We must now turn our attention to John’s writings.
John’s word collection includes references to birth, love, family, children, Fatherhood, life, love and so on.
It is interesting to note that the early chapters in John’s gospel are thought to be placed very early in the public ministry of Jesus. Perhaps the call of the disciples was first but then the early chapters in John’s gospel come next.
In the first chapter John says, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, not of the will of man, but of God”. John 1:11-13.
New birth is seen by John as a foundational experience for men and women to know. New birth follows believing faith. Man’s responsibility is to turn to Christ in faith, believe in His name and receive Him deep into his heart. God responds by giving new birth. He alone is able to impart the life and power of God into a soul. It does not lie in the power of man, nor his will to make new birth happen. God Himself births a man in God as he believes and receives by faith.
A wedding is the context of His first miracle, after which comes the account of Jesus meeting Nicodemus at night. This is most instructive. Nicodemus was the teacher in Israel and was the authority in the knowledge of Scripture and the law etc.
It is too long to discuss the whole conversation in this article. Suffice it to say Jesus focussed down on the need Nicodemus had to be born again. He did not engage in a theological discussion with him. He ignored Nicodemus’s responses and came straight to the point, Nicodemus needed to have a new birth, a birth from above. Without such an experience, Jesus says, a man will not see the kingdom of God. It is that fundamental in His plan.
The other significant section of the New Testament that we should briefly explore is John’s epistles, especially his first.
At the time of writing John is an old man and is probably sending a circular letter as a pastor concerned for a number of churches. They have been infiltrated, it would seem, by Gnosticism, a common heresy of the day. He is trying to give the churches ways of recognising true believers and true teaching from false brethren and erroneous teaching.
He basically gives a series of tests by which people could evaluate and discern between the true and the false.
The things he mentions all spring out of the new birth. He suggests six evidences or indications that a person has been born again.
- The practice of righteousness. Chapter 2:29.
- The power not to sin. Chapter 3:9.
- Love and the knowledge of God. Chapter 4:7.
- Believing that Jesus is the Christ. Chapter 5:1.
- Overcoming the world. Chapter 5:4.
- Victory over the enemy. Chapter 5:18.
These evidences, as it were, show us just how radical and powerful the new birth from above really is. We must be sure that we have allowed God to work His mighty works in us. If we find we have not, then we must believe into Him with all that we have, receive His word and God will give us new birth.