What does "Born of Water and Spirit" mean?
John 3:3-5, Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus had no glue what Jesus was talking about. He thought Jesus was talking about being born twice physically, being physically born a second time.
(1). John's baptism.
Jesus nowhere makes John's baptism a requirement for salvation. John's baptism was preparing them for the Messiah.
(2). Christian baptism.
Some say water baptism but this would be meaningless to Nicodemus before the church was even born at Pentecost. Water baptism is not a condition for salvation nor was it instituted at this time.
(3). Human birth.
Some say "water" refers to the amniotic fluid of human birth. One has to be born physically before he could be spiritually born (note it is water and spirit).
(4). Regeneration by the Spirit or the cleansing by the Spirit through the Word of God (Ezek. 36:25-26).
Ezekiel 36:25-26, Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. (26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” (27) I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.
I want to give 4 reasons it is probably the latter view...
1. Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; water is not baptism or physical birth.
2. Eph. 5:26, "To make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.
3. The Context of vs. 6-8- Wind and the spirit are the same Greek word, pneuma, which means in English, breath or pneumonia.
In creation everything is after its kind- flesh begets flesh and Spirit begets spirit. The wind can't be controlled and is invisible but the effects of the wind can be seen and witnessed. The proof of the Spirit's work can be seen and evidenced.
4. The Lord's rebuke in 3:9-10- Nicodemus did not understand. It had something to do with OT Scriptures which Nicodemus should have known.