Born of God (continued)
The New Birth A Divine Intervention
The first thing, which is quite patent, is that the birth of the Lord Jesus was a Divine intervention in human life: and that is true of the new birth of every believer; it is nothing less than a Divine intervention in human life. We do not stay with all the minute details of Christ's birth, but it is perfectly clear in this way, that out from Heaven there came a Heavenly Visitant, making an announcement; and, from the same heaven, the Holy Spirit came into human life and intervened, and did something - something that we shall see, I trust, in a minute. The point is that here is a breaking in of Heaven into human life.
Perhaps you wonder why this should be stressed, and given such emphasis. But let us be clear that that is not what is very largely conceived and taught about the new birth. Even with the best intentions the new birth is so often placed to man's side - it is what man does. Man has got to do something - either raise his hand, or make some statement, or sign some document, or make a decision, make a profession, accept certain things that are being stated, and so on. Perhaps such things are meant to open the way for God; but, even if we allow that, people are often left with this idea that it is something they have done. They have accepted Christ; they have accepted Christianity; they have made a gesture; they have done something; they have become Christians by what they have done, by their own lot.
Born Not of the Will of Man But of God
Now, being fully generous, and not critical at all, it is very important to recognize that the new birth never necessarily takes place by anything that we do. It never really is consummated by some act of our own will, or of our own desire, or of our own mind - not at all. "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man ..." - the man being the case in point, or the other man who would seek to bring it about - "... but of God." If God does not intervene in human life and in human history; break right in, as it were, from Heaven; if the Holy Spirit does not overshadow, and Himself produce that new life, that is NOT new birth; there is something lacking.
You are wondering, perhaps, why this message. I will tell you why. With a growing concern - and concern is a weak word - as one moves about the world touching Christians and Christianity, the one thing that is born in upon one's heart, overwhelmingly, sometimes almost to the point of despair, is the need that those who bear the name of "Christian" should know the real nature of what it means to be a child of God. They seem so many of them, to have taken on something from the outside, by their own volition, choice and act, and so many have really not the faintest idea of what it means to be "born" out from Heaven. And in all the needed work of recovery, in every department of Divine purpose at this time, this is one of the needs - a recovery of the real meaning of new birth, of what it is to be born from above, to be a child of God.
(continued with # 30 - "The Coming Test of Our Standing")