Diagnosis: Dead; Remedy:Life

The title of this post is a subheading from John Piper’s book Finally Alive (for a PDF version of this book click here).  I’m about 3/4 of the way through the book and it’s very apparent that Piper has deepened my understanding of the new birth, as well as exposed my ignorance of it.  Why the new birth?  Well, to answer that question you’ll simply need to read the book.  However, I will list the 10 biblical explanations Piper gives of our condition apart from the new birth.  Here they are:

  1. Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1-2). 
  2. Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).  “The wrath of God belongs to us the way a parent belongs to a child” (pp. 49).
  3. Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20). 
  4. Apart from the new birth, out hearts are hard like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Ephesians 4:18).
  5. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Romans 8:7-8).
  6. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Ephesians 4:18; I Corinthians 2:14).
  7. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace him as Lord (John 6:44, 65; I Corinthians 12:3).
  8. Apart from the new birth, we are slaves to sin (Romans 6:17).
  9. Apart from the new birth, we are slaves of Satan (Ephesians 2:1-2; II Timothy 2:24-26).
  10. Apart from the new birth, no good thing dwells in us (Romans 7:18).

On the first page of Finally Alive Piper states that “the declaration of Jesus that we must be born again (John 3:17) is either deluded or devastating to the one who would be captain of his soul.  Not many biblical realities are better designed to reveal our helplessness in sin” (pp. 9).  

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)

I’ll comment more about the new birth in a later post, but before I conclude this post let met say that the new birth is absolutely necessary for us to rightly grasp if we are to rightly understand all of the glorious aspects of the Lord’s gracious salvation that He bestows upon.

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