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Born Again Through the Living and Abiding Word

January 16, 2008


John 3:3 says “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

However, how much part in this ‘new birth’ do we play?

The following is from a sermon by John Piper.  I thought it was really interesting.  Let me know what you guys think about it…

1 Peter 1:13-25

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ….. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Dead, Guilty, and Unable to Control the New Birth

One of the unsettling things about the new birth, which Jesus says we all must experience in order to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), is that we don’t control it. We don’t decide to make it happen any more than a baby decides to make his birth happen. Or more accurately: We don’t decide to make it happen any more than dead men decide to give themselves life. The reason we need to be born again is that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. That’s why we need new birth, and that’s why we can’t make it happen. This is one reason why we speak of the sovereign grace of God. Or better: This is one reason why we love the sovereign grace of God.Our condition before the new birth is that we treasure sin and self-exaltation so much that that we cannot treasure Christ supremely. In other words, we are so rebellious at the root of our fallen human nature that we can’t find it in ourselves to humbly see and savor Jesus Christ above all things. And we are guilty for this. This is real evil in us. We are blameworthy for this spiritual hardness and deadness. Our consciences do not excuse us that we are so resistant to Christ we can’t see him as supremely attractive.

God’s Part in the New Birth—And Ours

You might think I would say that we don’t take part in it, because we are spiritually dead. But the dead do take part in their resurrection. Here is an example of what I mean. When Jesus stood before the grave of Lazarus who had been dead for four days, Lazarus had no part in imparting his new life. He was dead. Jesus, not Lazarus, created the new life. In John 11:43, Jesus says to the dead Lazarus, “Lazarus, come out.” And the next verse says, “The man who had died came out.” So Lazarus takes part in this resurrection. He comes out. Christ causes it. Lazarus does it. Christ brings about the resurrection. Lazarus acts out the resurrection. The instant Christ commands Lazarus to rise, Lazarus does the rising. The instant God gives new life, we do the living. 

(You can read the rest of the sermon here)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kathy Henson permalink*
    January 16, 2008 3:21 am

    Hey. I kind of like the NIV better. I personally think it is easier to understand. If you want to read the passage from 1 Peter in NIV, click this link:

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