4 Part Message Series by John Piper… ‘New Birth’ Part 4
Jesus Is the Life
I want to close by making a crucial connection between being born again by the Spirit and having eternal life through faith in Jesus. What we have seen so far is that what happens in the new birth is a supernatural work by the Holy Spirit to bring spiritual life into being where it did not exist. Jesus says it again in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”
But the Gospel of John makes something else clear as well: Jesus is the life that the Holy Spirit gives. Or we could say: the spiritual life that he gives, he only gives in connection with Jesus. Union with Jesus is where we experience supernatural, spiritual life. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. In John 6:35, he said, “I am the bread of life.” And in John 20:31, John says, “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
No Life Apart from Jesus
So there is no spiritual life — no eternal life — apart from connection with Jesus and belief in Jesus. We will have lots more to say about the relationship between the new birth and faith in Jesus. But let’s put it this way for now: In the new birth, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ in a living union. Christ is life. Christ is the vine where life flows. We are the branches (John 15:1–11).
“There is no eternal apart from union with Jesus and belief in Jesus.”
What happens in the new birth is the supernatural creation of new spiritual life, and it is created through union with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit brings us into vital connection with Christ who is the way, the truth, and life. That is the objective reality of what happens in the new birth.
And from our side — the way we experience this — is that faith in Jesus is awakened in our hearts. Spiritual life and faith in Jesus come into being together. The new life makes the faith possible, and since spiritual life always awakens faith and expresses itself in faith, there is no life without faith in Jesus. Therefore, we should never separate the new birth from faith in Jesus. From God’s side, we are united to Christ in the new birth. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. From our side, we experience this union by faith in Jesus.
Never Separate the New Birth and Faith in Jesus
Listen to how John puts them together in 1 John 5:4: “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” Born of God — the key to victory. Faith is the key to victory because faith is the way we experience being born of God.
Or listen to how John says it in 1 John 5:11–12: “This is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Therefore, when Jesus says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all” (John 6:63), and when he says, “You must be born of the Spirit” in order to have life, he means this: in the new birth, the Holy Spirit supernaturally gives us new spiritual life by connecting us with Jesus Christ through faith, for Jesus is life.
So never separate these two sayings of Jesus in John 3: “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (verse 3) and“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (verse 36).