We are continuing our exploration of the theme, “What God’s Word Will Do For You.” In this third edition we are focusing on the role of the Word in bringing us to new life in Christ. In our initial teaching of this six-part series on the topic, we focused on the unique nature of God’s Word—that it is alive, energetic and penetrating in our lives. In our second teaching, we talked about a very specific result that the Word produces in your life. What is that result? Faith. I explained how faith comes by hearing the Word of God—often with miraculous results.
We saw in that second message that there are three successive phases in this “faith” process: First, you must have the Word of God. Second, you must hear the Word. Third, as you hear God’s Word, you must actively receive it. This is the process by which the Word imparts faith to you.
As we present this third part of our series in these Teaching Letters, I would ask you specifically to bear this process in mind. If you do, the result in your life will be faith.
I believe that if you will listen to this teaching of God’s Word with a receptive attitude, faith will be imparted to you today. You will actually experience for yourself the very truths I am teaching about.
In this installment of “What God’s Word Will Do For You,” I will be describing a miraculous second result that the Word of God will produce for us. What is that experience? The new birth. This is one spiritual experience that is more important in our lives than any other—one miracle we must have if we are ever going to know God and become what He desires us to be.
“Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus],‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (NAS)
The Kingdom of God is closed to anyone who is not born again. The new birth is the primary requirement which is essential for seeing and entering God’s kingdom. The man Jesus was talking to in John 3:3,Nicodemus, did not understand the new birth. He asked, “How can a person be born again?” That is a very important question: How is it that a person can be born again?
In this teaching, I hope to explain in detail how the new birth comes about. But first and foremost, I’m going to show you how it comes as a result of hearing the Word of God.
In 1 Peter 1:22–23, Peter writes these words to new believers in Jesus Christ:
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again [notice that same concept of the phrase, ‘born again’] not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (NAS)
We see here that the seed which produces the new birth is the living Word of God. As we receive this Word into our hearts by faith, through the work of the Holy Spirit, life springs forth from it. This life is a completely new kind—one which constantly comes from God. We can never experience this life by religion, by good works or by our own efforts. It is a life which comes only from God.
Connecting this concept to the process by which seeds work, there is a law regarding seed and life that runs throughout the universe. This law can be stated as follows: the nature of the seed determines the nature of the life which comes from it. If the seed is perishable and corruptible, the life that comes from it will likewise be perishable and corruptible.
However, we know that the seed of the Word of God is not perishable. It is not corruptible. It is divine, eternal, imperishable, and incorruptible. Therefore the new life in us that comes forth out of that seed is the same life that is in the seed. It is divine, eternal, imperishable, and incorruptible. That is the kind of life God wants you to receive. But it will only come to you as you receive—by faith—the seed of God’s Word.
In this section, I will speak further about the kind of life the seed of God’s Word will produce in us. In 1 John 3:8–9, John writes:
“The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. [Very clear language, isn’t it? Anyone who practices sin—who regularly indulges in sin—is of the devil. Then John tells us why Jesus came.] The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. [And, of course, the primary work referred to there is sin. Jesus came to deal with the sin problem in our lives. In the next verse, John speaks about the result of the new birth.] No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed [God’s seed]abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (KJV)
This is very strong language—and I think we need to understand exactly what John is saying.
Personally, I do not believe John is saying that a born again Christian can never commit sin. As a born-again Christian myself, I am sorry to say that from time to time since I was born again, I have committed sin. Not repeatedly nor deliberately—but I have sinned. And yet, I know I am born again.
In this verse, I believe John is talking about the new nature which comes from the seed of God. Do you remember the principle we discussed earlier? We observed the universal law: “As is the seed, so is the life—the nature—that comes from it.” Where the seed is divine, eternal, imperishable, and incorruptible, so is the life or nature which comes from it.
By virtue of the new birth, there is born within every one of us a new life—a new nature. This life is the very life of God Himself. It is divine, eternal, and incorruptible. It is incapable of sin. Did you notice why John says that it is incapable of sin? Because God’s seed abides in it. Consequently, an imperishable seed—a holy seed—can never produce that which is perishable or unholy.
How will the course of our lives as believers be determined? According to how much we let this new nature express itself and live itself out through us. There is no guarantee that we will never sin. The guarantee is that the new nature in us will never sin. If we let that new nature have its way, we can be assured that we will lead holy lives.
As we close this message, I would like to take this one step further. We have talked about receiving the Word of God. However in Revelation 19:13, we find that Jesus Himself is called the Word of God. So we have the Word in two forms. First we have the Word that is written or spoken—the Word that is coming to you right now through this message. But we also have the living, personal Word—the Lord Jesus Christ.
In a certain sense, these two are identical. Maybe we can understand this better from the analogy of the seed. Imagine going to a store and buying a package of seeds—maybe watermelon seeds. The seeds inside the packet are small, black, shiny and hard. They look very lifeless and they are certainly not beautiful. However, on the outside of the package, it is quite likely you will see a picture of a full, ripe watermelon cut in half. You will see that luscious red flesh pictured there and your mouth will begin to water.
You could easily say to yourself, “How can that beautiful, tempting, luscious fruit ever come out of those little, black, shiny, hard seeds in the package?” Well, that is the miracle of the seed. It is a miracle that surrounds us everywhere in nature.
It is also an analogy—a pattern—of what God does for us when we receive preaching from the Word of God. The Word brought to us, whether through a teaching letter or any other means, is like that little, black, shiny seed. It does not appear to have tremendous beauty or power. But if we receive it in our hearts, it will bring forth in us a life that is beautiful, holy and eternal.
In a sense, the life that springs forth in us when we receive the preached Word of God is just as different as the ripe watermelon is from the little seed from which it came. Just like the luscious, ripe watermelon, the Word of God will actually bring forth in us the very life and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is God’s ultimate purpose in sending His Word. He wants to reproduce Jesus in us out of the seed of the Word.
As we close, I want to tell you a wonderful truth: you too can be born again. If you will just receive the seed of God’s Word—the promise of the Word of God—it will bring forth new life in you. John 1:12 says:
“But as many as received Him [Jesus] to them He gave the right to become children of God.” (NAS)
John goes on to say that those who receive Him are born of God. You too can be born of God—born again. Simply open your heart and receive Jesus. Believe He died for your sins and rose again. Confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Receive Him by faith into your heart. When you do, you will be born again. What a wonderful truth: You can be born again this very minute.
Part 4: What God’s Word Will Do For You