The necessity and nature of new birth in Jesus Christ, By Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg
Bible study material on John 3:1-13

John 3 is one of the most important chapters in John’s Gospel because it deals with the subject of the new birth. In Jesus’ time, some religious groups such as Pharisees had become so confused with this subject. In this light, many people and for that matter, religious leaders like Nicodemus, had no idea about what it means to be born again. This lesson teaches us about the necessity and nature of the new birth.

1. The Need for the New Birth (3:1-5)
An examination of the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus identifies two main importance of the new birth.

a. The new birth is necessary to see (experience) the kingdom of God (verse 3)
Nicodemus was a moral, religious man, one of the chief teachers (rulers) of the Jews, yet he did not understand the truth about the new birth. Spiritual truths cannot be grasped by the carnal mind of sinful person (1 Corinthians 2:10-14). Nicodemus came “by night,” a symbol of the unsaved person. The unsaved person is “in the dark” spiritually (Ephesians 4:18 and 2 Corinthians 4:3-6). Being religious and moral does not make a person fit for the kingdom of heaven. One must be born again, that is, born from above.

Nicodemus confused the spiritual and the physical (see verse 4). He thought in terms of physical birth, while Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth. All of us are born in sin. Our “first birth” makes us children of Adam and this means we are children of wrath and of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3). No amount of education, religion or discipline can change the old nature. We must receive a new nature from God.

b. The new birth is necessary in order to enter the kingdom of God (verse 5)
By “the kingdom of God,” Jesus did not mean an earthly political kingdom. It is a heavenly kingdom. Paul described the kingdom of God in Romans 14:17. Entrance into the kingdom of God requires repentance and spiritual rebirth. When a sinner trusts Jesus, he or she enters God’s kingdom and family. Like most of his Jewish friends, Nicodemus thought that being born a Jew, and living according to the Law, would satisfy God (see Matthew 3:7-12 and John 8:33-39). Ever since Adam’s sin in Genesis 3, all humankind have been born outside paradise. Only by being born again can we enter the kingdom of God.

2. The Nature of the New Birth (3:6-13)

a. The new birth is a spiritual birth (verses 6-7)
That which is born of the old nature will always be of old nature and is under the wrath of God. That which is born of the Spirit (the new nature discussed in 2 Peter 1:4) is Spirit and is eternal. You cannot produce a spiritual birth with physical means. This is why “born of water” in verse 5 cannot mean baptism, for baptism would mean applying a physical substance (water) to the physical being. This action could never bring about a spiritual birth. (Read John 1:11-13 and 6:63.)

“Born of water” does not refer to water baptism, for in the Bible baptism speaks of death, not birth (Romans 6:1). If baptism is essential for salvation, then nobody in the Old Testament was ever saved, for there was no baptism under the Law. The great saints named in Hebrews 11 were all saved by faith. Salvation is not of works (Ephesians 2:8-10), and baptism is a human work. Jesus came to save, yet He did not baptize (John 4:2). If baptism is necessary for eternal life, why did Paul rejoice because he had not baptized more people (1 Corinthians 1:13-17)?

The new birth can only be produced by spiritual means through the Spirit of God (John 3:6 and 6:63) and the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18). The “water” in verse 5 refers to physical birth (every baby is “born of water”), the thing Nicodemus mentioned in verse 4. A person is born again when the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to produce faith and impart the new nature when the person believes. The Spirit usually uses a believer to give the Word to another person (see 1 Corinthians 4:15), but only the Spirit can impart life.

b. It is a mysterious birth (verses 8-10)

No one can explain the wind, and no one can explain the working of the Spirit. Both the Spirit and the believer are like the wind. Nicodemus, instructed in the Law, should have known the truth of the renewing work of the Spirit (Ezekiel 37).

c. It is a real birth (verses 11-13)

Many things are mysterious yet real. Jesus assured Nicodemus that the new birth is not a fantasy, but a reality. If a person will believe Jesus’ words and receive Him, he or she will discover how real and wonderful the new birth is.

This lesson has sought to explain the need and nature of the new birth in Jesus by studying Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 1:1-13. The passage shows that New Birth is necessary in order to see and enter the kingdom of God. Contrary to natural birth, the new birth in Jesus Christ is spiritual, mysterious and real.

1. What does it mean to be born again?
2. Explain the statement that “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
3. Why is it necessary to be born again?
4. The new birth in Christ is mysterious and real. How far do you agree?


Baptism and the Lord’s Supper constitute the two main ordinances in the Baptist Church. This is to say that, contrary to other views that see Baptism and The Lords Supper as Sacraments, Baptists see them as ordinances thus placing much emphasis on their obedience and symbolic significance.

What is the meaning of the Lord’s Supper?
The early church remembered that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on the night of the Passover meal (Luke 22:13 –20). Just as Passover celebrated deliverance from slavery in Egypt, so the Lord’s Supper celebrates deliverance from sin by the Messiah’s death.

In verse 24, when Jesus said, “This is my body,” we believe that the bread and the wine symbolize the Messiah’s body and blood.

In verse 25, what is this new covenant? In the old covenant, people could approach God only through the priest and the sacrificial system. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, resulted in the new covenant or agreement between God and us. Now all people can personally approach God and communicate with Him. The people of Israel first entered into this agreement after their exodus from Egypt (Exodus 24). It was designed to point to the day when Jesus the Messiah would come. The new covenant completes, rather than replaces, the old covenant. It fulfilled everything the old covenant looked forward to (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Eating the bread and drinking the cup shows that we are remembering the Messiah’s death for us and renewing our commitment to serve Him.
How do we remember the Messiah in the Lord’s Supper? By thinking about what he did and why he did it. If the Lord’s Supper becomes just a ritual or a pious habit, it no longer remembers Jesus, and it loses its significance.
The Corinthian believers were not observing the Lord’s Supper in a right way. The following gives instances of the disorder:

a. Disorder at the Lord’s Supper (11:1-22)
In verses 17 – 19, when there are divisions and factions (heresies) in the church, even though they seem hidden, they will show up in the public meetings. The Lord’s Supper speaks of the unity of believers. The divisions in the church would negate this wonderful message.

Verses 20-23 speak of selfish motives. The early church often held a “love feast,” a fellowship meal, in conjunction with the Lord’s Supper. But at Corinth, the rich came with their large amounts of food while the poor sat on the side with a piece of bread. “Eat at home!” Paul commands them. “Your gluttony and drunkenness are a disgrace to the Lord!” (verse 22). If believers do not love one another, they can never partake of the Lord’s Supper and be blessed.

b. The Consequences of This Disorder (11:23-30)

They were judged instead of blessed (verses 23-29).
Apparently, the Messiah had given Paul instructions about the Lord’s Supper personally, for the apostle was not in the Upper Room when the ordinance was instituted. Paul’s words speak of the broken body and shed blood of the Messiah for His church, which are a constant reminder of His love and His coming again. We look back to the cross and forward to His coming. But the Supper had ceased to be a blessing to the church at Corinth, for the way they abused it was a cause of judgment. Their meetings were “for the worse, not the better” (verse 17)! This is the way spiritual matters always work: if our hearts are not right, whatever should be a blessing becomes a curse.

They were chastened (verse 30).
God allowed sickness and even death to come to the Corinthian church because it was partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Paul never tells us we must be “worthy” to eat at the Lord’s Table; for if that were the case no one would be able to partake. Though we are not worthy, we can partake in a worthy manner by understanding what the Supper means. It means having a heart free from sin, being filled with love for Jesus and His people and being willing to obey His Word. Believers often think they can “get away” with carelessness in church, but this is impossible. If our hearts are not right, God has to discipline us to bring us to the place of blessing.

c. The Correction of This Disorder (11:31-34)

Self-judgment (verses 31-32)
When we face our sins honestly and judge them and confess them, then God will not discipline us. “Let a man examine himself” is Paul’s command in verse 28. At the Lord’s Supper, we take three “looks”: we look within and confess our sins. We look back and remember Calvary. We look ahead and eagerly anticipate His return. The principle is clear: if we do not judge our sins, God will have to judge us.

Mutual love (verse 33)
“Don’t think only of yourself!” Paul wrote; “think of others.” This is love of the believer: putting others ahead of ourselves. How few believers obey this principle when it comes to worship. Often, we come to church asking, “Will I get anything out of the service today?” We should be asking, “What can I say or do that will give somebody else a blessing?”

Spiritual discernment (verse 34)
While there is nothing wrong with church fellowship meals, the place to eat is at home. However, if for fellowship purposes we are to eat together, let us eat to the glory of God. For the church primarily purposes to build one another spiritually that all might be able to go out to win others.

The Significance of the Lord’s Supper
The Significance of Baptist could be deduced from the various names used to describe the event. These include:
1. The Last Supper – remembering us of Christ’s historic celebration with his disciples. It seems also to have a reflection of the future last supper with the Lord
2. The Lord’s Supper – Drawing our attention to the fact that it is Jesus who instituted it. The drink and bread respectfully symbolize his shared blood and body broken for us.
3. The Communion – Emphasizing the fellowship aspect of the celebration and so reminds us of love for one another since we are all in one body of Christ.
4. Euchariste – From the Greek verb indicating our appreciation to God and so our thanksgiving to God for giving us his life.

To sum all these up with some suggestions for taking the Lord’s Supper:
1. We should take the Lord’s Supper thoughtfully because we are proclaiming that Jesus died for our sins (11:26).
2. We should take it worthily, with due reverence and respect (11:27).
3. We should examine ourselves for any unconfessed sin or resentful attitude (11:28).
4. We should be considerate of others (11:33), waiting until everyone is there and then eating in an orderly and unified manner.

As Christians, the Lord Jesus invites us to dine with him through the celebration of the Lord’s supper. As an ordinance, the Lord’s Supper is significant to us by reason of its past or historic, present and futuristic meaning. We are therefore encouraged to celebrate the Lord’s supper even as we have responded to faith in the Lord as our saviour.


Topic:  Divine principles of judgment that prove the Jew is equally condemned with the Gentile

Text: Romans 2:12-29


In the previous lesson, we studied that  the Jews, in the view of Paul, are equally condemned as sinners before God. We also learnt about two main divine principles of judgment that prove that the Jews are equally condemned with the Gentile. These principles included the fact that God’s judgment is according to truth and God’s Judgment is according to persons deeds. Today’s lesson continues the theme of the Principles of Divine Judgment.

Principles of Divine Judgment


 3.       God’s Judgment is Impartial (2:12-15)

Romans 2: 12-15 shows that God will judge people according to the light they have received. But never think that the Gentiles (who were unaware of Moses) lived apart from law. For the moral law of God was written on their hearts (see 1:19). Humankind will be judged according to the knowledge of God, which they possess and never according to any higher standard that they do not possess. The Jews hear the Law but refuse to do it, and will be thus judged more severely. The same will happen to those who hear   God’s Word today but will not heed it.

It is interesting to observe that  Paul in verse 15 notes that Our hearts is the place on which the requirements of the law have been written. Our consciences play the role of prodding and reproving us and our thoughts usually accuse us, although, it sometimes even excuses us.


4. God’s Judgment is According to the Gospel of Christ (2:17-29)

Twice now Paul has mentioned a Day of Judgment (vv. 5 and 16). Three truths about Judgment day – the Day of God’s Wrath (vs. 5):


  • God’s judgment will include the hidden areas of our lives. The Judgement will be of the heart, when God will reveal all secrets. God will judge men’s secrets (cf. I Sam. 16:7; Psa. 139:1ff; Jer. 17:10; Luke. 16:15; Heb. 4:12ff.).
  • Judgement will take place through Jesus Christ (cf. Jn. 5:22, 27). Christ will be the judge
  • And the issue will be: What did you do with the Gospel of Christ.


 Some Important Commentary


  1. The Jews boasted of their racial and religious privileges. Because God had given them His Word, they knew His will and had a finer sense of values. They looked upon the Gentiles as blind, in the dark, fools and babes (vv. 19-20).
  2. The Jews considered themselves to be God’s exclusive favourites; but what they failed to see was that these very privileges obligated them to live holy lives. They disobeyed the very law they preached to the Gentiles. The result was that even the Gentiles blasphemed God’s name because of the sins of the Jews. Paul is referring perhaps to Isa. 52:5,  Ezek. 36:21-11, or Nathan’s words to David in 2 Sam. 12:14. If any people had religion, it was the Jews; yet their religion was a matter of outward ceremony and not inward reality.
  3. They boasted of their rite of circumcision, a ceremony that identified them with the living God; yet what good is a physical rite if there is no obedience to God’s Word? Paul even goes so far as to say that the uncircumcised Gentile who obeyed God’s Word was better off than the circumcised Jew who disobeyed it (v. 27), and that the circumcised Jew who disobeyed God was looked upon as uncircumcised. For a true Jew, is one who has faith inwardly, whose heart has been changed, and not one who merely follows outward ceremonies in the flesh.

Verse 27 boldly states that the Gentiles who by nature, though uncircumcised, fulfil the Law are going to judge the Jews who transgress God’s standards.

The Gospel of Christ demands an inward change (John 3:7). It is not obedience to religious systems that will allow one to pass the test when Christ judges the secrets of men’s heart. It is the Gospel of Christ that is God’s power unto salvation, both to the Jew and Gentile (Rom. 1:16). If a person has never believed the Gospel and received Christ, then he or she stands condemned. The Jews, with all their religion and legalism, were (and are) just as much under sin as the Gentiles – and more so, because to them were given greater privileges and opportunities to know the truth.


This passage therefore states clearly that God does not judge according to human principles, but according to His Truth, according to our deeds, and according to the Gospel of Christ. Thus, in chapter 1 Paul proves that the Gentiles are without excuse, and here in chapter 2, that the Jews are without excuse, and here in chapter 2, that the Jews are without excuse. In chapter 3, he will prove that the whole world is under sin and condemnation, desperately needing the grace of God.



1.       What is the meaning of the moral law of God?


2.       Why is it that God’s Judgment is impartial?


3.       God’s judgment is according to Jesus Christ and it includes every area of our lives. Do you agree?


4.       Have far are you prepared for God’s Judgment?



Prepared by:

Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Pastor in Charge,

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg





Topic:  Describing the sins of the Jews  – Divine principles of judgment that prove   that  the   Jews are equally condemned with the Gentiles

Text: Romans 2:1-11


In the last week lesson, the universal sinfulness of humankind was introduced by studying the sins of the Gentile world. In today’s lesson, Paul continues the subject by turning his attention  on the Jews. Romans 2:1-11 is, however, not quite clear whether Paul was still thinking about the Gentiles or Jews. There are three possible interpretations. Some scholars are of the opinion that Paul was still speaking to Gentiles  because he did not mention Jews until verse 17. Others think he was referring to anyone, Jew or Gentile, who thinks that for some reason he is better than other people in the sight of God, because verses 9-10 refer to ‘every human being.’ Others also say Paul was speaking to Jews, because they were particularly aware of the special blessings they had received (2:4), and believed themselves to be superior to Gentiles (2:1). In this study, we shall follow the last interpretation remembering that these words are often as true of Gentiles today as they are of Jews.

Principles of Divine Judgment

In this chapter, Paul returns the searchlight on his own people, the Jews, and shows that they are equally condemned as sinners before God. For though they have the law, they do not do uniformly or consistently live up to the law, and therefore they, too, stand guilty before God. In 1:20, he states that the Gentiles are  without excuse, and in 2:1 he states that the Jews are without excuse. In this second chapter, Paul points out four divine principles of judgment that prove the Jew is equally condemned with the Gentile.

  1. Judgment is according to God’s Truth (2:1-5)

Verse 1: No excuse: Paul’s teaching about judging agrees with that of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf

7:1), who did not condemn judging as such, but hypocritical judging. You who pass judgment, a warning that had special relevance for  Jews, who were inclined  to look down on Gentiles because of their ignorance of God’s revelation in the Old Testament and because of their immoral lives.

Verse 2: God’s judgement of men is not according to hearsay, gossip, our own good opinions, or man’s evaluations; it is according to truth (v2). How easy it is for us today,  as in Paul’s day, to condemn others, yet have the very same sins in our own lives.  People are often   quick to see the faults of others, but slow to see the same faults in themselves (cf. Nathan’s story in 2 Samuel 12:1-9). Do you know of a similar story?

But the Jew may have argued back: Surely God would not judge us with the same truth he applies to the Gentiles. Why, see how good God has been to Israel. But they were ignorant of the purpose God had in mind when He poured out His goodness on Israel and waited so patiently for His people to obey: His goodness was supposed to lead them to repentance. Instead, they hardened their hearts and thus stored up more wraths for that day when Christ will judge the lost (Rev. 20).

It is common to hear people say: Oh, I’m sure God isn’t going to send me to hell. Why, He’s done many good things for me. Little do they realize that God’s goodness is the preparation for His grace; and instead of bowing in humble gratitude, they harden their hearts and commits more sin, thinking that God loves them too much to condemn them.


These same two excuses that the Jews used in Paul’s day are still heard today:

    • I am better than others, so I don’t need Christ;
    • God has been good to me and will certainly never condemn me

But God’s final judgment will not be according to men’s opinions and evaluations; it will be according to His truth.

  1. God’s Judgment is According to a Person’s Deeds (2:6-11)

The Jews thought they held the highest status among God’s people, not realizing that it is one thing to be a hearer of the law, and quite another to be a doer (v. 13). Keep in mind that these verses do not tell us how to be saved. They describe how God judges humankind according to the deeds performed in the course of life. Verse 7-8 are not talking about a person’s occasional actions, but the total purpose and drift of persons whole life, the “life-choice”. People do not get eternal life by patiently seeking it; but if they are seeking for life, they will find it in Christ.


As pointed out already, using the Jews as an example, Paul brings out some principles of Divine judgment that is applicable to all. Paul’s use of the phrases: each person (v.6), every human being (v. 9), everyone (v. 10)  show that God is no respecter of persons but judges all mankind on the basis of the lives they have lived.


  1. What is the meaning of divine Judgment?
  2. Explain the statement that the Jews are without Excuse before God.
  3. How does God judge humankind according to God’s Truth? Discus
  4. What is your view on the statement that, God is not a respecter of persons?
  5. Does God’s Judgment according to persons deeds relate to salvation? Explain


Prepared by:

Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Pastor in Charge,

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg