People talk about hell. Christians talk about hell. How easily we say, oh they went through hell. The church talks about hell, especially the older, legalistic, hit you with a Bible over the head – churches. I realize there might be some of them still around – how horrible. I truly wish we could stop calling organized religion church. It is not the church at all. The church is such a special, beautiful concept. We should actually be talking about the church of Christ – a fellowship, not organization of children, not people whose beings are being transformed by the working of the Holy Spirit and not people with enough willpower trying to live legal lives in their futile effort to please God and some denomination.
We are in the lovely chapter that talks about the rebirth of a being. Being born a child of God after making a simple decision to surrender your life to Jesus, accept His work on the Cross is a whole new beginning; immigration into the invisible Kingdom of God on earth. There is no hell, only heaven. What is hell and heaven then? Well, I can say: easy.
Hell is where God is not; heaven is where God is.
Generally, hell would be defined as a subterranean place of punishment, as described by the Greek word Tartarus in 2 Peter 2:4. Hades and Sheol are the Greek and Hebrew words for the underworld or the temporary abode of the dead. Gehenna in the New Testament (Mark 9:43, Matthew 10:28) is a place where the soul and the body could be destroyed. It might refer to the second death, which Jesus warned against.
Whatever hell really is, where it is and how one gets there are the things each man must decide for himself. To me, the hell on earth I see around me, is enough to make me flee into the arms of God. I choose heaven. I want to live in the “Shadow of the Almighty” and in the “Secret Place of the Most High”. (Psalms 91:1)
What do we then pray in the Lord’s Prayer: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is for now, God’s presence, invited and enjoyed is heaven on earth. Where His will is done, is heaven.
The prayer is written in the Hebrew style of parallelism.
The definition of the kingdom of heaven is where God’s will is done. Life in the kingdom is a life submitted to the will of God; fully dependent on His provision, relying on His protection, living out of His resources and direction with His statutes and promises as the imperative of your life.
Full submission to the Word of God is our number one priority. God’s will is clear. There is no darkness only light. He made it accessible to all. No guessing, no confusion. Read His word – that is His will. His specific will for your life will leap from the pages in his Presence.
He has given us the power to become children of God – John 1:12
Eternal life is God life and it starts when we make the decision to become a child of God. The emphasis is not only everlasting life. It is so much more than time. It has all to do with the quality of the life we live here on earth. Earth can never give us what we need to live life abundantly and excellently.
Rebirth is a decision with supernatural consequences. Grace prompts us to surrender and believe and the result is a new life, a spirit reborn. It is an irrevocable surrender to God and life in his Spirit.
It is requalifying experience opening up the possibilities of our whole being to the supernatural dimension of life and fitting us for a beginning in God’s kingdom order.
As Jesus said we are born of water and spirit. Water is cleansing, our past is drowned. The Spirit is power, enabling us for the future.
What is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the spirit is spirit. Enablement is determined. Flesh is limited. The Spirit is unlimited.
There are two kinds of misunderstanding: a person misunderstands because he has not reached the knowledge or experience to understand or because he is unwilling to understand and fails to see because of the refusal to see. A man can deliberately shut his mind from the truth.
Nicodemus should have known about the doctrine of a new life.
Cast away from you all the transgressions, which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. (Ezekiel 18:31)
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26)
The prophets spoke about a new man, the need to be changed fundamentally from the inside out.
Nicodemus threw out another objection how does it work? It is physically impossible, ridiculous to think it.
The Greek word for spirit pheuma also means wind. In Hebrew ruach means breath or wind. We do not understand the wind or know how it blows, but experience the effect. Before we can determine the direction of a wind we see the leaves move and the air moving our clothes and hair. Many things of the Spirit we do not understand, but the effect is clear to see and experience, therefore we cannot deny it.
The power of a testimony is the work of the Spirit and the power thereof is undeniable!
One man testifying about a new life in Christ was made out to be a fool to believe that Jesus turned water into wine, but testified that in his house Jesus turned “beer into furniture”.We do not know how things work. Some things we believe in we cannot see. Mostly we do not see a teacher’s brain but we hear what he teaches and see the result of his thinking.
Jesus says to Nicodemus: I talk about everyday stuff and you do not understand, how will you understand the deep things of heaven. The intellectual truth of Christianity is one thing. How does it change you in your inner man? How do you experience the power?
Most of the time we accept a prescription from a doctor without knowing exactly how the medication will impact every aspect of our anatomy. We do not know the intricacies of redemption. It remains a mystery but we need to appreciate it intellectually.
In the last phrase the authority of Jesus over the truth of the discourse is confirmed again. Jesus is telling us about God, because He came down from heaven and is the only truthful source. His authority and truthfulness is confirmed by His death. He is the only One who knows the heart of His father personally, because He is the embodied mind of God.
At this stage of the discourse it is uncertain where the discussion with Nicodemus ends and John’s words start again.
In the last two verses he touches on a strange story in the Old Testament. We will connect these two to the next chapter for coherence.