Saturday, May 13, 2017

Definition of New Birth

This morning a friend wrote on Facebook and I replied.
This morning I read this in the notes of a study Bible by a Reformed pastor, "New birth is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the believer." I think there is something wrong with the wording here. Does anyone else? If so, wherein lies the difficulty?
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Dan Tolly I find that any time a man [any man] attempts to 'explain' or 'say in other words' what Scripture says, he is going to falter in his explanation. I can appreciate the attempt to explain how God brings about salvation, but the choice of words does not necessarily clarify the matter.
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2 hrs
Ron Unruh Your question challenged me. Here are my initial thoughts. I don't believe the definition is wrong. It is an inadequate definition of the term 'new birth.' It doesn't say enough. Mention of 'an act of God' is appropriate in that when Jesus spoke about being 'born again,' he was attributing new birth to God. It is God's doing. Fine. In John 3:3-5 he said, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." When Nicodemus expressed his confusion with the words, "Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit." The inadequacy of the definition for me concerns that of which the act is supposed to consist. Granting eternal life to a believer is an insufficient description of 'new birth.' Eternal life is a result, a consequential benefit, to a person who has undergone the act of God that Jesus describes as a spiritual rebirth, an experience of being born again, a birth from above and which according to Peter is not derived from corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever" (1 Peter 1:22-23). New birth is the regenerative act of God by which a change so profound occurs that it requires other descriptors such as being translated from darkness to light, and dying to sin and living to righteousness. 

I would prefer to say, "New birth is that regenerative act of God whereby a believer in Christ is spiritually reborn as God's child to live a holy life eternally."

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