The New Birth

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 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. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
~ Genesis 1:1, Genesis 2:7, John 3:8, Ezekiel 37:5, Ezekiel 37:13-14, Ephesians 2:4-6, Colossians 3:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, Galatians 6:15, 1 Peter 1:23, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:18, Romans 5:19, 1 John 2:29, John 1:13, John 3:3-7, 1 John 5:1,1 John 5:4

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. In him (Christ Jesus) was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
~ Genesis 1:3-4, John 1:4-5, Ephesians 5:14

In (Christ) whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
~ Colossians 2:11-12, Romans 6:6, 8 & 9, 1 Corinthians 15:22

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
~ Romans 8:13

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
~ Ephesians 2:15

The New Birth, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

We have, let me remind you, been asking how it is that the call of the gospel becomes effectual in certain people. And in the last lecture, we began to answer that question by saying that the call becomes effectual in men and women as the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration. It becomes effectual because in these people there is now a principle which was not there before which enables them to respond to this spiritual truth, this divine truth, that comes to them. And that is the difference between believers and unbelievers, those who are saved and those who are not. The latter have the ‘natural mind’, they are in the flesh, they are not spiritual, and that is why these things mean nothing to them. But they mean everything to the others and that is because they are now spiritual, and they are spiritual as the result of regeneration. So we began considering what the Bible teaches about regeneration. We considered the terms in Scripture and then we came to examine its real nature. It is not a mere change in some of the faculties of the soul, but is something behind that; and this we defined as being a change in a person’s fundamental disposition.

Now as we proceed with our consideration, I want to emphasise again the profound nature and character of the change. It is something that is emphasised everywhere in Scripture, which talks about our being given ‘a new heart’ ( Ezek. 36:26 ), and ‘heart’ in the Bible generally means, not merely the seat of the affections, as in current usage, but the very centre, the seat, of the whole personality. So when the Scriptures talk about giving us a new heart or a clean heart, they are talking about what I have described as the fundamental disposition, the thing that controls and determines everything else, the change is made there.

This whole question of regeneration, as we saw when we considered what our Lord said to Nicodemus, is, of course, a great mystery. It is a miracle, it is supernatural. Our Lord compared it to the wind in order to get Nicodemus, and all of us through Nicodemus, to see that there is a sense in which we just cannot finally understand it. ‘Thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit’ ( John 3:8 ). And yet it does behove us, as I am never tired of saying, to go as far as we can. So, in an attempt to make this wonderful change more or less comprehensible to us, I pass on to you what I, at any rate, regard as the best illustration that I have come across. It is an illustration that is suggested by the Scripture itself, and it is that of the whole process of grafting.

You may be anxious, for instance, to grow a certain type of pear. Now a way in which it is often done is this: you are given just a graft, a portion, a shoot, of the variety you like. Then you take a common wild pear tree and hack into it and into that wound which you have made in the tree, you put this shoot, this sprout. Then you bind them together. And eventually you will have a wonderful pear tree, producing nothing but your chosen variety of pear.

But in the meantime you have many things to do. You do not merely leave it at that. What happens is that the strength and the power, as it were, the life and the sap that comes up through that wild pear tree, will enter into this shoot and it will produce fruit. Yes, but below the level of the grafting, the wild pear tree will still tend to throw out its own wild shoots and branches and want to produce its own fruit. So you have to lop off these natural branches. You have to cut them, prune them right down and, if you do that, a time will arrive when the tree will produce only this wonderful type of pear that you are anxious to grow.

You see, at first you seem to have two natures in the one tree, but if you prune off the old the new will gradually master the whole and you will eventually have a pear tree which is producing the type of fruit that you want. Now that seems to me to be incomparably the best illustration that has ever been used with regard to this matter. You are putting new life in so that at one stage you have got one tree but with two natures — the cultured, cultivated nature, and the wild nature. Yes, but if, by pruning off these wild branches, you see to it that the strength of that tree is only allowed to go into the grafted–in branch not only will that be strengthened and bear its fruit, it will gradually conquer and master the other. It seems to have a power to send its life down into the old until eventually you have the excellent pear tree that you desired at the beginning.

Now no illustration is perfect, but it does seem to me that that goes as far as we can possibly go. That is what happens, in a sense, in regeneration. There is still only one self, there are not two selves. But this new nature is put within us. We are called upon to mortify our members that are on the earth. We have to go on pruning and keeping under that which belongs to the old nature and, as we do so, this new life will grow and develop and produce fruit and the new nature will be increasingly in evidence. I am anxious to stress this point, because I am afraid we can even go further and say that some people, who regard themselves as truly evangelical, altogether deny the truth and the doctrine of regeneration. So I want to put this very strongly. In regeneration, a real change takes place and that within us. It is more than a mere change in our relationship to truth or to a person. A change takes place in us and not outside us only, and it is as definite as the grafting of a pear shoot into a pear tree.

Nor is this a change that remains only while we remain abiding in Christ. Now there is a very familiar teaching about sanctification which is put to us like this: the illustration is taken of a poker. There is the poker, it is cold, black and hard and cannot be bent. So you take that poker and put it into a fire and leave it there. And in the fire the poker becomes red hot and malleable, so that you can bend it. Ah yes, we are told, that is all right, but the poker remains red and hot and malleable only as long as it is kept in the fire. That is an illustration of abiding in Christ, and as long as you abide in Him there will be this new life, it is said, and this new way of living. But if you take that poker out of the fire and leave it out, it reverts completely to what it was before; it becomes black and cold and hard.

Now all that is taught to show the importance of abiding in Christ. It tells us that if we do not do so, we revert exactly to the condition that we were in before. But that, I suggest, is a denial of the doctrine of regeneration. Those who are Christians and who are born again, may backslide; they may not abide in Christ in this mystical sense, but, even then, they do not return to where they were before. They are born again; there is this new principle in them; the change has taken place and the change is still there. They are not manifesting it fully but it is there and we must not describe those people as reverting to the precise position they were in before.

It is exactly the same with that other illustration about the lifebelt. The sinner is compared to a man in the sea who cannot swim, but, we are told, as long as he puts on the lifebelt he is held up. Yes, but if he wriggles out of the lifebelt, he will sink to the bottom. Now there again, it seems to me, is a denial of the doctrine of regeneration because it tells us that when the man is not abiding, he finds himself in exactly the same position in which he was before, as if nothing had happened to him and no change had taken place.

But as we have said, the doctrine of regeneration teaches that the change is one which takes place not merely in our relationship to the Lord or in our relationship to truth, but is something that God does within us. It is a new life put in us, a new principle of life and obedience, and therefore, of course, it is something which grows and develops and becomes progressively greater. Listen to the apostle Paul saying that: ‘But we all,’ he says, ‘with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory’ ( 2 Cor. 3:18 ). Now there, you see, is development and growth. Why? Because this principle of life has been put in. ‘We are changed,’ as Charles Wesley puts it, drawing upon that verse, ‘from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place.’ The work is within us, and we are changed, we are no longer the same. All these scriptural terms should surely have saved us from the error that is illustrated in the pictures of the poker and the lifebelt. We are talking of a rebirth, a new birth, of being born again, of a new creation. Each of us is virtually a new person.

Now I cannot emphasise that too strongly because it is not only something that is clearly taught in Scripture, but when we come on later to deal with the doctrine of sanctification, we shall of necessity see how important it is that we understand this particular teaching about regeneration. If we do not, we shall unconsciously be denying the doctrine of regeneration altogether in our anxiety to get people to abide in Christ. It is right to exhort people to do that, and we shall do so when we come to that doctrine, but we must never put it in such a way as to give the impression that regeneration simply consists in a new relationship to Christ. That is to introduce a very real confusion.

So, then, having emphasised the profound inward character of the change, let me go on to ask a question: Why is this change absolutely essential? On what grounds have we the right to say that it is? Well, first of all Scripture teaches that. You remember again what our Lord said to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ ( John 3:3 ). Then he also says: ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’ (v. 5 ). The rebirth is an absolute, utter essential. A man cannot even see the kingdom, let alone enter it, unless he has been born again.

Paul teaches the same thing in Galatians 6:15: ‘In Christ Jesus,’ he says, ‘neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision but a new creature.’ That is the only thing that matters: not circumcision, nor the absence of it but the new creature, the new creation. And again, in Ephesians 4:24 , Paul says the same thing when he describes the new man, ‘which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness’.

But, in many ways, one of the most important texts in this connection is Hebrews 12:14 : ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ Holiness is absolutely essential and, mark you, holiness there does not merely mean a sanctification that you may or may not receive. Without holiness no man shall — can — see the Lord. So it is no use saying that some Christians have received sanctification and some have not, and that those who have not are still going to heaven — without holiness heaven is impossible. And it is in regeneration that this holiness is implanted in us. This new life is a holy life, a holy principle is placed within us.

There, then, are the explicit statements of Scripture. But there are other statements which teach the same thing by implication. Eternal life is defined as a knowledge of God: ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent’ ( John 17:3 ). Our Lord says that He has come ‘that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly’ ( John 10:10 ). He has come to give us eternal life and eternal life comprises this knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. And that in itself makes regeneration an absolute necessity. God is holy. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. So life eternal is to know Him and to have fellowship with Him. And, therefore, it means, of necessity, that my nature must correspond. There must be something in me which corresponds to that and can enjoy that.

Yes, but we know that, by nature, men and women as the result of the fall, and as the result of sin, are the exact opposite of that. And again, that is why our Lord puts it so plainly in speaking to Nicodemus. Nicodemus was trying to understand and thought he could go from where he was to the next position. No, no, says our Lord, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit’ ( John 3:4 ), and there is nothing in common between them at all. You cannot mix the flesh and the Spirit, it simply cannot be done. It is no use arguing, He says, the thing is impossible. There is the spiritual, here is the sinful, that which belongs to the flesh, and you cannot bring them together. You must be born again. You must be made spiritual.

So the character of God and the character of men and women as the result of sin makes regeneration essential, because there is no such thing as an innate divine spark in human beings. Of course, the people who believe in a divine spark do not believe in regeneration and they are perfectly consistent. But it does seem rather odd that people who denounce the doctrine of the divine spark nevertheless seem to think that there is something in human nature which can do a great deal and which does not make regeneration an absolute and prior necessity.

So regeneration must come at the very beginning because if it is possible for me to do something which will eventually lead to my regeneration, I do not need regeneration. If I, by myself, as I am as the result of the fall and of sin, can appreciate spiritual truth, if I can appreciate the gospel and say, ‘Yes I’m going to pay attention to that,’ and then, as the result of my paying attention, I am born again, well then, I do not need the gift of life. If I have already got the ability and the power and the discrimination to recognise truth and to desire it, then I do not need to be regenerated. But the fact is, of course, that I do not have such a power. Men and women, as the result of the fall and of sin, do not desire this truth. They are at enmity against God. They are opposed to God. ‘You that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works,’ says Paul ( Col. 2:21 ). They hate the law of God. They have nothing to do with Him. They are carnal, carnally minded. They ‘mind the things of the flesh’ ( Rom. 8:5 ). So regeneration is not only essential, but is essential at the beginning; you can have nothing without it. It is impossible for anything to happen in us which can make us Christians until regeneration has taken place.

Now that brings us on to the next question: How exactly is regeneration brought about in us? This is an interesting subject. It is not merely a question of the moral influence of the truth. Those who are not evangelical say that as people listen to the gospel, as they come under its influence and its power, it changes them. They like the ideas, they take hold of them, and the effect of the ideas and of the truth is such that they become different people; they are changed. But that is not it. We are talking about something that happens down in the depths of the personality, and this is what brings about change.

Moral influence can, of course, make a great difference. It can make people change their ideas. It can make them change their way of living; it can turn a drunkard into a teetotaller — it has often done it. You can present arguments and the argument may go home. Someone may give up drink completely, become very sober, and an advocate of temperance, without Christ being mentioned at all. Under the moral effect of truth, and the moral influence of ideas, people can produce great changes in themselves. But that is not what we are dealing with here.

Secondly, it is not produced by baptism either. This is an old controversy, an old source of discussion. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that regeneration is produced and accomplished through the instrumentality of baptism, and only through baptism. You must be baptised before you can be regenerate. I do not want to anticipate a later lecture, but let us be clear at this point. In baptism, Roman Catholics teach that our sins are forgiven and that our moral nature is changed and renewed within us. We are told that baptism delivers us from the inherent power and defilement of original sin. You remember that, as the result of the fall of Adam and our connection with him, we are all defiled, and the power of sin has entered in upon us. Now Roman Catholics teach that when a child is baptised, it is delivered from the inherent power and pollution of original sin. All that it has inherited from Adam is washed away, blotted out, and not only that, by baptism we are made children and heirs of God.

The Anglo–Catholics also teach baptismal regeneration. And, strange though it may seem, the same is true of the Lutherans. Luther never quite got rid of this view, and neither have his followers. There is one difference between the Lutheran and Roman Catholic views. The Catholics say that you cannot be regenerate without baptism; the Lutherans say that you can but that the usual, normal manner is by means of baptism. Well, we do not teach that. We say that regeneration is not by baptism, that there is abundant scriptural evidence in the book of Acts alone to prove that the people who were baptised were those who gave evidence that they were already born again. Indeed, they were baptised because they had been born again. It was given as a sign and a seal to them because they had produced evidence of the new birth.

But to us a much more interesting and fascinating question is this: What is the relationship of regeneration to the word that is preached? There are a number of texts that suggest that our regeneration takes place through and by means of the word. Let me suggest two to you. 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.’ Then there is 1 Peter 1:23 : ‘Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God.’ However, you will remember that in the last lecture I drew a distinction between the act of regeneration and the coming to birth and said that there may be a long interval between the two. Now I suggest to you that both these texts I have quoted are concerned about the bringing to birth. And it is certainly the word that does that. It is the effectual call, coming through the medium of the word, that, as it were, brings the seed of life to life, so that the birth takes place. But if you keep in mind the distinction between the generation and the actual coming to birth, I think you will see the difference. The word is used, not in the act of generating, but in the bringing out into life of that which has already been implanted within.

At this point some would quote the parable of the sower and the different types of ground, and emphasise that the life is in the seed and so on. But surely the whole point of that parable is to emphasise the character of the ground into which the seed is put. It is stony ground? Is it encompassed by thorns? And so on. Or is it good ground? In other words, the teaching in that parable is that what really matters is that fundamental something which we call the disposition. And if that has been changed and put right, then, when the word comes, it will be effectual; it will lead to the result; it will yield the fruit.

Indeed, the Scriptures do seem to teach that quite explicitly. Take, for instance, John 6:65 : ‘Therefore said I unto you,’ says our Lord, ‘that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.’ Now there were the people, hearing the same word, and as we have already seen, some came, some went away — what was the difference? It is this, our Lord, says, ‘… except it were given unto them of my Father.’ And again I would remind you of what we are told about Lydia. It was because the Lord had ‘opened her heart’ that she attended to Paul and received the word. It was not the word that opened her heart, it was the act of the Lord. It was this that led to her reception of the word. That surely must be the order. And the argument of 1 Corinthians 2 , especially verses 12 to 15 , obviously teaches the same thing.

But there are two final arguments about this which are not only of great importance, but, it seems to me, of very great interest also. What about the Old Testament saints? Now when we were dealing with the doctrine of the covenant, we were at great pains to emphasise that the Old Testament saints are in the same position as we are. There is only one covenant in the Old and in the New Dispensations. And you and I today are the children of Abraham, Abraham is our father, because we are children of faith. There is a difference, of course, in the administration of the covenant in the Old and in the New, but only one great covenant of grace. Our Lord tells us that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in the kingdom and that others will come from the east and from the west while the Jews will be left outside ( Luke 13:28–29 ). In other words, the Old Testament saints were born again. David was born again, he was a new man, a new creature, and so were the patriarchs and the prophets.

The author of the epistle to the Hebrews puts it like this at the end of chapter 11. He said that those saints did not receive the promise in full. His argument is that it was kept back so that they should not, as it were, run ahead of us. Here it is: ‘And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect’ ( Heb. 11:39–40 ). So we are made perfect together. But if those Old Testament saints were regenerate, as they must have been, it is clear that it is not the word that actually performs the act of regeneration. Regeneration is something that is not mediate through the word, but immediate. It was the Spirit of God who dealt with them and operated upon them.

The other argument is that about children, especially about infants. Now we all believe, do we not, that there are infants and children who have gone and who will go to heaven and spend their eternity in the presence of God. Now how can a child be saved? Obviously every infant needs to be saved. If you believe in the doctrine of the fall and in the doctrine of original sin, you must believe that every child is born in sin and ‘shapen in iniquity’ ( Ps. 51:5 ); every child is dead in trespasses and in sins ( Eph. 2:21 ). They all inherit original sin and original guilt from Adam, every child that is born. How, then, can any child be saved? How can any child ever go to heaven?

Now, if you want to insist upon the fact that regeneration always follows upon hearing the word and believing it and accepting it — how can an infant be saved? The infant cannot receive truth, it does not have the ability; it does not have understanding, it has not awakened to these things. So is there no hope for any infant? We do not believe that, we obviously reject such a suggestion. And the answer is, of course, that a child is regenerated in exactly the same way as anybody else, because it is the action of this almighty being, of God Himself through the Holy Spirit. He can implant the seed of spiritual life in an unconscious infant with the same ease as He can do it in an adult person. Therefore you see why it is important for us to consider whether regeneration is something that happens indirectly through the word or whether it is indeed the direct operation of God upon us. And I am teaching again, as I did in the last lecture, that it is immediate, direct, it is God creating anew as He created the world out of nothing at the beginning.

And, finally, the last thing is that obviously, in the light of all this, regeneration is something that can never be lost. If you are regenerate, you will remain regenerate. It seems to me that this is absolutely inevitable because regeneration is the work of God. Yet there are those who seem to think that people can be born again as the result of believing the truth and then, if they backslide or fall into sin or deny the truth, they lose their regeneration. But if they come back again and believe again, then they are regenerate again — as if one can be born again and die and be born again and die an endless number of times. How important doctrine is. How important it is that we should be clear as to what the Scripture teaches about these things. It tells us that regeneration is the work of God Himself in the depths of the soul and that He does it in such a way that it is permanent. ‘No man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand’ ( John 10:29 ).

‘I am persuaded,’ says Paul, and let us notice this, ‘I am persuaded’ — he is certain — ‘that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ ( Rom. 8:38–39 ). And when Paul says that, he is expounding regeneration. It is not merely the relationship between us, it is because God has put this life in me, that nothing can separate me from Him. And when we come to deal with the mystical union which follows directly from this, we shall see how still more inevitable this must be. This is a permanent work and nothing can ever bring it to an end.

Take those verses from the first epistle of John: ‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin’ — which means that such a person does not go on abiding in sin. Why? Well — ‘for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God’ ( 1 John 3:9 ). He cannot go on sinning because he is born of God. Let us be clear about that. The man or woman who is born of God, who is regenerate, simply does not and cannot continue — abide — in a life of sin. They may backslide temporarily, but if they are born of God they will come back. It is as certain as that they have been born again. It is the way to test whether or not someone is born again.

Or take that other word in 1 John 2:19: ‘They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.’ They were members of the Church, these people, they appeared to be Christians, they said the right things and up to a point their life seemed to be right, but they ‘went out’. Why? They went out ‘because they were not of us’ — they were not regenerate. They had never been born again. That is why they have gone out, says John, in a sense, to give proof of the fact that they have never really had life.

‘But what about Hebrews 6 and 10?’ asks someone. The answer is that there is nothing in either of those chapters to suggest that those people were ever regenerate. They had had marvellous experiences, but there is nothing to say that they were born again. They were not, and that is the explanation. The regenerate abide. They may backslide, they may fall into sin, they may fail, but they abide, because the life is there. The others may appear to be fully Christian but if there is no life they will not abide. Life shows itself, it gives proof of its existence — as we shall go on to see.