This is the next part in the ongoing series on The New Birth.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
How does a dead sinner receive this new birth? How does it come to the depraved soul? How does a person gain new life?
In seeking to understand how the new birth is received, I will mention a few thoughts.
1) Personal. God gives the new birth to individuals that He has sovereignly elected. He does not save people generally; he regenerates individuals personally. The new birth is something that happens to me. It is a very personal, individual, God-given, sovereign, and glorious work to a soul.
2) Powerful. The new birth that comes from God is irresistibly powerful. It cannot be thwarted, resisted, rejected, or despised. Regeneration is God’s working. Regeneration must be received like this. If not, no soul would ever be saved for no sinner, engulfed in sin and living in darkness, would ever want Christ, seek after Him, and run to Him for eternal salvation! O how regeneration must come from the powerful, unconquerable strength of the God of Jacob! It comes from the mighty hand of God to the dead soul of a man. It is a divine, powerful, unstoppable miracle!
3) Permanent. When God rebirths a person the life endures permanently in his soul. He can never lose the new life. He cannot exchange it, lose it, or forfeit it. God’s working is permanent. Not only does God bring the new birth powerfully to dead sinners but he also permanently brings them new life. Dead sinners that come to life never die again. The life God gives is eternal.
4) Purifying. When God regenerates a soul he purifies and cleanses that soul. The life that God imparts to the deadened soul transforms the life from a stony heart to a beating heart. He changes that heart from a spiritually cold heart to a spiritually warm heart to the things of God. God regenerates and sanctifies. The new birth gives life and it purifies the soul by God’s grace!
5) Pleasurable. Nothing in all the vast universe can compare with the life-giving pleasures that assuredly come from God’s regenerative work. Nothing delights the soul like God’s gospel, like the sweetness of Christ, like the fellowship of the Spirit, like the preciousness of the Word. The new birth brings the ultimate delight, the unending pleasures, and the eternal blessings to undeserving sinners. God’s work in man’s soul is sweet and joyous and full of divine pleasures. This is so because Christ is revealed to the sinner and he now rejoices in Christ and loves Him!
6) Preeminent. Perhaps the ultimate act in the working of salvation is the instantaneous, miraculous, supernatural, monergistic, irresistible act of God in giving life to vile sinners. Salvation truly is ‘of the Lord’ (Psalm 3:8). And it is by God’s doing that believers are in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30). The first act — and the ultimate, preeminent action — of salvation is when God alone breathes life, by His sovereign will, by His perfect power, for His eternal glory to sinners. Out of all the peaks in the vast mountain range of the doctrine of salvation, that which towers high above all the rest is that of regeneration!