Tag Archives: New Birth

“The plants of grace shall ever live” by Archibald Alexander

“The implantation of spiritual life in a soul which is dead in sin, is an event the consequences of which will never end.

When you plant an acorn, and it grows, you do not expect to see the maturity, much less the end of the majestic oak, which will expand its boughs and strike deeply into the earth its roots. The fierce blasts of centuries of winters may beat upon it and agitate it—but it resists them all.

Yet finally this majestic oak, and all its towering branches, must fall. Trees die of old age, as well as men. But the plants of grace shall ever live. They shall flourish in everlasting verdure.

They will bear transplanting to another climate—to another world. They shall bloom and bear fruit in the paradise of God. At such an hour one is born in Zion unto God. Few know it. Few care for the event, or consider it of much importance.

But, reader, this feeble germ, this incipient bud, will go on to grow and flourish for infinitely more years than there are sands upon the seashore.

To drop the figure—this renewed soul will be seen and known among the saints in heaven, and assisting in the never-ceasing songs of those who surround the throne of God and the Lamb, millions of ages hereafter. Pure and holy shall it be—’without spot or wrinkle or any such thing’. (Eph 5:27)

Bright as an angel, and as free from moral taint— but still distinguished from those happy beings, to whom it is equal, by singing a song in which they can never join; in wearing robes made white in the blood of the Lamb; and claiming a nearer kindred to the Son of God than Gabriel himself.

Can that event be of small import, which lays a foundation for immortal bliss?—for eternal life?”

–Archibald Alexander, Thoughts on Religious Experience (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1844), 35-36.

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“We reexist” by Jonathan Edwards

“By the new creation, or new birth, we reexist.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Entry 171: New Birth and New Covenant” in The “Miscellanies”: Entry Nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 13, Ed. Harry S. Stout (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 324. This entry may be read here in its entirety.

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“This mighty change” by J.C. Ryle

“To possess the privileges of Christ’s kingdom, a man must be born again of the Holy Ghost. The change which our Lord here declares needful to salvation is evidently no slight or superficial one. It is not merely reformation, or amendment, or moral change, or outward alteration of life.

It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection. It is a new creation. It is a passing from death to life. It is the implanting in our dead hearts of a new principle from above.

It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears. All this, and nothing less than this is implied, when our Lord declares that we all need a ‘new birth.’

This change of heart is rendered absolutely necessary to salvation by the corrupt condition in which we are all, without exception, born. ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh.’ Our nature is thoroughly fallen.

The carnal mind is enmity against God. (Rom. 8:7.) We come into the world without faith, or love, or fear toward God. We have no natural inclination to serve Him or obey Him, and no natural pleasure in doing His will.

Left to himself, no child of Adam would ever turn to God. The truest description of the change which we all need in order to make us real Christians, is the expression, ‘new birth.’

This mighty change, it must never be forgotten, we cannot give to ourselves. The very name which our Lord gives to it is a convincing proof of this. He calls it ‘a birth.’ No man is the author of his own existence, and no man can quicken his own soul.

We might as well expect a dead man to give himself life, as expect a natural man to make himself spiritual. A power from above must be put in exercise, even that same power which created the world. (2 Cor. 4:6.) Man can do many things; but he cannot give life either to himself or to others.

To give life is the peculiar prerogative of God. Well may our Lord declare that we need to be ‘born again!’ This mighty change, we must, above all, remember, is a thing without which we cannot go to heaven, and could not enjoy heaven if we went there.

Our Lord’s words on this point are distinct and express. ‘Except a man be born again, he can neither see nor enter the kingdom of God.’ Heaven may be reached without money, or rank, or learning.

But it is clear as daylight, if words have any meaning, that nobody can enter heaven without a ‘new birth.’ A day will come when those who are not born again will wish that they had never been born at all.”

–J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 86-87, 88. Ryle is commenting on John 3:1-8.

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“Finally alive” by John Piper

“If your heartache is for your own personal change, or for change in your marriage, or change in your prodigal children, or in your church, or in the systemic structures of injustice, or in the political system, or in the hostilities among nations, or in the human degradation of the environment, or in the raunchiness of our entertainment culture, or in the miseries of the poor, or in the callous opulence of the rich, or in the inequities of educational opportunity, or in arrogant attitudes of ethnocentrism, or in a hundred areas of human need caused by some form of human greed– if your heart aches for any of these, then you should care supremely about the new birth.

There are other ways of shaping culture and guiding behavior. But none so deep. None so far-reaching. None so universally relevant. None so eternally significant.

Someday, at the return of the Lord Jesus, the world will be made new. The kingdom of God will come fully. Jesus Himself will be the great all-satisfying Treasure in that new and beautiful earth. But not everyone will enjoy it.

‘Truly, truly,’ Jesus said, ‘unless one is born again He cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Until we come to Him, we will not have life. Not now. Not ever. God gives eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1 John 5:11).

Whoever has the Son has life (1 John 5:12). His word is reliable: ‘Come to Me that you may have life’ (John 5:40). If you come, you will be truly, invincibly, finally alive.”

–John Piper, Finally Alive: What Happens When We are Born Again (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2009), 191-192.

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“God the Holy Spirit must begin it” by Charles H. Spurgeon

“My brethren, it is quite certain that no man ever begins the new birth himself. The work of salvation never started with the efforts of any man. God the Holy Spirit must begin it. Now, the reasons no man ever started the work of grace in his own heart are apparent. The best reason of all is because he cannot.

He is dead. The dead may be made alive, but the dead cannot make themselves alive, for the dead can do nothing. Besides, the new thing to be created as yet has no being. The uncreated cannot create. But you say, ‘Man can create.’ Well, if hell can create heaven, then sin can create grace. Let any man create a fly, and afterward let him create a new heart in himself.

Until he has done the lesser thing, he cannot do the greater. Besides, no man will. If any man could convert himself, there is no man who would. The will to love God, the desire to be in unison with Christ, is not to be found in any man who has not already been brought to be reconciled with God through the death of His Son.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Work of the Holy Spirit” in Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2000), 16-17.

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