I Am Not Imitating Life

The new birth is not like the make-up that morticians use to try to make corpses look more like they are alive.  The new birth is the creation of spiritual life, not the imitation of life.

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 35

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There Is No Eternal Life

So there is no spiritual life – no eternal life – apart from connection with Jesus and belief in Jesus (John 15:1-17)… And from our side, the way we experience this is that faith in Jesus is awakened in our hearts.  Spiritual life and faith in Jesus come into being together.  The new life makes the faith possible, and since spiritual life always awakens faith and expresses itself in faith, there is no life without faith in Jesus.

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 32

What the New Birth is Not

What happens in the new birth is that life comes into being that was not there before.  New life happens at new birth.  This is not religious activity or disciple or decision.  This is the coming into being of new life.  That’s the first way of describing of what happens in the new birth.

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 29

What Happens in the New Birth?

So let’s turn now to the question: What happens in the new birth?  I will try to put the answer in three statements…

  • What happens in new birth is not getting new religion but getting new life.
  • What happens in the new birth is not merely affirming the supernatural in Jesus but experiencing the supernatural in yourself.i
  • What happens in the new Birth is not the improvement of your old human nature but the creation of a new human nature – a nature that is really you, and is forgiven and cleansed; and a nature that is really new, and is being formed by the indwelling Spirit of God.

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 28

It Will Rely Decisively and Ultimately on God

The third reason Jesus’ teaching about the new birth is unsettling, therefore is that it confronts us with the absolute freedom of God.  Apart from God, we are spiritually dead in our selfishness and rebellion.  We are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).  Our rebellion is so deep that we cannot detect or desire the glory of Christ in the gospel (II Corinthians 4:4).  Therefore if we are going to be born again, it will rely decisively and ultimately on God. 

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 27

Born Again Can Be an Unsettling Term

Second, the teaching about the new  birth is unsettling because it refers to something that is done to us, not something we do.  John 1:13 emphasizes this.  It refers to the children of God as those “who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh not the will of man but of God.”  God causes new birth; we don’t (I Peter 1:3).

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 26