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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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  • « New book by Matthew Barrett – Salvation by Grace (P&R) | Main | The Three Transfers »

    Physical Birth - Spiritual Birth

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    Physical birth: What role did your will have in your physical birth? Answer: nothing!

    Were you consulted about the matter? Did you give your approval so that you might have life? Did you choose your parents, your situation, your sex or your country?

    No, you did not. Your parents (by their activity alone) made the choice to cause your birth.

    Spiritual birth: What was it that triggered the new birth?

    The Apostle John lists three things that were non factors:

    John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    1. It was NOT because of blood (not because of human ancestry).
    2. It was NOT because of the will of the flesh.
    3. It was NOT because of human will.

    Question: So what caused the new birth?

    Answer: GOD!

    God did it! The new birth is the work of God alone, all of grace.

    - JS

    Posted by John Samson on August 8, 2013 10:14 PM

    Comments

    Thanks John. Just in the middle of a sermon on exactly this passage, when your post appeared in my feed! I am planning to point out that these three NOT's also correspond to three ways that people we share the Gospel with may assume a person is converted: by birth (I was born a Christian), by effort (I'll just be a good person), and by being coerced (what are you going to do to convince/make me convert?). By contrast, 'receive' and 'believe' are not actions we do, rather they are ceasing from our self-justifying, human centred actions and being a recipient of grace.

    Quite incredible how much mind blowing truth there is in one little verse, John 1:13, and one so central to our life as a TRUE (genuine) Christian ... defined in so many passages as only those who have been born of [the Spirit of] God. Many are called; few are chosen ... Chosen by God, not by the will of man.

    And I love John's recounting of our Lord Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus in John chapter 3: "Truly... unless a man is born again[from above], he shall not see the kingdom of God."

    It's very unfortunate that most professing Christians have such little understanding about regeneration, which is so key to understanding the veracity of a believer's conversion.

    As every human must pass through human birth to have physical life and all that entails (breath, living & growing as a human from infancy on to adulthood), so must a Christian pass thru spiritual birth (a far more nebulous experience than human birth!) to gain the blessings of spiritual life.

    Whenever I here someone say, ".. when I came to Christ", I gently try to remind them, "You mean, 'When you were born again' ".
    All glory be to God!
    And I love John's recounting of our Lord Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus in John chapter 3: "Truly... unless a man is born again[from above], he shall not see the kingdom of God."

    It's very unfortunate that most professing Christians have such little understanding about regeneration, which is so key to understanding the veracity of a believer's conversion.

    As every human must pass through human birth to have physical life and all that entails (breath, living & growing as a human from infancy on to adulthood), so must a Christian pass thru spiritual birth (a far more nebulous experience than human birth!) to gain the blessings of spiritual life.

    Whenever I here someone say, ".. when I came to Christ", I gently try to remind them, "You mean, 'When you were born again' ".
    All glory be to God!

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