Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spirit-born

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 3:1-21


TO CHEW ON: "Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'" John 3:5

Talk of being born again hardly moves the needle on the Richter scale of our minds. But when Jesus first introduced this idea to Nicodemus, it was earth-shaking. It really should remain that to us too. For it is the way we "enter" and "see" the Kingdom of God.

How? In Jesus' words by being "born of water" (repentance) "and the Spirit."

J. I. Packer says of the interchange between Jesus and Nicodemus:

"Speaking corporately for Himself and His disciples to Nicodemus and to the whole class of unregenerate religious people to which Nicodemus belonged, Christ went on to explain that the inevitable consequence of unregeneracy is unbelief — 'Ye receive not our witness' (verse 11). The gospel produces no conviction in them; unbelief holds them fast.


What follows, then? Should we conclude that preaching the gospel is a waste of time, and write off evangelism as a hopeless enterprise, foredoomed to fail? No; because the Spirit abides with the Church to testify of Christ"Knowing God, p. 74 (emphasis added).

The Spirit's working is, by Jesus' description here, a mysterious, unaccountable thing:"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (verse 8).

Packer again:
"It is not for us to imagine that we can prove the truth of Christianity by our own arguments; nobody can prove the truth of Christianity save the Holy Spirit, by His own almighty work of renewing the blinded heart. It is the sovereign prerogative of Christ's Spirit to convince men's consciences of the truth of Christ's gospel; and Christ's human witnesses must learn to ground their hopes of success, not on clever presentation of the truth by man, but on powerful demonstration of the truth by the Spirit" - p. 74 (emphasis added).

Which is why we must not give up on anyone, no matter how resistant to the gospel they appear. For we have no idea how the Spirit is working in their lives, what is growing in the field of their hearts (Matthew 13:24), how Kingdom leaven is spreading  in the  secrecy of their inner lives (Matthew 13:33), or how they might even now be finding themselves mysteriously drawn to God's wedding banquet invitation (Matthew 22:2,9-10).


PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to birth me into Your kingdom. God, the Spirit,  please use my life to accomplish Your mysterious, wind-like workings. Amen.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 comments:

  1. In Jn. 3:8 Jesus speaks of the wind blowing, and its sound. The Greek word for wind here is pneuma, which is also the word for Spirit, and for breath. The Greek word for sound here can also be translated as voice. Thus Jesus' metaphor about the sound of the wind points to the voice of the Spirit, speaking now through Jesus (through his "breath"); and this breath/wind/Spirit will enable the sound/voice of everyone who is born of the Spirit.

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  2. So neat to know the seed of God's Word is germinating and bringing life in a heart as surely as a natural seed is doing the same in soil. We're anticipating both.

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