The New Birth and
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
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
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.
Only One Way to be Born
How many ways are there for being born again? Were people in the Old Testament
days born again in a different way than in these New Testament days? Are those
who die in infancy or those who are mentally incapable of responding to the
gospel born again in a different way than those who do hear the gospel? Are
people who never have an opportunity to hear the gospel born again in a
different way than those who hear the gospel? We read in John 3:8, "The wind
bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell
whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the
Spirit." In a previous installment we noted that this scripture
taught the sovereignty of God in bringing about the new birth. It also teaches
us that "every one" is born of the Spirit in the same way. There is no such
thing as some being born of the Spirit in one way and others being born again in
a different way.
I want to look at five examples of people
who were born again at different times and under different circumstances. It
will be noted that they were all born again by the grace of God without man's
help or cooperation.
Let us first look at David. David said in Psms. 22:9, 10, "But thou art he
that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me to hope when I was upon my
mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my
mother's belly." Based on the above we know that God was David's God while
still in his mother's womb and that he was made to hope while still a suckling
infant. David was indeed born of the Spirit at a very early age. Due to this
fact, the Spiritual birth had to be by the sovereign work of God without any
human instrumentality. Remember our text says, "so is every one that is born
of the Spirit." Thus we are all born of the Spirit in the same way that
Second, we look at John the Baptist. The
angel Gabriel prophesied to Zacharias concerning John in Luke 1:15, "For he
shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong
drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."
Also we read in Luke 1:41, 44, "And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth
heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was
filled with the Holy Ghost...For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation
sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy." Please note that
John was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother's womb and was filled with
"joy." "Joy" is the second of the 9 fold fruit of the Spirit listed in Gal. 5:22
and its presence proves John was born again while yet in his mother's womb.
John's spiritual birth had to be by the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit
without any human instrumentality. Remember our text says, "so is every one
that is born of the Spirit." In the same way that John was born of the
Spirit, so are we born of the Spirit.
Third, we look at the thief on the cross.
At one time both thieves were railing upon Jesus (Matt. 27:44), but something
happened to one of the thieves as he hang on the cross, for we read in Luke
23:39 43, "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him,
saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other rebuked him,
saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we
indeed justly: for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath
done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest
into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt
thou be with me in paradise." Certainly a fundamental change had come over
this thief who went from railing on Jesus to praising him and recognizing him as
Lord during the first three hours he hung on the cross. This change was not
brought about by any human instrumentality, but was the sovereign work of the
Holy Spirit. Remember our text says, "so is every one that is born of the
Spirit." We are born of the Spirit in the same manner that the thief on the
cross was born of the Spirit.
Fourth, we read in Acts 9:1 6 about Saul
of Tarsus, "And Saul, yet breathing out threathenings and slaughter against
the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priests, and desired of him
letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether
they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he
journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a
light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him,
Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me? And he said, Who art thou Lord? And the
Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecuteth: it is hard for thee to kick against
the pricks. And he trembling and astonished, said, Lord what wilt thou have me
to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be
told thee what thou must do." We can all recognize that Saul went from being
the church's worst persecutor to being the church's strongest defender based on
what happened to him on the Damascus road. This change in Saul's life was not
brought about by human instrumentality, but by the sovereign work of a Sovereign
God. Remember our text says, "so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
Finally, in Acts 10 we read of a Gentile
by the name of Cornelius. In the last part of chapter 10 we read about how
Cornelius and his household and friends heard the gospel preached for the first
time. However, prior to hearing the gospel we have the following evidences that
Cornelius was already born of the Spirit prior to ever hearing the gospel:
A. In verse 2 Cornelius is called a devout
B. In verse 2 Cornelius is said to "fear" God.
C. In verse 2 we find that Cornelius gave much alms to the people.
D. In verse 2 Cornelius prayed to God always.
E. In verse 4 we find that Cornelius' prayers and alms came up for a memorial
F. In verse 15, God said he had already cleansed Cornelius and the Gentiles with
G. In verse 22, Cornelius is called a just man.
Now all the above was said of Cornelius
prior to his ever hearing the gospel. By the evidences we are forced to conclude
that Cornelius was born again without the use of human instrumentality, but by
the sovereign work of a sovereign God. Again our text says, "so is every one
that is born of the Spirit." Our grand conclusion must be that every one
that is born of the Spirit is born of the Spirit in the same way that David,
John, the thief on the cross, Saul of Tarsus, and Cornelius were. That is by the
grace of God without human instrumentality. Praise be to God for what he has
done for us.
Elder Vernon Johnson