The New Birth is Unsettling

“You must be born again,” said Jesus (John 3). If we take Jesus’ words seriously, they will have an unsettling effect upon us. John Piper, in his book Finally Alive, describes three reasons for this…

(1) These words confront us “with our hopeless spiritual and moral and legal condition apart from God’s regenerating grace. Before the new birth happens to us, we are spiritually dead; we are morally selfish and rebellious; and we are legally guilty before God’s law and under His wrath.”

(2) These words “refer to something that is done to us, not something we do. …God causes the new birth; we don’t.” See 1st Peter 1:3.

“We do not cause the new birth. God causes the new birth. Any spiritually good thing that we do is a result of the new birth, not a cause of the new birth. This means that the new birth is taken out of our hands. It is not in our control. And so it confronts us with our helplessness and our absolute dependence on Someone outside ourselves. This is unsettling.” ~ John Piper

(3) These words of Jesus, ‘You must be born again,’ confront us with “the absolute freedom of God. …if we are going to be born again, it will reply decisively and ultimately on God.”

Unsettled now? Seek the Lord while He may be found. Cry out for mercy and grace. He freely gives these to those who ask Him.

~ pdb

Manton: A Christian’s New Heart

Puritan pastor Thomas Manton reminds us that at conversion a Christian is given a new heart designed to battle sin, and grow in Christ-like-ness….

“There is a form of grace introduced into the soul, that suits with every point of the law. The heart is framed to resist every sin, to observe all that God hath commanded. A new born infant has all the parts of a man, though not the strength and bulk; so every Christian in regeneration. Men may be born without hands or feet, but the new creature never comes out maimed or imperfect. It is small and weak at first, but it grows and gathers strength.”

— sermon on Psalm 119:6