You Must Be Born Again
Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews. Jesus tells him that it is impossible to see the kingdom of God unless you are born again. He asks how you can be born again and Jesus replies that you must be born of water and spirit. Nicodemus asks how this can be and Jesus asks how he can be a teacher of Israel and not understand. He says "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe how can you believe heavenly things?"
Jesus says if you are not baptized then it is impossible to see the kingdom of God. This seems to make the "kingdom of God" more like what we normally think of as heaven than the earthly kingdom under rule of God discussed previously on this blog. Also, talking about being born again in spirit, sounds like he is talking of heavenly things to me as opposed to earthly things.
For God So Loved the World
God sent his son to earth so that whoever believes in him can have eternal life. If you don't believe you are condemned. If you are evil and do evil things you will hide from the light so your works will not be exposed.
I don't think belief is an act of will. If I don't believe in something, it is not an act of defiance, it is just that I have not been convinced. Punishing someone for not being convinced is not right. Put another way, suppose I don't really think any of this sounds real but I try to force myself to believe and act like I believe but deep down I really think the whole thing sounds fishy. Is that virtuous?
John the Baptist Exalts Christ
John and Jesus are both baptizing people, John's disciples tell him that Jesus is also baptizing and everyone is going to him. John says that he is from earth but Jesus is from heaven so Jesus is better than him.