Born Again

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
~ Philippians 1:9

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.
~ John 3:5

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:53-54

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
~ Isaiah 40:6-8

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
~ Psalm 119:89

Born Again. A Sermon, by Robert Murray M’Cheyne.

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
~ 1 Peter 1:22-25

In the previous verse, the command was to love the brethren. Peter now comes to the grand reason because we are brethren in one divine family. All Christians have been born again by the word of God, the incorruptible seed living and abiding so different from their natural life, which is like grass. The word has come to them in the preached gospel.

You have been born again, he tells them. The beginning of this work of grace in you is to be traced to your new birth. I do not mean that you entered into your mother’s womb and were born a second time. The second birth you have undergone is not of the flesh, which would be a corruptible second birth as a poor dying worm. But the birth of which I speak is of an incorruptible, a seed. It is a birth of the Spirit.

The instrument in this birth is the word of God, which brought home with power, has life in it and also continuance. It lives in the heart and always lives. For the Bible shows the difference between these two. Between the frail perishing life, we are born to and the enduring word by which we are born again. This enduring word is the word concerning Jesus.

1. All Christians have been born again.

He had told them this before. Verse three. Here, he tells it as the root of all good in them, their new birth. If they have purified their souls, if they love one another, it is because they have been born again. We should never weary in thinking of our new birth, and that all our change comes from it. This would keep us in blessing and keep us humble seeing that it is what has made all the difference.

Those who think to purify their souls and love the brethren without being born again are foolish. Seek a new birth. Seek converting grace. This only strikes at the root of all sins. This only begins all grace in the heart. All Christians agree in this. Christians differ in many things. In their first birth, they are very different. One was born in a cottage, another in a palace, one in the crowded city, another in the wilderness. One was received into the tender arms of rejoicing parents, another homeless and friendless, in infancy. They differ in circumstances. One is rich, another poor one clothed in humble arraignment. Though clean another clothed in fine raiment. For it is possible with God, that there may be a rich Christian.

They differ in character. One has much faith, peace, joy, love. Another little faith, a much doubting darkness, distress, but all are born again.

The river of their peace has its source, the same fountain it is at the cross and the grave of Jesus.

Have you been born again? Try yourself by this. You lack many of the spots of God’s children. Deuteronomy 32:5. You may find it difficult to discern their faith, their love, their hope. But have you been born again? All Christians have.

If you are not Christians, it is the very thing you should hear. All unconverted persons must be born again or perish. You all need this. You are not all drunkards or swearers or liars, but you all need to be born again. Yea. the woman that is delicate among you that would not adventure to set her foot on the ground still needs to be born again. Lydia was a decent woman, yet she needed to be born again.

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, a man of integrity and good breeding. Yet, he must be born again. So must you. Lydias and rulers rich and poor. You must be born again, if you are a Christian. So were they to whom Peter wrote. Yet see how he reminds them. Love one another. Being born again. It is the root of all the graces. It is vain to think of loving or being holy, if you are not born again. Go and look at the fountain from once you came and it should encourage you in all holiness.

2. This new birth is into an undying life. It is not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible. When a child is born, it is into a dying life. If you stretch the eye, you will see the winding sheet. We face the grave. How often a worm is at the root of the gord. But earlier or later it dies, but it is not so with the new birth. The first birth is of corruptible seed. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. But we are born of God into an undying life of an incorruptible seed. A Christian may be often sickly, often ready to die. Yet the word of Jesus is sure, he shall never perish. He is born for eternity.

Rejoice, if you are born again, you shall never die. I can be confident of this very thing that he which has began a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6. Your new nature is not a frail dying nature. It is divine. Oh, what a contrast within a frail consumptive body wasting away the spirit may be mounting with wings like an eagle soaring with untiring, immortal life. All should rejoice over those who are born again.

It is often made a matter of joy when a child is born into this dying world. Ah, how much more? When one is born again, all heaven rings with hallelujahs as the Savior stoops to lift the sheep upon his shoulder and you will be silent? A star is rising that will never set but will blaze throughout eternity.

3. The means is the word of God.

The new birth is by the word of God. It is a living word. It is an abiding word. It is a gospel word.

1. A living word. In the hand of the spirit, the word is all life. The word of God is quick or alive. Hebrews 4:12. A sword lying on the ground is a dead thing. It can do nothing. But let the warrior snatch it up and brandish it. It lives. It gleams–so is the so it is with the word. When we speak it, it touches no one. But when the spirit takes it in hand, it lives. It is the living word. Nothing was so dead before. Nothing is so living now.

O, let us be determined to give ourselves more to prayer. We are too apt to prophesy more to the dry bones than to the Spirit. Ezekiel 37:1-10. Often we have done so. Come let us change our plan and engage in more secret prayer. Let us set apart days for prayer.

2. An abiding word.

Some roots take such hold of the ground that when they have taken possession, it is impossible to remove them. You may turn or you may hoe. Still they remain. So it is with the engrafted word, the word made living by the Spirit. Affliction, prosperity, persecution may hue and burn it. Still, it abides forever.

The natural man is like grass, but this word endures. “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” John 8:51.

3. Lastly, a gospel word. It is the gospel word that the Spirit blesses to the new birth. It is not the preaching of the law or of moral virtue, but gospel preaching. It is the preaching of the word concerning Jesus in his cross concerning the high priest within the veil. Concerning the son of God who is to come again–that the spirit uses to bring about the new birth. Amen.