed by water; or except a man be made pure as by water and by Spirit; or except a man be outwardly and inwardly renewed he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
To be born of the Spirit! what can it mean to be born of the Spirit, or to be regenerated, to be made over, purified ?
Well might Nicodemus say, How can these things be?
Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the Kingdom of God, and Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. To be pure in heart is something like being born anew, or being born of the Spirit.
The Master desires to call Nicodemus' attention to the difference between flesh and Spirit, or rather to take his attention off from the flesh altogether. Nicodemus seemed to be looking to flesh and blood conditions, while the Teacher was looking to the Spiritual.
Nicodemus looking back asked, How can a man be born when he is old ? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? For some of the Jews hold to the doctrine of reincarnation, as for instance, note the question they asked of John the Baptist, Art thou Elijah? And to-day so many seem to be looking to personality; to some one of the evidences of the physical senses.
But Jesus says, The flesh is one thing and the Spirit is another. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Do not be astonished that I said unto you, Ye must be born again, or you must come into a new life, or into a new understanding, if you want to see the Kingdom of God.
How do we see anything? Do we see it with our eyes or with our understanding?
Animals have eyes, physical eyes-have mirrors in their heads whereby they see physical objects — and yet it is not supposed that they see things as we do.
Are we looking for things on the physical plane, or for something higher ? We are looking for the Most High.
Flesh begets flesh; Most Exalted is continually begetting Most Exalted. If we live up to our most exalted ideas to-day, we shall have more exalted ideas to-morrow.
We are continually being regenerated or born again. We are renewed; what a word, ienewed, see how it is made: renewed, a new thing made out of an old one; a continual process, a making over; reborn or renewed are very much alike.
Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Keep silence before Me, O Islands, and let the people renew their strength. Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Those that do things for the Lord shall not get tired. If they do them for men perhaps they may get tired, but those that do them for the Love of the Good will not get tired.
If I love some one, how I like to work for them. How a mother works her fingers off almost, for her boy or girl, and sometimes the worse the boy or girl seems to be, the stronger the mother's love goes out to them. She don't see them according to the physical or flesh at all. To her they are as pure and innocent as when they were born. Her heart sees them as they really are, and her strength is made new every day thereby.
This is but a likeness of the real, for those that wait upon the Lord or the Ruler or the Supreme, those that wait upon the Supreme shall renew their strength, or shall be born again and again.
Who waits upon the Lord ? we are all waiting upon Him. He is All, there isn't anything else to wait upon or to serve.
We are all servants of our highest aspirations, of our highest desires. Some persons' desires do not seem to be very exalted, simply because their attention has not been fixed on anything very high. It is our work to call their attention to the Most High.
The service we are to do is to take their attention off from the flesh and place it upon the Spirit.
There are many ways of doing this, and as we use our reason, we find that we are continually having new avenues opened to us; new ways of leading people from matter to Mind; new ways of making people new. Old things are continually passing away, because we are being regenerated.
God is Unlimited, and as we come into our inheritance we find it a continual creation. We, children of our Father, have all the power of God that we can handle. Our Father doeth not give his Spirit in limited quantities. We come into the possession of his-our-power as we use it. Power of any kind is not power unless we put it to use. All the world over we are continually reminded that the tools are for those that use them. Come into the vineyard and work.
Notice how easily and gently Jesus led Nicodemus along from one step to another. We go everywhere by steps, or seem to. Jesus led Nicodemus the way he leads us all. Nicodemus came seeking Truth, and acknowledged that Jesus must come from God, because no man could do the things he did unless God be with him. He came with an open heart and Jesus said very plainly, You will have