This semester I’m teaching a graduate-level class called “Biblical Theology and Exegesis.” This class is such a gift because it requires us to spend our time right at the root and beginning of what the Bible actually teaches.
So … what have we encountered so far?
First, we have noticed how our corrupt human nature buries God’s plain revelation underneath its own insistence on free will. For example, students are consistently concerned about the salvation of children because they are not yet adults, as if Jesus had said, “Unless you repent and become as an adult, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Corrupt human nature always changes truth and grace into more of what it has already changed the rest of God’s creation into. The human ego insists on autonomy, thus accepting the challenge of salvation by entering on our own two feet, standing tall, having decided for ourselves, and insisting that children must become like that before they can decide for themselves and join us.
But that is the opposite of what Jesus said. Jesus said, “Unless you repent and become as children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” You can see the necessity of what Jesus means by noting the antagonism of all the adults in the Gospel narratives, except for those adults who by the impossibility of their situation had been restored to childhood. Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus in John 3 provides a singular focus on this subject. Only God can push us down and away from a corrupt human ego in a Red Pyramid world and back into the Green Arc of childhood that is provided for by His grace and truth.
As Jesus says in John 3, it is God Himself—the Father, the Living Water of the Word, and the Spirit—who regenerates our soul which, like a child, rests, lives, and thrives in this uncorrupted relationship with God.
Here is the beginning of Biblical Theology and Exegesis.