Monday, October 11, 2010

The often overlooked important aspects of the “New Birth”

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….” [Isaiah 55:1]  

I came across an excellent description of the “New Birth” process.  To Christians, the New Birth is a description that (in part) explains the “Experience” of having become a “Christian.”

The New Birth terminology originates from the historically documented Christian New Testament -- John 3:3 --  "Jesus answered and said to him, `Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God;....'" [Young's Literal Translation].  In that chapter, we find the narrative account of a Jewish religious leader meeting Christ in secret and enquiring of Him. John 3:1-15    

For purposes of this short message, I will relate the following, as I found it in my Revised Standard Version copy of the Holy Scriptures.  These explanatory [study] notes followed the account of Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus -- that Jewish Pharisee who sought out Christ. John 3:1-15:

All men are sinners by birth and by choice [Romans 3.23 ; John 8.44] Being “born from above” is a supernatural act involving the impartation of divine life.  The basis of the new birth is the sacrificial death of Christ.  1 Peter 1.17-23 ; 1 Corinthians 15.2-3 ; Titus 3.5 

The indispensable condition of the new birth is personal faith in Jesus Christ [John 1.12-13]. Regeneration itself occurs when the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, convicts, converts, and regenerates the sinner.  It is called “the washing of regeneration” in Titus 3.5   --  see also John 3.5  ;  James 1.18 ; 1 Peter 1.23  ; Ephesians 5.26

At least four benefits accrue to the believer from regeneration: 

(1) He becomes a child of God. John 1.12 ; Galatians 3.26  ;  Romans 8.16-17
(2) He becomes a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5.17 ; Galatians 6.15  ; Ephesians 2.10 
(3) He partakes “of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1.4 
(4) In his own experience he shares in Christ’s victory over sin and the world according to the measure of his faith. 1 John 3.9  ; 1 John 5.4; 18.

[Harper Study Bible – Zondervan Publishing House]

The New Birth is entirely the Divine process

When you were born did you make the choice to be born?  Did you engineer the process?  Of course not!  And so, in like manner, is, the spiritual New Birth!

When Christ explained to Nicodemus that human beings needed to be “Born from above” (John 3:3), He fully understood the Divine process.  There are a number of Scriptures that emphasize this divinely initiated aspect of the New Birth.  For purposes of brevity, here are, just two:

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”  So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." --Matthew 16:13-17

"Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit." --1st Corinthians 12.3

“Your” approach to God must be without your personal merits or perceived worth

Friend, know for a spiritual truth that you cannot come by your own merits or worth to God and be accepted by Him.  It will never work that way.  Titus 3:5 ; Ephesians 2:8-9

Unless you come the Lord’s way, you will never possess the (eternal) life that Christ spoke about – much less, the New Birth. You must approach God, a beggarly sinner – in the manner of the words of that great hymn:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee; let the water and the blood from Thy riven side which flowed -- be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.

Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy Law’s demands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow; all for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling; naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, look to Thee for grace; foul I to the fountain fly – wash me, Savior, or I die!

Note:  The aformentioned message (without current, minor revisions), was first posted online, 8/1/09. 

This Week’s Related Scriptures -- 
Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures:

Psalm 25:1-22 – Especially verse Psalm 25:4-5 and Psalm 25:8-9. The “Lord” is not called “Lord” for nothing.  He is the initiating force and factor in the life of a child of God.

New Testament Christian Scriptures:

John 3:1-21 – Christ must illuminate the needy and sinful human soul.  In the Greek language, the phrase in verse 3 is:  being born “from above.”  This correlates with John 1:12-13. Even though a sinner is commanded to repent and believe, that process initiates from the good and gracious action of a loving Triune God.

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- an in-depth view of Isaiah 53:1-12 and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

The Christian Faith:  Parts 1-3

Please Note:   Topical Christian Messages, by subject

Pastor (Emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages and related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

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