Any time something is translated from one language into another, there are bound to be some subtle things that get lost in translation. We even have examples of this in the Bible.
When Nicodemus asked Jesus how a man can be born again, Jesus explained by saying:
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
In the Greek language, the word for “Spirit” is the same exact word as the word for “wind.” The word is “pneuma.” It can be translated “wind” or “spirit.” Everywhere you see the word “wind” or the word “spirit” in John 3:8, Jesus used the same word.
So you see, Jesus was using some word-play to make a point. Just like the wind blows everywhere it wants, and you can’t understand where it comes from or where it goes; so also the Spirit does whatever He wants, and you can’t understand it. In other words, Jesus told Nicodemus that you cannot understand how a person can be born again, because God does it; and He can do whatever He wants.
Now you may ask, What was the point in explaining something to Nicodemus when he couldn’t understand the answer?
Well, for one thing, it is very important to understand that no man saves himself. There is nothing anyone can do to be born again. God saves people. God causes people to become born again. It is supernatural. It is a miracle.
The second thing that is important to notice is that Jesus did tell Nicodemus that he could “hearest the sound thereof.” The sound of the wind is the evidence that it is blowing. So we cannot understand how a person is born again, and we cannot control it; but we most definitely can tell that it has happened. We can see the evidence. We can hear the sound of it.
What is the evidence that person has been supernaturally “born of the Spirit”? John 3:18 says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned…” That is clearly one evidence that someone is born again, they believe in Jesus.
John 3:21 says, “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” That last phrase is by far the most important, “that they are wrought in God.”
What this verse is saying is that people who have been born again come into the light so that the evidence of what God has done in them might be made clear. Coming into the light would involve exposing your sins; exposing your inadequacy to save yourself, your need for a Savior. This is evidence of a born-again person.
Let me put it this way. If you go around boasting about how good a person you are; that you are good enough to get into heaven when you die; that you deserve it – you are probably not born again. One the other hand, if you are mournful over your sins; if you throw yourself upon the mercy of God, with no other hope to save you – you are a person who is probably born again.
Jesus said you can tell a tree by its fruit; but there are a lot of people out there who can appear to be born again for a while, when they really are not. All throughout Church history, pastors have taught that the best way to tell if someone is truly born of the Spirit is to look at their fruit over a long period of time. In other words, do they continue in their faith firm to the end?
Let me ask you, Do you continue in your faith firm to the end? When people look at the fruit hanging on your life, what do they see? Have you come out into the light to stay, where your sins are made evident, where you shortcomings point to the Glory of God in saving a sinner like you? Or do you retreat back into the darkness where you think your sins are still covered? Do you still love your sins?
If you have been born of the Spirit, you will no longer love your sins; you will hate your sins. You will love God. You will love your brothers in Christ.
Others will hear the wind blowing. They will see the evidence of the Sprit in your life. They will be praising God because of you, as you are walking in the light.