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New Birth

By Leon Morris


      . . . The Holy Spirit within a man is the evidence that he belongs to God. The Holy Spirit is God's mark of ownership set upon him. The inference is inescapable. If we are God's, we will bear God's mark. His Holy Spirit will be within us.

      . . . The Spirit within us is the evidence whereby we know that God wills to abide with His people. "Hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He gave us" (I John 3:24). . . "Hereby know we that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has gives us of His Spirit" (4:13). . . The believer perceives in his own life evidences of a power not his own. He knows that the Holy Spirit is within him. And knowing this, he knows that God dwells among His people. The Spirit gives assurance. The Spirit gives an inner certainty.

      . . . We would not even begin to be Christians without some work of the Spirit within us. . . We are saved only by Christ's atoning death. . . Left to ourselves, we would not wish to make even the motion of turning from sin. We would simply stay where we are. . . It is not until the Spirit of God begins to work in their hearts that men are stirred enough to accept the gospel offer that is made to them.

      The very preaching of the gospel is done by or in the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:12), and its content is something that is revealed by the same Spirit (Eph. 3:5). When men are convicted of their sin, that is a work of the Spirit (Jn 16:8f). . . Preaching may be the means the Spirit uses, but it is always the work of the Spirit to convict men. If the Spirit does not convict, then nothing that man can do can bring about the result. . . Basically the deep-seated work that goes on in men's hearts when they are awakened to their sinfulness is the work of God's Spirit, not of human preachers.

      . . . A veil must be taken from the heart before men turn to the Lord (2 Cor. 3:12-18). . . The plain truth is that "the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God." To him they are no more than "foolishness" (1 Cor. 2:14). Only as a work of the Spirit is done in him can the situation be any different.

      But the Spirit does not simply convict men and leave it at that. He brings life; He can be called "'the Spirit of life" (Rom. 8:2); He "quickens" men (Jn. 6:63; Rom 8:11). . . Being "born again" is an activity ascribed to the Spirit (Jn. 3:3, 5, 7). The Christian life is begun in the Spirit (Gal. 3:3). Men are saved, "not by works done in righteousness . . . but according to his mercy . . . through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). The Spirit is joined with the Lord Jesus Christ in the activity of "washing" believers (1 Cor. 6:11). Christians can say "in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . . and were all made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13). . .

      . . . The Christian life is due to supernatural action. . . It is such a radical change that the man can be said to have been born all over again. He can be said to be created anew (2 Cor. 5:17). This is not anything that men may do for themselves. It takes place as a result of the work of the Spirit of God (Spirit of the Living God, pp. 71-73).

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