J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
In this chapter, note how prominent the place "Life" takes in this Gospel. Even when the death of Christ is spoken of, it is "That they might have everlasting life." But there it is connected, note, with the proper and essential character of that into which they were brought.
"We speak that we do know and testify that we have seen." "No man hath ascended up into heaven but he who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven." Christ reveals and can reveal, as from and in it, the true nature and holy blessedness of heaven itself; and this His death takes us into. He goes out, with absolute death, to all the evil in this world, in resurrection, in the power of, to us, a new life - to Him, a new state of it - into a heavenly place and condition.
The nature of the life is always the same. So in us, "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" - is of the nature of its source - as "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," which belongs to the old world. Thus, born of the Spirit, Christ as risen is our life, and we are thus associated with the heavenly things in a nature suited essentially to it, as by a title in which God in heaven is fully glorified; so, "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption" - Our conversation is in heaven, whence we expect Jesus.
It is true that even the Jewish partakers of the blessing must be born again, because they have to say to God, and their blessings are founded on Christ's death also. But this goes no farther than the prophetic testimony which a master in Israel should have known. It was needed, for the earthly part of the kingdom, that they should stand in relationship to God in truth. It is consequent on that that the Lord speaks of the heavenly things, at least intimates His speaking of them. The Jews did not receive His testimony as to Israel's earthly hopes, and being born again for them. Yet as the Spirit in sovereign grace went whithersoever it listed, so instead of Messiah taking the throne of David then, according to the flesh, the Son of Man was going to be lifted up, and eternal life in Him fully brought to light beyond death.
The new covenant, note, does not go beyond forgiveness - there is no introduction into heavenly places and things.