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What's this "New Birth" Business?

By Jacob Beach

· Grace,Sin,Faith,Purpose,Knowing God

There is this concept in the Bible Christians term the "new birth." If you have grown up around the church or Christian culture, you have probably heard this term used before. It can be a little bit confusing though, a new birth, a second birth?

To describe this a little bit, we see in an interaction between Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3:1-15, Jesus says “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (3:3) and also “Do not marvel that I said to you you must be born again” (3:7). Now this idea in itself is not new at all. I am born again. If you call yourself a Christian and believe that Christ died for you and you cling to that with all of your being, you are born again. But what I want to look at is what that means spiritually, what are Christians now, what is changed now that I am “born again.”

I wanna look at Ephesians 2:1-10. This is my favorite passages in the Bible because there is so much here, and I won’t spend long on it but many many hours can be spent discussing and breaking down this passage.

Anyways, take a look at the passage. There are a few sections:

-Section 1, Diagnosis: Total Spiritual Death (v1-3)

-Section 2, The Remedy: God Freely Gives Life (v4-9)

-Section 3, Why: To Experience a Full Life to His Glory (v10)

I wanna break em down very simply because all of this together is just so sweet.

Section 1 (Verses 1-3)

So this section is about the fallen state of mankind, and, maybe more importantly to the Christian, our own personal state before Christ saved us. What things are true? We were spiritually dead because of our sinfulness. We were separated from God completely, because He is perfectly holy and demands perfect holiness, and we could in no way possess that or live up to that standard. We were of the world, following Satan and his influences. The only thing we could do was care about ourselves and carry out our own desires of our bodies. We were children of wrath, deserving hell and separation from God. If it all ended here, there would be much cause for concern, sadness and there would be no hope at all.

Section 2 (Verses 4-9)

My favorite line in the Bible. My favorite phrase. My favorite everything. It is the heart of the Gospel. BUT GOD! But God. But is a word that indicates contradiction. An outcome or development that is not expected. I mean drink this down! Everything in Section 1 was completely true of us. We had no hope at all. At all. AT ALL! No hope, and then what happens? God acts. He steps in. Out of the richness of His mercy, nothing else, not because we were deserving, He acts. Section 1 shows us that we were as far from deserving as possible. It is that moment that He made us alive together with Christ. He saved us when we were so undeserving, so spiritually separated, SO DEAD! I mean just process that a little bit, think about it for a second. A miracle happened. We went from dead to alive. And what did we do to make it happen? Nothing. Scripture says God did it because He loves us and He had mercy on us. And not only did He save us, but He seated us in the heavenly places with Christ. He glorifies us, raises us up! And this was all Him, verse 9 shows us this. It wasn’t by works, nothing that we did, nothing that caused worthiness. That is the Gospel. This is the core! Its everything! That is when we recieve a new life, a second birth. We become "born again," no longer into spiritual death, like our physical birth, but into life. But why?

Section 3 (Verse 10)

So what was the point? Why does God go out of His way to do all of this when the Bible says God is lacking nothing. He desires to reveal to the world His greatness, mercy, love, supremacy, etc through us. When He saves us, it enables us to live a fully and abundant life in Him. We can do good works in His name because we belong to Him. Our good works will never pay Him back or make us worthy of the salvation He gave to us. We are His workmanship it says. We are tools, His masterpiece, His people, His children. He wants us to be completely satisfied and filled with Him. The point of every thing (purposefully not one word) is the proclamation of His glory, so our lives should always point to Him.

It is like the moon, my favorite example ever. The moon itself does not produce any light on its own, it merely reflects the light of the sun in the darkness of the night sky. So are we the same, Christian. It is not our righteousness or goodness or worthiness that God saved us or continues to bless us and give us daily life. We cannot produce that. He produces it and allows us to reflect it. We don't reflect the sun, but we reflect the Son. Let Him shine through you. Allow the spirit that lives in you work!

"He must increase, I must decrease." -John the Baptist in John 3:30

Now this is like a 5 minute look at this passage. There is more there, and in the whole Word, so get in there. Find it for yourself because guess what? The Spirit that wrote this Word now lives within us. Let Him give all knowledge and understanding.

“We will never experience the fullness of the greatness of God’s love for us if we don’t see his love in relation to our former deadness.” -John Piper
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