What does it mean to be born again? Most believers understand the term at least minimally as being that moment when you became a child of God. When Nicodemus was told by Jesus that he could not see the kingdom of God unless he was born again, that statement took Nicodemus for a bit of a loop. Was he supposed to crawl back into his mother’s womb and be delivered into this world again? Furthermore, what are all the ramifications for what it means to be born again? In a collection of previously unreleased sermons on John 3 and the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, the famed Pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones unpacks this important story and principle.
I have grown to enjoy the writings of Martyn Lloyd-Jones in recent years. His ability to engage a periscope of Scripture and to then relay to the reader the meaning and most importantly the application of what God has to say is quite remarkable. Quite honestly, I wish pastors today would take note of his style of preaching and the manner in which he unpacked Scripture to his congregants.
In this collection of sermons aptly titled Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3, Lloyd-Jones walks the reader through the story of Jesus discussing with Nicodemus the subject of the new birth. Jones rightly notes in the very beginning an important point we must grasp when understanding the new birth and for that matter the Christian walk as a whole. He states, “Our danger always, even as Christian people, is to be reducing this life – eternal life – to something that is merely a point of view, a teaching, a philosophy, a theology, or whatever. We must never do that. Its essence is that it is a life, and that means receiving of his fullness. This is the greatest thing in the world, the greatest thing that any of us can ever realize.”
This means that the new birth is far more than a singular event despite that event being a miraculous demonstration of God’s mercy and grace towards sinners through the sacrifice of Jesus. Properly understanding the new birth involves the reality that being born again places us in the family of God. As such, there are characteristics that one should demonstrate in their lives that reveal they are in God’s family. Lloyd-Jones does an excellent job of explaining what those characteristics are such as humility, being truly repentant, a changed life, a love for God’s Word, maturity in the faith, love for the Body of Christ, as well as a desire for truth and living righteously before God.
In fact, Lloyd-Jones spends the majority of his time in this collection of sermons focusing on those specific elements to include other related and important subjects such as assurance of faith, being alive in Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, and the need to empty oneself of themselves, and to replace fleshly desires with a desire to love and serve God. I would classify this wonderful collection of sermons as an essential overview of what it means to be a child of God – the basics of the Christian walk and what it looks like in practice to have a relationship with our heavenly Father.
I highly recommend this book for every new believer, along with every believer to have in their valuable resource in their collection. as a valuable resource. The truths shared by Lloyd-Jones are theologically insightful, profound, and accessible regardless of what point in your Christian walk you may find yourself. Being born again is more than an event. Conversely, it is merely the beginning of a life lived in service to the One who gave His Son so that we might have life. Lloyd-Jones beautifully relays that important message in these sermons and I encourage you to spend some time reading this book.