How Are Sinners Born Again?      John 3:8

            Anyone who understands the nature of man and the nature of the new birth realizes that divine, sovereign power and grace is required to give dead sinners life. Moral reason may persuade you to change your behavior, but it cannot give you life. A preacher may, by eloquence and logic, or by playing the motional stirrings, make you religious, but he cannot give you life. The mere exercise of the will may enable a drunk to get sober, with a little psychological help from AAA, but your free will cannot give you life. “Ye must be born again.”

Regeneration is the sovereign, irresistible work of God the Holy Spirit. "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." At the time appointed by God, the Holy Spirit comes to the sinner who was chosen by grace in eternal election and redeemed by Christ at Calvary, and creates life in that sinner by his sovereign, irresistible, effectual grace (Gal. 4:4-7).

The instrument by which the Holy Spirit causes men and women to be born again is the gospel of Christ (John 3: 12-16). Let silly men argue and debate all they please about this issue; but the Word of God is crystal clear about the utility of the gospel. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” “Of his own will begat he us with the Word of Truth.” Sinners are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever…And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” God does not save sinners apart from the preaching of the gospel.

This does not, in any way, place a limitation upon God’s sovereignty. Were it his pleasure to do so, God almighty could save sinners without the use of any means at all. But that is not his pleasure. In this gospel age, the Lord God saves chosen, redeemed sinners through the instrumentality of gospel preaching, not merely through the instrumentality of preaching, but through the instrumentality of gospel preaching. God does not save his elect by the preaching of the satanic lie of Arminian, free will, works religion, but by the preaching of the gospel, the word of the truth. The Word of God is truly preached only when the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ is preached. All other preaching is just a lot of noise about nothing!

You may ask, “What if no preacher is around?” That is of absolutely no consequence. God does not have any trouble getting gospel preachers to chosen sinners or chosen sinners to gospel preachers at the appointed time of mercy. He managed to get Paul to the river side outside of Philippi when the time of mercy had come for Lydia. He got him to the jail when the time of love came for the Philippian jailer. He brought Philip to the Eunuch at the appointed time when he would be gracious to him and to the island of Malta when he was pleased to carry his gospel there. When the time came for the salvation of that chosen, redeemed crook named Onesimus, God had no trouble getting the object of his grace to the appointed messenger of his grace.

Don Fortner