Torrey - Man -6.4- The Manner of the New Birth

IV. THE MANNER OF THE NEW BIRTH, OR HOW WE ARE BORN AGAIN. John 1:13 — "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

First Proposition: Believers are begotten again — not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The new birth is God's work, having its origin entirely in God's will. Titus 3:4-5 — "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." John 3:5-6 — "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Second Proposition: God begets men anew through the cleansing, quickening, and renewing work of the Holy Spirit. James 1:18 — "of his own will begat he us with the word of' truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." (Compare to Colossians 1:5 — "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.") 1 Peter 1:23,25 — "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.... But the word of God endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

Third Proposition: "The word of Truth" or "The word of God' (i.e., the word which is preached by the gospel) is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses in regeneration. 1 Corinthians 4:15 — "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."

Fourth Proposition: Men, by the preaching of the gospel, are used by God for the regeneration of believers. Galatians 3:26 — "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." John 1:12-13 — "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Fifth Proposition: We become children of God through believing in or receiving Jesus Christ.

Jesus illustrates this same thought in John 3:14-15 by a reference to the brazen serpent. These words are an answer to Nicodemus's question, "How can these things be?" (v. 9). As the dying Israelite, with the poison of the fiery serpents coursing through his veins, was saved by looking at the brazen serpent on the pole and had new life coursing through his veins as soon as he looked, so we dying men, with the poison of sin coursing through our veins, are saved by looking at Christ "made in the likeness of sinful flesh," lifted up on the cross, and we have new life coursing through our veins as soon as we look. All we have to do with our regeneration is receive Christ. (Compare to 2 Corinthians 5:17 — "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.") In the new birth the word of God is the seed; the human heart is the soil; the preacher of the word is the sower, and drops the seed into the soil; God by His Spirit opens the heart to receive the seed ( Acts 16:14); the hearer believes; the Spirit quickens the seed into life in the receptive heart; the new divine nature springs up out of the divine word; the believer is born again, created anew, made alive, passed out of death into life.