A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

 

 

The New Birth Voice of the Lord

The 29th Psalm is all about the voice of the Lord. In verse 4 the psalmist states, "The ‘voice' of the Lord is powerful..." From the very beginning of the bible we see the power in God's voice manifest as he said, "Let there be light: and there was light." By simply speaking, God created the natural universe in which we live! Now that is power! In contrast, the voice of man can either hurt or soothe the eardrum, but it cannot bring anything into existence. Only God's voice has the power to create.

God's voice gives life to the dead. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it was written that Jesus "cried with a loud ‘voice,' Lazarus come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes..." Jesus with his voice spake the name of Lazarus and he came forth from the dead. In 1 Thes. 4:16 we read about the resurrection of our bodies from the grave, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the ‘voice' of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Similarly this power of Jesus' voice in raising the dead bodies from the grave is written about in John 5:28, 29, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his ‘voice,' and shall come forth..." Thus we must conclude that the efficient cause of the resurrection of the dead bodies in the grave is the "voice" of the Son of God!

Before we are born of the Spirit of God (born again) the bible describes us as being dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). When we were dead in trespasses and sins we had no spiritual life. As God is the creator of all things, it is He who has "created us in Christ Jesus unto good works." This creation is the new birth. Please note, as follows, that it is the ‘voice' of the Son of God and not the voice of man that brings Spiritual life into the dead faculties of our heart and soul:

a. John 5:25, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the ‘voice of the Son of God:' and they that hear shall live."
b. John 6:63, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that ‘I speak' unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
c. John 10:16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear ‘my voice;' and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
d. John 10:27, 28, "My sheep hear ‘my voice' and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

To the above I make the following observations:
a. It is the "voice" of the Son of God that gives life to those who were before spiritually dead.
b. The flesh does not assist in giving spiritual life because "the flesh profiteth nothing." Thus the preacher, teacher, friend, or parent cannot give eternal life nor can my actions as a fleshly being help cause the new birth.
c. All those to whom the "voice" of the Son of God is spoken hear and are given eternal life.
d. All those that the Lord speaks life into are preserved from perishing.

Now we may ask ourselves the question, "Have I heard the voice of the Son of God and what did it sound like?" When Elijah the prophet fled from the wicked queen Jezebel, the Lord told him in 1 Kings 19:11 13, "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a ‘still small voice.' And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle..." A still voice would make no naturally audible sound. Yet the still voice of the Lord is more powerful that the great wind, earthquake, and fire!  God brings forth the new birth with a still small voice that our natural ears cannot hear. Yet we can know we have been born again by the evidences in our lives. This we shall address in another essay.

Finally we read in Isa. 55:10, 11 of the certainty of the new birth to those to whom God speaks, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

When God speaks his word into the dead faculties of the heart and soul, it does not return to God void, but it accomplishes what God pleases (the new birth) and it prospers in the thing whereto he sent it.

Praise God for his powerful still small voice that caused us to be born again.


The New Birth Love in the Heart

When God causes us to be born again several things happen to us. One of the things that happened to us is that God wrote his laws in our heart and our mind. Several verses of scripture point to this which we quote as follows:

A. Heb. 8:10, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people."

B. Heb. 10:16, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them."

C. II Cor. 3:3, "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."

D. Rom. 2:15, "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another."

From the above scriptures several conclusions can be drawn. First, the laws of God are written into both the heart and the mind. Secondly, it is God who does the writing and not man. Thirdly, these laws written in our heart and mind serve as the basis or foundation for our covenant worship of God. The foundation of the law worship or service was the ten commandments written on two tables of stone. The foundation of our worship under the gospel is the laws of God written in our hearts and mind. Fourthly, these laws written in our heart and mind along with the conscience God gave us serve as the basis for the self examining courtroom of our heart and mind.

We may ask ourselves, "Just what laws did God write in our hearts and minds?" I Thes. 4:9 seems to be the key to answering this question, "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." Clearly God has taught us to love one another and not man. Clearly, this was a direct teaching from God to man without any intermediator (preacher). I John 3:14, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." Love for the brethren is a direct evidence of the new birth. Anyone who loves the brethren has been born again! Therefore, we know that God has written love into our hearts and mind in the new birth. Matt. 22:37 40 ties down for us that love toward God is to be manifest in our heart, soul, and mind, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Thus God writes these two great laws in our hearts and mind and as a result we are able to love God and our neighbor. Without these laws written in our hearts and mind we would be
unable to love either God or our neighbor. James 2:8 says, "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well." Rom. 13:8 reads, "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Finally, we read in Rom. 2:14, 15 "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts. The basis of our love toward God and toward our neighbor is founded on the laws of love that God wrote in our hearts and mind when he caused us to be born again.

In our next essay we will look at the subject of repentance and its relationship to the new birth.


The New Birth and Repentance

The scriptures teach that when people are born again, God writes his laws within their hearts and their minds. We quote the following seven passages that prove this principle:

A. Psm. 37:30, 31 "The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."
B. Psm. 40:8 "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
C. Jer. 31:33 "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
D. Heb. 8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
E. Heb. 10:16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them."
F. II Cor. 3:3 "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."
G. Rom. 2:14, 15 "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts, the mean while accusing or else excusing one another."

We draw several conclusions from the above seven passages:

A. God writes his laws directly into the hearts and minds of his children, there are no intermediators.
B. These laws written in the hearts and minds of God's people serve as the foundation of the new covenant of worship.
C. These laws manifest themselves in the lives of God's people.
D. These laws serve as the foundation of a court room set up in the hearts and minds of God's people.

Upon the last conclusion we expand using Rom. 2:14, 15. There can be no trial or judgment without a law. No one can be tried for breaking a law when there is no law. In a court room there are laws, witnesses, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and a judge. First, the laws are in the hearts and minds of God's people. Secondly, God has given us a conscience whose purpose is to be a faithful witness. Thirdly, our thoughts thru either accusing us or excusing us serve as both the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Finally, our hearts serve as the judge (I John 4:20).

God has built within each of his children a court room. The trials within our heart and mind serve to convict us and lead us to repentance. First, we are convicted of our own sinful condition which causes us to see ourselves as condemned before a just and holy God. Afterwards, we are enabled, by faith in Christ's atoning blood, to see Jesus as our Savior. Thus the court room of our heart and mind has served to both convict us and to justify us. For an example of these principles I encourage the reader to look at Isaiah's experience in Isaiah Chapter 6.

Secondly, this court room serves to convict us of individual sins, thus causing Godly sorrow within us. This in turn leads us to repent (II Cor. 7:10, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.") We do not repent in order to be born again or to become a child of God, but we repent because we are born again!

Finally, we ask ourselves, "What laws are written in our hearts and minds when we are born again?" I Thes. 4:9, tells us that God teaches us to love one another, "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." Similarly, I John 4:7 reads, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Again, I John 3:14 says, "We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." From the above we can conclude that love comes from God and is placed within us when we are born again. God teaches us to love directly by writing the laws of love within our hearts. The Lord taught us that there are two great laws of love in Matt. 22:37 40, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Rom. 13:8, 20 teaches us that "love is the fulfilling of the law." Likewise, Gal. 5:14 reads, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Paul told Timothy in I Tim. 1:5, "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."  Finally, James wrote in James 2:8, "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well."

On the negative side we can conclude that before a man is born again, he will not love his neighbor or God, he will be totally selfish in his actions, he will have no conviction of sin or sins, and he will not repent or believe that Christ is his savior. The gospel is foolishness to him (I Cor. 1:18).

Conversely, the man that is born again, having the laws of love in his heart, will love both God and his neighbor, will manifest unselfish love, will be convicted of sin and of individual sins, will be led to repent, rejoice in the gospel of his salvation, and by faith see Jesus as his savior.

Primitive Baptist