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How to Be Born Again February 12, 2007

Posted by Joe in Scripture Meditation.
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Yo brother,

I’m not sure what you had planned for blogging today, but I wanted to return to the question you posed at the end of last week. I let it go for the time being in order to give everyone else a chance to respond, but the weekend is long enough! I have a few thoughts as you can imagine. It is indeed a good question to ask and one that is definitely in need of being asked today. For few in the church today really seem to honestly deal with the truth Jesus presented to Nicodemus. It’s a sad reality that many within the church (or should I say most?) would be just as confused at Jesus’ teaching as Nicodemus was.

So the question is: ‘How can I be born again?’ Here are a few preliminary thoughts.

First, my initial response would be: ‘You can’t be born again. It’s impossible apart from a supernatural work of the Spirit of God.’

That’s striking isn’t it? Surely most might think it to be completely ineffective, but I would differ with them for a few reasons. 1) It’s biblical. It’s faithful to the clear teaching of the Lord Jesus in John 3. That was surely within the range of His main point. You could also go to the story of the rich young ruler when Jesus tells the disciples that ‘with man it is impossible, but not with God. Nothing is impossible with God.’ And in this instance, He was talking about salvation. Or Ephesians 2. Or Romans 1-3. It’s all over really. Just as a person cannot decide to be born, so a person cannot decide to be born again. It’s impossible. And it’s biblical. So it’s wise to be faithful with such an answer.

And the second reason: 2) Because the Spirit of God uses such an answer to produce in the recipient brokenness and humility of heart. This I have seen firsthand. For in personal evangelism, I have sought to implement such clear biblical reality by working the conscience of whoever I am speaking to. The way to do so is by continually telling them that they can’t do what they need to do to be saved. We are prone to think that such an answer won’t ‘work.’ But the reality is that it is exactly such truth that humbles the one we are speaking to and points them to fall before the Lord of glory asking them for grace. And this is true, of course, not only in personal evangelism, but also (or especially) in preaching. Too often we are telling people what they must do without telling them that they can’t do it! These realities don’t contradict. Instead, the Lord uses it to work humility in the heart, a humility that leads a sinner to cry out to the Lord for grace upon grace. And this is exactly what must take place!

There is more, but those are some thoughts designed to get things rolling. I look forward to hearing some of your own and maybe elaborating more on what I have already said. Suffice it to say now, however, that we are wise to consider the above response. Is this what we are prone to say when others ask us what we must do to be a Christian? Now, I realize it isn’t the only answer. But my point here is that it needs to be given as an answer much more often today. Everyone is walking around in arrogance, failing to realize that they cannot do what they need to do to be saved. That is humbling stuff for sure. And O how much we need humility!

Alright, Lord willing, I’ll catch you soon brother.

Seeking Him with you,

Joe

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