The new birth is of vital importance because without it no one can enter into the kingdom of God; mere professions or decisions are not enough. Men must be born of God and so become the children of God. There is an illustration of this found in Luke 5. 36 to 6. 13; we note six points.
The Character of the New Birth. "No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old”; no one would be so foolish as to cut up a new suit to patch an old one, and if man would not do this, we can be sure that God will not do it. We have by nature a garment of filthy rags, which is called self-righteousness and God will not patch up this filthy ragged garment to make us fit for His presence; rather He covers us with a new suit of clothes called righteousness. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe”, Rom. 3. 22. This is an illustration of the external work of God upon us at the new birth. Further, “no man putteth new wine into old bottles”. Again if man would not do this how much more shall God not place His Holy Spirit into our old carnal nature, which is enmity (not “at enmity" as is so often misquoted, it is enmity). Just as a snake is dangerous, so the carnal mind is enmity and is unchangeable in its character, Rom. 8. 7. Therefore God makes us a new creation and places His Holy Spirit into the new life, which is quickened by the Holy Spirit, John 6. 63. Thus God in His wisdom makes us anew both inside and out, and this is vastly different from just making a decision, which usually means turning over a new leaf and blotting the copy book next day. It is a genuine transformation of life which is wrought of God in those who repent of their sin and place their confidence in Christ as Lord. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”, 2 Cor. 5. 17.
The Hindrance to the New Birth. "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new; for he saith, The old is better”. It is quite a common belief that the life of sin is much more enjoyable than the Christian life. Many say the old is better and stick to it, but how wrong they are. On the day of Pentecost they said, “These men are full of new wine”, and they were wrong unless we think of the new wine as an illustration of the Holy Spirit. Just as wine makes glad the heart of man, so does the indwelling Holy Spirit give joy and gladness to all who experience the new birth.
The Channel of the New Birth. Chapter 6 starts with the second sabbath after the first. This first sabbath was when the wave sheaf was waved before the Lord, which speaks of the resurrection of Christ because it was on the day of the wave sheaf that He was raised from the dead, and on the second sabbath they were allowed to eat of the new corn as the disciples did. Therefore in a figure they were feeding on the Risen Lord, who is the channel of the new life which is given to those who find their satisfaction in Him.
The Outcome of the New Birth. The Pharisees accused Christ’s disciples of breaking the sabbath and to this accusa-tion the Son of God’s reply was to remind them of that which David did when he was rejected from being king by Saul, how he and his followers went to the house of the Lord and together fed on holy things. So those who experience the new birth, follow Christ, the rejected King, and feed on holy things. This is a costly exercise especially when we remember the words of the Lord, “whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple”, Luke 14. 27.
The Manifestation of the New Birth. The Lord entered into a synagogue on another sabbath and there He healed a man who had a withered hand. This sets forth in figure the new birth in action, the performance of deeds never done before. The man could now use his hand, and the man who is born of God finds himself doing many things which he never deemed possible before; He praises God with all his heart and sings a new song to Him who loved him even unto death. A young lady living at Exmouth wrote the hymn “There is life for a look at the crucified One" within eight hours of finding peace through Christ. Well she might do so, because she was only expressing in words that which she experienced and was enjoying in her new life. The sabbath was a holy day and a day of rest; it was on the sabbath they fed on the new corn and a sabbath when the man was healed, so the new birth brings both holiness and rest.
The Purpose of the New Birth. In Luke 6.13, the Lord appoints men to become apostles, that they may carry the message to the ends of the earth. Likewise today the Lord still calls for service, and to this end He quickens men in order that they may serve Him the world over. This work of God is far more than making a decision, signing a decision card or going through an enquiry room; it is a work of the Holy Spirit who quickens men into life. May more experience it for His glory!