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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « Images of the Savior (44 -- The Prophet Like Moses) | Main | This Week's Features at Monergism MP3 Library »

    How Does God Regnerate Us by John Piper

    009finallyalive.jpgOne 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, make his conception happen. Or even 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 the 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 when we are so resistant to Christ we can’t see him as supremely attractive.

    Fire and Heat Inseparable

    Something has to happen to us. Jesus said we must be born again (John 3:3). The Holy Spirit has to work a miracle in our hearts and give us new spiritual life. We were dead, and we need to be made alive. We need ears that can hear truth as supremely desirable, and we need eyes than see Christ and his way of salvation as supremely beautiful. We need hearts that are soft and receptive to the word of God. In short, we need new life. We need to be born again.

    The way this happens, as we have seen so far, is that the Spirit of God supernaturally gives us new spiritual life by connecting us with Jesus Christ through faith. The new spiritual life that we receive in the new birth is not separate from union with Jesus, and it is not separate from faith. When God in the riches of his mercy and the greatness of his love and the sovereignty of his grace chooses to regenerate us, he gives us new life by uniting us to Christ. “God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). Our first experience of this is the faith in Jesus that this life brings. There is no separation of time here. When we are born gain, we believe. And when we believe, we know we have been born again. When there is fire, there is heat. When there is new birth, there ... More....

    Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Finally Alive by John Piper

    Posted by John on February 13, 2009 03:05 PM

    Comments

    Overall this is a great thought from Piper having some deep wells to draw out spiritual waters.

    I had two comments. One has to do with number one, Ransomed, Raised, Called; [1) God ransomed us by the blood of Jesus;] his life explanations. I thought he was a bit weak there. The life Jesus gave up in Mark 10:45, "life" is His psuche life. The "Life" we receive as the free gift of eternal life is "Zoe" life.

    What is the significance here?

    Well, consider what Paul wrote the Corinthians here:

    1Co 15:19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
    1Co 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
    1Co 15:21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
    1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

    I would simply note that the word Paul uses in verse 19, "life" is "zoe", as in "eternal life/zoe". The "only" "life" Jesus could lay down was the "Soul" "life"/"psuche". It is the same for us as John writes in 1 John 3:16.

    It's not enough for us to be "made" alive, as Paul notes there in verse 22. The Greek word there in verse 22 for "made alive" is zoopoieo. After being "made alive", zoopoieo, Lazarus then, after acting, "lazarus come forth" was by the Hand of God, as we all, quickened and conjoined, reanimated with Christ so that now that we have Life/Zoe, we are "One" with Christ! Cf. Ephesians 2:5 and Colossians 2:13. There Paul uses the Greek word suzoopoieo which is what John Piper is getting at overall in this chapter 6.

    And the second comment I have where I believe John Piper was weak, and I have to say, he may have "intentionally" been weak here, is at the last when we read his words in this chapter six here:

    "....O that every believer would know the glory of what has happened to you! Do you know what God has done for you and in you? You were ransomed with the imperishable blood of Christ. You were raised with Christ from the dead to an eternally living hope. You were called from death to life like Lazarus, and you saw Christ for the Treasure that he is. You were born again. You received him and were saved...."

    I for one am not convinced of that assertion anymore. Why? Well, because I read this verse in Hebrews 6, verse 3 and pause and because of some more ominous words later on in the book of Hebrews, think now that God does not permit everyone in the Body of Christ to go onto such depth of wisdom and knowledge in Christ as He certainly has led brother Piper.

    Heb 6:3 And this we will do if God permits.


    The more ominous words are here:

    Heb 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
    Heb 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
    Heb 10:26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
    Heb 10:27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
    Heb 10:28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
    Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

    James also asserts as much:

    Jas 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
    Jas 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.


    I just have come to the conclusion that God "permits" some of the Elect to go onto a maturity in Christ while most of the "Body" is skin covering. There are only two eyes in the Head, with two ears, one mouth, two nostrils, intakes on one nose, one neck, two shoulders, arms and legs, hands and feet, but mostly, the Body is covered with skin, the back, the belly, the thighs and legs, arms and so on! I hope that doesn't offend some of you, that I refer to some, most of the Body of Christ as skin covering?

    Just a quick observation of a good piece of work by Brother Piper!

    What an amazing ministry this just did for me.

    Some good stuff to ponder, yet I feel that frequently high profile personalities within the ministry go beyond the Spirit. It's as if they spent a bit too much time shut up in their meditation cubicle, resulting in lofty commentary that sounds good, but is actually the result of "trying" to sound too deep. And so I ofte aske myself, "Is this commentary really of the Spirit, or some fleshly attempt to fill pages with astounding insight. Hey, God is the Judge, so take my comment for what it's worth. I was refering to the comment about God "permitting" some of the Elect to go on to maturity, while the rest being just a "skin covering." Um, this is stretching things a bit!

    In any case, nice commentary, with a few questionable remarks (at least as I see it).

    Some good stuff to ponder, yet I feel that frequently high profile personalities within the ministry go beyond the Spirit. It's as if they spent a bit too much time shut up in their meditation cubicle, resulting in lofty commentary that sounds good, but is actually the result of "trying" to sound too deep. I often ask myself, "Is this commentary really of the Spirit, or some fleshly attempt to fill pages with astounding insight?" Hey, God is the Judge, so take my comment for what it's worth. I was making reference to the comment about God "permitting" some of the Elect to go on to maturity, while the rest being just a "skin covering." Um, this is stretching (speaking of elasticity!) things a bit!

    In any case, nice commentary, with a few questionable remarks (at least as I see it).

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