DOES JOHN 3:3 TEACH CALVINISM?



DOES JOHN 3:3 TEACH CALVINISM?



Reformed Theology which is also known as Calvinism and Predeterminism teaches that all of mankind is so depraved that even the elect MUST be regenerated or be BORN-AGAIN before they can even UNDERSTAND the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And they use John 3:3 to support their teaching of total depravity to try and prove that a person must be REGENERATED first before they can UNDERSTAND the GOSPEL.


Please read John 3:3.


“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, EXCEPT a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God.”



The Greek word translated as “SEE” here literally means to UNDERSTAND. So then, Reformed Theology Christians read or interpret this verse to mean that a person cannot possibly UNDERSTAND anything about God including the GOSPEL until AFTER they are BORN-AGAIN. In other words, according to the Calvinistic interpretation of John 3:3, a person must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit FIRST before they can UNDERSTAND the things of the kingdom of God.


But that INTERPRETATION contradicts Ephesians 1:12-17.



“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first TRUSTED (Or BELIEVED) IN Christ.

13.  In whom you also TRUSTED (Or BELIEVED), AFTER that you HEARD the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: IN whom ALSO AFTER that you BELEIVED, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14.  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15.  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith (Or you coming to BELIEVE) in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17.  THAT (Or so that) the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may GIVE unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (So that you can UNDERSTAND the things of the kingdom of God)

18.  The eyes of your UNDERSTANDING being enlightened; THAT you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”



This passage of scripture clearly teaches us that we get saved AFTER we have HEARD the gospel of our salvation. And the Bible teaches us in Romans 10:17 that faith COMES by HEARING the word of God. This and other verses also teach us that the gift of the Holy Spirit is ONLY given to people AFTER they are BORN-AGAIN. And the reason we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit AFTER we are born-again is to give us UNDERSTANDING of the DEEP spiritual things of God in the kingdom or realm of God. The Holy Spirit is our teacher who leads and guides us into all truth which the world cannot understand.


Please read 1 Corinthians 2:9-14.


“Howbeit we speak wisdom (Or we teach the DEEP things of God and the kingdom of God) among them that are PERFECT: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:

7.  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8.  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9. But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that LOVE him. (So while the glory that God prepared was for ALL of mankind the glory will only be obtained by those of us who LOVE God unto the end. Keep in mind that Paul is speaking to true born-again Christians who LOVE God concerning the DEEPER things of God, even the HIDDEN wisdom of God that even Satan and the fallen angels do not understand)

10.  BUT God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11.  For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God (Still speaking about the DEEP things of God and NOT the SIMPLICITY of the gospel of salvation) knows no man, but the Spirit of God.

12.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but (We have RECEIVED) the Spirit which is of God; THAT we might know the things (Speaking of the HIDDEN things of God) that are freely given to us of God. (Now in this present kingdom of God and also in the kingdom of God in the world to come. So again, we must be born-again BEFORE we RECEIVE the Holy Spirit to be able to UNDERSTANDING the things that God has prepared for those who LOVE God)

13.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost TEACHES; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14.  But the natural man receives not the THINGS of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”



So then, what Jesus is teaching us in John 3:3 is that before we can UNDERSTAND the “spiritual” things of the kingdom of God we must be born-again. In other words, Jesus is not saying that we must be born-again before you can understand the gospel to be born-again. The Bible clearly teaches us that we are born-again BY the WORD OF God.


Please read 1 Peter 1:23.


Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, BY the WORD OF God, which liveth and abideth forever.”


And we read in 1 John 5:1 that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.


1 John 5:1.


WHOSOEVER BELIEVES that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loves him that begat loves him also that is begotten of him.”


And Romans 10:17 teaches us that FAITH or what we BELIEVE comes from HEARING and true understanding comes from the WORD.


Please read Romans 10:13-17.


For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have NOT BELIEVED? And how shall they BELIEVE in him of whom they have NOT HEARD? And how shall they HEAR (The incorruptible SEED of the word of God, the GOSPEL of salvation to be BORN-AGAIN)  WITHOUT a PREACHER (Who is preaching the true GOSPEL of salvation)?

15.  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16.  But they have not all OBEYED the gospel. For Esaias says, Lord, who has believed our report? (And for those who are STUBBORN to OBEY the hearing of the gospel to BELIEVE you keep PERSUADING them because FAITH COMES by HEARING)

17.  So then FAITH COMES by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”



Here is Romans 10:17 from the New Century Version.


“So faith comes from hearing the Good News, and people hear the Good News WHEN someone tells them about Christ.”


Now, let us back up to Romans 1:16.


For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL: for IT (Speaking of the true GOSPEL of Jesu Christ) is the power of God UNTO SALVATION to EVERYONE that BELIEVES; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”


Let us read Ephesians 1:13 one more time.


“In whom you also trusted (Or believed), AFTER that you HEARD the word of truth, the GOSPEL of your salvation: in whom also AFTER that you BELIEVED, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Or AFTER you BELIEVED you were regenerated by the Holy Spirit),”


Now let us go back and read John 3:3 again with the LIGHT of what we just learned in this study of God’s word the clearly teaches us that we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit AFTER we BELIEVE the GOSPEL of our salvation.


John 3:3.


“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except (Or UNTIL) a man be born again, he cannot see (Or PERCEIVE) the kingdom of God.”


In other words, UNTIL a person HEAR the gospel and then BELIEVES the Gospel to be BORN-AGAIN they cannot PERCEIVE that they have been forgiven of all the sins. To say this another way, a person cannot PERCEIVE the KNOWING that they are saved UNTIL they are TRULY born-again or regenerated by the Holy Spirit to be a new creature created in Jesus Christ.


Please read 1 John 5:10-13.


He that BELIEVES on the Son of God has the WITNESS IN himself: he that believes not God has made him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave of his Son.  (So then, it is AFTER we BELIEVE the GOSPEL that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God who died for our sin, THEN we receive the WITNESS to dwell IN us that bears WITNESS to us that we are the sons and daughters of God. And no one can receive the INDWELLING WITNESS of the Holy Spirit to PERCEIVE that they are saved UNTIL AFTER they are truly BORN-AGAIN by the word of TRUTH)

11.  And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life (As a PROMISE or as an EARNEST of the Holy Spirit who abides or dwells IN us bearing WITNESS that we are the children of God to KNOW that we are saved with absolute certainty), and this life is in his Son.

12.  He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God (So John is writing these things to true born-again Christians that ALREADY BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God); THAT (Or SO THAT) you may KNOW that you have eternal life, AND that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”


This WITNESS that ONLY COMES to dwell in a person AFTER they are truly saved is given to us so that we will CONTINUE to BELIEVE unto the receiving of the END of our salvation. And that is one of the main meanings of John 3:3. The other main meaning of equal importance is that we will not literally see the kingdom of God in the world to come UNLESS we are saved and CONTINUE to remain saved. Jesus warned us that ONLY those who endure unto the END shall be saved. Please read the studies “CAN A CHRISTIAN LOSE THEIR SALVATION?” and “IS ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED BIBLICAL?”


Please read John 3:16-18 where the Bible is teachings us that if we do NOT CHOOSE TO BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, then we shall REMAIN in our sins being condemned already to the second death BECAUSE we have NOT BELIEVED. In other words, we have TWO CHOICES. We can choose to BELIEVE. Or we can choose to NOT believe. The choice is always our own choice. And the preaching of the Gospel helps us to make the RIGHT CHOICE!

 

John 3:16-18.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, THAT (Or so that) WHOSOEVER BELIEVES in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17.  For (Or BECAUSE) God sent NOT his Son into the world to CONDEMN the world; but that the world through him MIGHT be saved.

18.  He (Of WHOSOEVER of ANY person in the whole world) that BELIEVES on him is NOT condemned: (That is ONE CHOICE and the CHOICE that God DESIRE that we make) BUT he that believes NOT is condemned already, BECAUSE he has NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

 


And the last have of verse 18 is the SECOND CHOICE that God does NOT DESIRE that ANY person makes because it is God’s WILL and desire that ALL men be saved according to the SIMPLICITY of the gospel found in 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4.

 

Now, please consider the OTHER side of this highly controversial subject of Predeterminism. You see, all you need to do is to PLUG IN the Calvinistic theology of ONLY the ELECT being saved into John 3:16-18 and see if it COMPUTES logically in your mind. Here is how a NON-Calvinist Christians see your interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being INTENDED ONLY for the ELECT.

 

Here is the Calvinistic translation of John 3:16-18.

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever of the ELECT CHOSEN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD TO BE SAVE WHO BELIEVE in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the ELECT OF THE world; but that the ELECT OF THE world through him MIGHT be saved.

18  He OF WHOSOEVER OF THE ELECT CHOSEN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD that BELIEVES on him is not condemned: BUT he OF WHOSOEVER OF THE ELECT CHOSEN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD that BELIEVES NOT is condemned already, BECAUSE he OF WHOSOEVER OF THE ELECT CHOSEN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD has NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

 


Now according to Calvinism, it is IMPOSSIBLE for one of the ELECT to NOT BELIEVE. And according to Calvinism, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is INTENDED for ONLY the ELECT seeing that ONLY the ELECT can possibly BELIEVE. So by the Predeterminism Theology redefining the word “WHOSOEVER” to mean “ONLY the ELECT” does NOT COMPUTE when applied to scripture. You see, when that “Calvinistic” meaning of “ONLY the ELECT” is plugged into John 3:16-18 where Jesus is clearly teaching us IN SIMPLICITY that the ELECT have TWO CHOICES from which to choose of their own free will. The ELECT can either CHOOSE to BELIEVE. Or the ELECT can CHOOSE to NOT believe. And the eternal life of the ELECT depends on which CHOICE that the ELECT makes of that ELECT person’s own free will.

 

Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you CONTINUE to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. Your very eternal life depends upon what CHOICES that you make. So choose wisely according to the SOUND BIBLICAL teaching of the scriptures.

 

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.

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The NEXT VERSE we will study is Acts 13:48 in the study called WHAT DOES ACTS 13:48 TRULY MEAN?