What Does it Mean to be Born Again?

A strong seedling growing in the center trunk on cut stump.

It was the opening paragraph in the third chapter titled “Come to Me”. Five different biblical texts head the chapter and set the theme to be discussed. Every passage records Jesus’s invitation/command to enter into His discipleship. (Mt. 11:28, John 7:37, 6:35, 5:40, and 11:43-44). We might summarize them this way:

  • “Come, . . . I will give you rest.”
  • “Come, . . . I will quench your thirst.”
  • “Come, . . . I will quench your hunger.”
  • “Come, . . . I can give you life.”
  • “Come out of the grave Lazarus, I conquer death.”

“When a person is born anew and experiences repentance, his attitude about Jesus changes. Jesus himself become the central focus and supreme value of life. Before the new birth happens and repentance occurs, a hundred other things seem more important and more attractive: health, family, job, friends, sports, music, food, sex, hobbies, retirement. But when God gives the radical change of new birth and repentance, Jesus himself becomes our supreme treasure.”

John Piper, What Jesus Demands from the World, p. 44.

This is what the Scripture declares on nearly every page of the New Testament. Yet, in our experience, there are many in our churches, sitting in the same row of chairs with us, hearing the same messages as their row-mates or pews sitters, listening to the same prayers, who do not have Jesus as the “central focus and supreme value of life.”  

What are we to make of that?

Here’s two options:

  1. Dr. Piper is wrong about what the new-birth does in those who believe.
  2. Many sitting in our churches and who are convinced that they are saved, are in fact, not.

For my money, there is much evidence in the Scripture that Dr. Piper is right on target. Which leaves us with option 2.

Many who think they are believers, are not.

  • How is it that so many could be so deceived?
  • What does this say about preaching in our time?
  • What does it say about Bible teaching in our time?
  • What does it say about the clarity of our gospel presentations?
  • How can we rectify the situation?

Pray for revival. Pray desperately for better preaching, better bible teaching, better clarity in all our gospel presentations. Pray for real repentance and Holy Spirit wrought transformation of lives so that our magnificent Christ would be exalted and praised and men and women would escape judgment. 

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