One Has To Be Born Again
“There are no spiritual activities without regeneration.” (Packer, 18 words)
This short pithy statement is loaded with significance.
1. It gives church leadership the daily outcome of their work among Christ’s people. When people do not act as one who has been “born again,” we should rightly question whether they are truly “regenerated.” “It is worth pausing for a moment over B. B. Warfield’s analysis of the change as ‘a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23) by God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Eph. 4:24), by virtue of which we become “new men” (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), no longer conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9)” Ibid.
2. It also defines the contours of our work among them. When all else is said and done, if it doesn’t compel, woo them to greater intimacy and obedience to our Heavenly Father, we should rightly wonder if they are truly regenerated. “But we have no warrant for regarding anyone as regenerate without these marks. Any who lack them, whatever they may claim, are to be adjudged unregenerate children of the devil (3:6-10). Regeneration is known by its fruits.” Ibid. 3. Regeneration will also change the way we do what we do, especially in this generation of “noise.” That noise dictates that churches need to regularly assess how they carry out their responsibility among confessing Christians. While public communication still holds great value, I think that it no longer achieves what it did pre-industrial revolution. We are pressed back into the need for greater face to face biblical and theological dialogue with people needing to be formed into the life of Christ.