Foundations: Born and Living from Above

By George F. Borghardt

Anothen. Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless someone is born anothen, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Anothen is the Greek word for "from above."

"You can't exactly go back into your mom's womb and be born again!" Nicodemus gets that part right. Mom's womb is an exit only. That's crazy talk! To be born anothen is to be born of water and the Spirit with the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." These aren't just any old words--they are life-giving Spirit words, water words, baptismal words! These are His words, which bring us from death to life eternal.

Flesh gives birth to flesh. We work, we hold up our deeds before God, we sin, the Law condemns us, we die. And so on and so on and so on. But the Spirit gives birth to the Spirit. Life-giving, water-filled words raise us from the dead as certainly as Jesus has been raised from the dead. New life, new salvation, new existence--not from our own straining for it within us, but from above.

Anouthen is the Lord's Work

We don't choose to be conceived or knock gently on mom's belly when we decide to be born. And we certainly don't give birth to ourselves. That's just more crazy talk! We weren't born like that the first time. We aren't born like that for the "anothen" time either.

We are born "from above." It's passive on our part! The Lord does all the work by the water and the Spirit. Eternal life isn't earned or deserved--He washes it upon us. We are bathed in it. We are cleaned by it. We are baptized into eternal life in Christ. For Christ is our eternal life. He's heaven for us. He's the kingdom of God among us. He took upon Himself our sins and He suffered and died for them.

Christ's holy life and terrible sufferings and death save us—His life lived for us and His death for our death. His resurrection drips on us from above at the baptismal font. We died in Him. We rose in Him. We live in Him.

Anouthen Fosters Faith

But what about faith? Don't we have to believe for the anothen to work for us? Faith flows from the water and the Spirit and is created from above within us. We are baptized into the faith. We are in the faith in the waters of our Baptism like we are in the water when we jump into a pool. Water is around us. It's in us. Faith's the same way!

Faith receives Christ who lived perfectly for you. It lays hold of Christ who died for your sins. Faith clings to that forgiveness for our sins and it believes this Word of Gospel in the water.
Faith is alive and active, working within us for others. It doesn't live for itself but for others. We don't live for ourselves anymore, but for others. That Spirit-filled water from our Baptism seeps into all areas of our lives! We haven't been born from above to keep on living the way we lived before or to be the walking dead. We were born anew to a faith-filled life, certain that the death and resurrection of Christ answers for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

You are not going to be alive anothen just some day in the future. You are raised anothen from the dead right now. You see the kingdom of God now by faith and you will enter it for certain on the Last Day.

You are alive this very moment to serve others. By faith you have been set loose to put their needs first--their wills before your will; their ways before your way. Why not? You've already died and been raised from the dead! You are born from above to live each moment of each day in service to those around you.

Anouthen Brings Forgiveness

Will you fail? Will you mess up? Will you sin? Will you live like you haven't been born from above? Duh. Of course you will--daily and much. Living from above isn't living perfectly. It's admitting to God when you haven't lived as you should, and receiving His forgiveness. That's by faith, too.  You were born anothen into His life. You live anothen. You care for others anothen. You serve others anothen. When you sin, you receive forgiveness from Jesus anothen. When you fall asleep and you can't do any more in this life, you will die anothen.

On that day, on the Last Day, He'll raise you up anothen, too, and you'll see just how much you were born to live from above by the water and the Spirit. You will see all the forgiveness and life that came to you from above in the waters of Holy Baptism. And you will live anothen with Him forever and ever.

Anothen. Anothen is "from above." We are born from above. We live from above. "For whoever is born anothen shall see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

Rev. George F. Borghardt is the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bossier City, Louisiana and serves as the president of Higher Things.
This article was originally published on the Higher Things website in June 2013.  
Posted in
Tagged with , , ,

Recent

Archive

 2021
 January
Reflections: January 1, 2021This Just In: The Ultimate ResolutionReflections: January 2, 2021Reflections: January 3, 2021Reflections: January 4, 2021Video Short: January 5, 2021Video Short: January 4, 2021Reflections: January 5, 2021Reflections: January 6, 2021Video Short: January 6, 2021Under the Cross: Don't Look at the ListReflections: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 7, 2021Video Short: January 8, 2021Reflections: January 8, 2021Dean's List: The Catechism Really Is for YouReflections: January 9, 2021Reflections: January 10, 2021Reflections: January 11, 2021Video Short: January 11, 2021Helpful Things: Fundraising Essentials FOR YOUReflections: January 13, 2021Video Short: January 12, 2021Reflections: January 12, 2021Video Short: January 13, 2021Reflections: January 14, 2021Video Short: January 14, 2021Under the Cross: You Don't Belong to This WorldReflections: January 15, 2021Video Short: January 15, 2021Reflections: January 16, 2021Reflections: January 17, 2021Reflections: January 18, 2021Video Short: January 18, 2021This Just In: Martin Luther King, Jr.--The Man Who Had a DreamReflections: January 19, 2021Video Short: January 19, 2021Dead Christians You Should Know About: Saint SebastianReflections: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 20, 2021Video Short: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 21, 2021Reflections: January 22, 2021Reflections: January 23, 2021Video Short: January 22, 2021Dean's List: Jesus Hits the Spot!Reflections: January 24, 2021Reflections: January 25, 2021Reflections: January 26, 2021Video Short: The Conversion of St. PaulHelpful Things: Effective Fundraising Through Midweek MealsVideo Short: Suffering Doesn't Mean God Doesn't Love YouReflections: January 27, 2021Video Short: Woke Wednesday: Karma, Karma, KarmaVideo Short: Abortion and the Church's WorkReflections: January 28, 2021Reflections: January 29, 2021Video Short: What Goes On In Your Pastor's Mind About Closed CommunionFoundations: You Need Your Pastor More Than EverReflections: January 30, 2021Reflections: January 31, 2021

Categories

Tags

1 Cor 11 1 John 10 Commandments 10th Commandment 1525 1Tim 2 1st Commandment 2 Tables of the Law 2000 2002 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021AD 20th birthday 2nd Adam Jesus 2nd Commandment 3rd Article 3rd commandment 3rd day of wedding 40 days 4th commandment 5th Commandment 8th Commandment 9/11 95 Thesis 9th commandment Aaronic Blessing Abraham Absolution Acts 1 Acts 9 Acts Adam Adiaphora Advent Age of Accountability Albrecht Peters All Hallows Eve Alpha and Omega Ambrose Amen-I beleve Amen American Andrew Anointed One Apocrypha Apology Apostles Creed Apostles' Creed Apostles\' Creed Apostles\\\' Creed Areopagus Armor Ascension Day Athens Augsburg Augustian monk Augustine Babylonians Bach Baker Bamsch Barabbas Beatitudes Beginning and End Benediction Benedictus Best Friend Jesus Bethany Bethel Bethesda Bethlehem Bible study Boaz Bondage of the Will Book of Life Book of Mormon Book of Prayer Bread of Life Buddha C.S. Lewis CDC COVID-19 COVID Caesar Calling Calvary Canaanite woman Canaan Capernaum Castillero Catholic Cath Changed form Chestfeeding Chief Sheperd Chief Shepherd Christ Jesus Christ crucified Christ death Christ fills repentance Christ fulfilled Christ raised Christ righteousness Christ the King Christ's precious blood Christ's works Christ\'s precious blood Christ\'s works Christ\\\'s precious blood Christ\\\'s works Christ\\\\\\\'s precious blood Christian Baptism Christian Church Christian Science Christological Christology Church Communion Compline Concordia Constantine Coram Deo Corinthians Corinth Corrow Creator God Creator Creeds Cross of Christ Cross of Jesus Cyrus DCYSKNA DNA Daniel Dan Dare to be Lutheran Date to Be Lutheran David's decendant David\'s decendant David\\\'s decendant David Dawkins Deborah Deliverer Deuteronomy Diet of Worms Divergent Divine Service Dorothy Sayers Dr Seuss Drosendahl Dying to Live Earth Day Eastern Sages/Gentiles Ecclesiastes Eden Ehrhard Eighth Commandment Elijah Elisha Elvis Emmanuel Enlightenment Ephesians 2 Ephesians 3 Ephesians 4 Ephesians Ephrath Epiphany=Gentile Christmas Esau Espinosa Eternal Son Eucharist Evening Prayer Eve Eyes on Jesus Ezekiel Ezkiel Father Fenker Fibbing Fifth Commandment First Article First Commandment Fisk Flood Following the Star Formula of Concord Fourth Commandment Fourth Petition France Frederick Friedich Wyneken Friend of Sinners From Above Ft Wayne seminary Gabriel Garden Gen Z Genesis 22 Genesis Georgia Germany German Gideon Gifts of God Given God Helps God above all God forgives sin God hears/answers God hides himself God of Order God of grace God of mercy God on the cross God saves losers God saves God the Father God who saves God works good from evil God-man God's Church God's I will God's Law God's Word God's authority God's faithful God's greatness God's justice God's kingdon God's love God's name God's nos create trust God's plan God's sight God's will God's wisdom God's work God\'s Church God\'s I will God\'s Law God\'s Word God\'s authority God\'s faithful God\'s greatness God\'s justice God\'s kingdon God\'s name God\'s plan God\'s sight God\'s will God\'s wisdom God\'s work God\\\'s I will God\\\'s Law God\\\'s Word God\\\'s justice God\\\'s kingdon God\\\'s name God\\\'s plan God\\\'s sight God\\\'s wisdom God\\\'s work God\\\\\\\'s Law God\\\\\\\'s Word God\\\\\\\'s kingdon God\\\\\\\'s name God\\\\\\\'s wisdom God\\\\\\\'s work God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Word God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s wisdom God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s work God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s work Gods grace God Gof's glory Gof\'s glory Gof\\\'s glory Gof\\\\\\\'s glory Golgotha Goliath Good Friday Good Newa Good News Good Sheperd Good vs evil Goodman Goodness of the Lord Gospel = forgiveness Gospel requires hearing Grace Great Reversal Greeks Greek Hagar Halloween Han Solo Happy Lent Haughty Heavenly Father Hebrews Hebrew Here I Stand Hiding Place Hill His Name Hogwarts Hokana Holly Innocents Holocaust Holy Baptism Holy Communion Holy Land Holy Sacrement Holy Saturday Holy Week Holy name Hosanna Hull I am Immanuel Independence Indulgences Invocation Isaac Isaiah 55 Isaiah 66 Isaiah Islam Jacoby Jacob Jeremiah Jesus juatifies the ungodly Jesus Christ Jesus body Jesus calls Jesus died Jesus fixed sin Jesus forgives Jesus is Lord Jesus is Truth Jesus is Yaweh Jesus is future Jesus is present Jesus is the suwwer Jesus is true God Jesus is true man Jesus is with us Jesus lived Jesus ministry Jesus on the Cross Jesus os past Jesus pays debt Jesus peace Jesus reveals God Jesus rose Jesus saves Jesus shines like the sun Jesus suffering Jesus the Crucified Jesus the Sent One Jesus took God's anger Jesus took God\'s anger Jesus took God\\\'s anger Jesus took all sins Jesus travels to sinners Jesus washing feet Jesus-access tot he Father Jesus" compassion Jesus" peace Jesus" salvation Jesus' baptism Jesus' love Jesus' will Jesus\" compassion Jesus\" peace Jesus\" salvation Jesus\' baptism Jesus\\\" peace Jesus\\\\\\\" peace Jews and gentiles Joanna John 12 John 6 John the Baptist Johnson John Jonah Joseph Smith Josephus Joseph Joshua Joy/suffering Jubilate Judah Judgment Day Judica Sunday Karma=get what you give Keith Kenobi Kieselowsky King Josiah King Solomon King of Kings Kingdom of God Klages Kosche LGBTQ Laban Lamb of God Lamb Lamentations Lamg of God Last Day Law requires doing Law shows sin Lazarus Leah Lent Levi Life or death Lincoln Lor'd's Day Lor\'d\'s Day Lor\\\'d\\\'s Day Lor\\\\\\\'d\\\\\\\'s Day Lor\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'d\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Day Lord's Prayer Lord's Supper Lord's Word Lord\'s Prayer Lord\'s Supper Lord\'s Word Lord\\\'s Prayer Lord\\\'s Supper Lords's Prayer Lords\'s Prayer Lords\\\'s Prayer Lord Loss Luke 11 Luke 17 Luke 18 Luke 1 Luther Lydia Maggie Karner Magnificat Maiwald Making Waves Margery Kempe Mark 7 Mark 8 Marr 3 Martha Martin Luther Mary Mass Master Matt 13 Matt 20 Matt 3 Matt 6 Matthew 2 Matthew 8 Matthew 9 Matthew Matthias replaces Judas Matthias Maundy Thursday McCrorey McKenna Melanchthon Memorial Day Messiah Micah 7 Micah Middle East Monica Mormonism Mormon Mother of God Mt Zion Muhammad Muhlenberg Muslims Myers Nagel Name of the Lord Narnia Nazareth Nehemiah New Man New Testament New Year Nicene Nicodemus Nunes Oded Office of Ministry Old Man Old Testament One Baptism One Faith One Lord One tru God Ostapowich Palmarum Paradise Passion time Passover Paul/greatest apostle Pauls Peperkorn Person of Jesus Peter's confession Peter\'s confession Pharaoh Pharisees Pharoah Philip Philistines Phillip and James Phillip Phoebe Pierson Pilate Polycarp Pontius Pilate Populus Zion Potiphar Pray ye Preus Proverbs 31 Proverbs Psalm 13 Psalm 25 Psalm 43 Psalm 51 Psalm 70 Psalm 86 Rachel Rahab Rebekah Redeemer Reuben Revelation Riley Risen Lord Rogate Roman persecution Romans 1 Romans 3 Romans 4 Romans 5 Romans Rosebrough Ruth Sabbath Sacrement of the Altar Salome Sanchez Sanctus Sarah Saul/greatest preseutor Savior of all Savior Schools shouln't lead prayer Schuldheisz Scriptures Sebastian Second Article Seed Septuagesima Sermon on the Mount Shakespeare Simeon Simon Sin-Bearer Singing Sinner team becomes Jesus' team Sinner team becomes Jesus\' team Sixth Commandment Sletten Smalcald Sodom Son of David Son of God Son of Josiah Son of Mam Son of Man Son of the Living God Sons of God Son Sower Spirit of God Spoken Gospel St Patrick St. Joseph St. Matthias St. Paul St.Bartholomew Stand firm Staupitz Supper Table of Duties Te Deum Ten Commandments Thanks The Feast The Son of God Theology of the Cross Theotokos Third Article Timothy Titus Tolkien Transfiguation Transfiquration Tree of Cross Tree of Knowledge Tree of Life Twelve UFO Valentine Vieker Visitation Weedon Winter Wittenberg Woelmer Word and Sacraments Word and Sacrement Word of Christ Word of God Word of the Lord Words of blessing Word Yaweh Zachariah Zacharias Zwingli "Not" "you are god" \"you are god\" \\\"you are god\\\" abortion is evil abortion abram absolute absolve abuse academic acceptable sacrifice active ad te levavi addiction adultery adults advice affirmation agape agnostic alcoholic aliens all have sinned all powerful almighty altar guild altar always anabaptists anarchy angel anger animal anna anouthen answering prayers answer anti-christian antinomian antioch antiphonal antithetical to Christianity anxiety apocalypse apologetic apostle appearances appearance archaeology archangels ark armed forces artist ascension assembly of believers assurance in His Word athanasian atheism atheist atonement augustana authority awake babylon baby backsliding baggage banquet baptismal grace baptism baptized baptizing barnabas barren bartholomew beginning being made holy belief believes believing is recieving benjamin best construction betray between you bible bigot birth of Jesus birthright blessings blessing blind blood boast body and blood body bonhoeffer borghardt born again bound will brandt bread breakup bride of Christ bridegroom bride brother buetow burial cain calendar campus life cancel culture cancelling the past cancer candle casket catechesis catechism catechize celebration centurion ceremonial washing chant character of God chastity chatity child abuse children of promise children choir chosen christianity christmas christ church attendance church planting circumcision clean clergy clerical cling coin college colossians combat comfort commandment command community compassion concupiscence condemn conferences confession of Trinity confession of fITH confessions confession confess confirmation connection conscience conspiracy theory context contrition conversion cookie cornerstone corrupting sin council counselor covenant coveting covet created for man creates faith creation creative love creed critical theory cross crown crucifiction crucified crucifix cry culture shock culture cupid curb/guide/rule curb/mirror/guide curb current events curse cwirla daily bread danger darkness dating de-platform deadly sin dead deaf dean death debt cancelled debt decrease defeat deliverance delivered demon depression descriptive vs prescriptive destroy devil disappointment disaster disciples discipline dishonesty dispair disposition of delight disruption diversity divorce doctrine dogma domestic violence donations donkey door doubts doubt doxology dream drew driven by the Spirit drugs earthquake easter ecclesiastical egypt election elizabeth embarrassment emotions empty tomb encourager encourgement endure enemy engineering enlightened enlivening entertainment envy epiphany epistle equality equal equity escped forced idolitry estates eternal life for us eternal life evangelism evangelist evil evolution exalted examine example excuses exercise love exhalted exhortation exiles exile extra nos extra-biblical eyewitness failure faith alone faith in Jesus faithful faith fall false gods false preachers false teachers false worship family famine fasting fate father sacrifices son father's house father\'s house father\\\'s house father\\\\\\\'s house fear feast feelings fellowship of believers female feminism fiery serpent filial fear fire firstfruits flesh flowers follow Christ follow font foolish for you forerunner foretaste forgiven in Christ forgiveness forgiven forgive fornication forsaken fortress fraud free gift free will freedom frees us freshman friendship from scripture fruits of faith fruit fulfilles fulfillment in Christ fulfillment full pardon funeral fun future games gaudete gay gender inclusive gender geneology generations generosity genetics genetic genocide gentiles gerhardt gift of community gift of justification gift of the Spiirit gifts of salvation gifts gift girlfriend give thanks given not earned glory of God glory gnosticism goats godliness godly families godly husband golden rule golf good gifts good samaritan good works good work good gospel gossiping government grace repents us gracious gratitude great commission grief groom guarded tomb guardian guard guest guide guilt by association guilt habitual sins hannah happiness harm to win hatred have mercy healing hearing/listening heart hear heaven heinz heirs hell heresy herod high priest high school history holiday holiness holy spirit holy trinity holy homosexuality honor parents honor hope against hope hopelessness hope hostility house of israel humbled humble humblw glory humility hurt husband hymnal hymn hypocrisy hypocrites iPad identity idol worship idolatry idol image imitate impossible improved imputed in Christ in Jesus incarnation inconsistant standards increase inheritance instigating faith institution internet interpretation introit invitation isolation israel issues james jerome jerusalem jesus jewish job joyful joy judas jude judge Jesus judge me judgement judge justice justification justify justin martyr kantor karma keep keseman keys kill kind kingdom king knowledge kohlmeier kuhlman lange language large catechism latin laugh law leaven lectionary legacy lemon lepers lept lex credendi lex orendi life vs death life-changing life lightning light lion listen liturgical liturgy live doubt live living bread living water lonely lords prayer lords supper lost sheep lost love your neighbor love-Christ on cross love lowly lust lutheran madden magicians magic magisterial magnify magruder manger manifestation manipulative manna marked as redeemed marriage martyrs martyr mary magdalene mary/faith masks meals means of grace means measures measure mediator mental health merciful mercy and grace mercy message of peace metanoia metaphor microagression mietzner millennium miracles miracle missionary misuse modernism money moses mountains movement murder musician mutual consolation my Savior myth name narrow door nation nature nebuchadnezzar need Jesus negative neighbor net of sin new command new creation new in Christ new life newborns news noah not a spell not blesses not condemned obedience obey offering old Adam on our knees on the knees onesimus orders ordinary ordination organ orgiven original sin orthodox our neighbors body overseer pagan pandemic papacy parable of sower parable paraments pardoned saint parents represent God parents teach religion parents party passive pastoral care pastors pastor patience patriarch paul payed the debt payment peace peers pentecost people perfume perpetual forgiveness persecution person peter pharasies' bribes pharisee philemon philosophy physical touch place or vacation plagues plan plenary pope porn possible post-Christian postmodern poverty praise praising God pray for leaders prayers prayer praying pray pre-Lent=prepare pre-emptive restraint preaching preach prepare for Calvary pride priesthood proclaim prodigal promises promise prophecy prophet prostitution protection psalms psalm punish purchased and won purity quarantine quest for truth racism raised from death raised ram ransom rape rapture real presence reality reason rebel reconcile reconciliation redeemed sinners redemption reflection reformation refuge regenerated rejoice rejouce relationship with God relationship with others relationship relativism religion religious remember loving kindness renewal of faith repent now repentance repent resolutions rest in Jesus restoration rest resurrection rethink reverence with joy richard rich righteousness riots risen road to Damascus rock rorate coeli rules rule sacraments sacrament sacrement delivers Calvary sacrements sacrifice of presentation sacrifice safety saints saint salvation samaritan sanctification sanctified satan satis est saul saved by grace saved save scapegoat scholarship school science scripture seek God's salvation seek God\'s salvation seek God\\\'s salvation segregation self-centered self-esteem self-justify self-worth selfish human desire selfishness seraphim sermon servant serve ou neighbor served without fanfare service project servile fear serving others set apart sexual sex shabbat shaltanis shame shepherd shield showed glory sick signs silas simul sinners sinner sins sin skeptic slavery small catechism social media shunning sojouner sola fide sola gratia sola soldiers soloists sophia sorrow sorry enough soul soup supper speak of Christ speeding spiritual drink spiritual gifts spiritual spirit spring break star state steadfast love steal stephen stewardship steward stottlemyer strength stress strong students subjective subsitute lamb suffer for...my name suffer/die/rise again suffering suicide is forgiven suicide support single mothers sustains faith swear symbol symphony synagogue tabernacle tax collectors tax collector teaching teach technology teenager temple temptation tempted tenderness tertullian tetelestai the 72 the Christ the Church the Cross the Lamb the Word theology things of God thomas throne through faith tomb tongues trinity triune God triune trust in God trust truth turrn away unbelief unbelieving loved ones undeserved favor unforgiveable unity universal changing event universalism universe university unrighteousness unwoke use rightly veil vestments victim victoory victory video virgin virtue vocation voice war washed watermarked water weakness weak wealth wedding feast wedding garment wedding weeping wept widow will of God wine for wedding wisdom wise witness woke=aware of social justice wokeism=American civil religion woke works world's religion is transactional world worship of money worship wrath yahweh youth ministry youth zechariah zion zombie