Are you sure? Sure, I'm sure!
Previous articleBack to Table of ContentsNext article


Topic: The New Birth

Flesh and Spirit

by Darrel Cline

Christmas has come and gone. A terrific amount of acquiescence to the birth of Jesus came and went with it. This is a serious matter. All who acknowledge Christmas will have even less excuse before God than those who refuse to acknowledge it. The reason? Because we cannot acknowledge Christmas without being aware that the claim of Christmas is that the Son of God was born into this world. And in the day of judgment, God will be easily able to point out that those standing there observed Christmas, but did not come to the new birth.

We have been dealing with the issue of being born again. Even Jesus was twice begotten, so it should be no surprise to us that He will reject everyone from His kingdom that has not been born twice also.

But that raises the essential question: How is a person born again? In John 3:1-16, Jesus was asked that question twice. He gave two answers. The first question was whether a man could birth himself again--by entering a second time into his mother's womb and being born again. To this Jesus answered that the new birth is not humanly produced like the first one is. He said we had to be born out of water (the first, physical, birth) and then we had to be born again out of the Spirit.

But, His interrogator didn't understand birth out of the Spirit, so he asked again how we could be born again. Jesus' answer was very plain: "that which is born of flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit". In other words, a man cannot birth himself. He is limited to the flesh and all he can produce is flesh. But God is Spirit, and He can birth people spiritually.

So God is the author of the new birth, not man. But men are reborn by God. Is there anything they can do to be born again? Yes and no. Yes there is something human involved. But no, there is nothing they can do that will get God to act on their behalf. In other words, there is a human element involved, but it is not any action--like submitting to baptism, or joining a church, or behaving in a certain way. If the new birth were by these means, salvation would be a human effort (flesh).

But, Jesus said that a man was born again when he came to believe a certain truth: John 3:16. But, again, it is not simply saying we believe. Instead it is believing. For example, I do a lot of funerals. Most folks give a good deal of lip service to faith at funerals. But faith is more than what we say. It is being confident at the gut level that God means what He says. It is one thing for a person to go to someone else's funeral and come away saying "Well, he certainly went to heaven." It's another thing altogether to be facing one's own funeral and knowing, not just hoping or wishing, that death brings us into a face to face, accepting relationship with God.

In other words, faith is the sure confidence that I am on my way to heaven because Jesus died for me. Are you confident enough of your eternal destiny that you could face death today with delight and not fear? How can you say you are sure of heaven if you are still afraid of taking the trip?

(return to the top of the article)

Previous articleBack to Table of ContentsNext article
This is article #064.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.