What Happens When We Are Born Again
by John Piper
When Jesus said to Nicodemus, 'You must be born again', the devout and learned religious leader was unsure what Jesus meant. It would seem nothing has changed. Today 'born again Christians' fill churches that are seen as ineffectual at best, and even characterized by the 'mosaic' generation as 'unchristian'.
The term 'born again' has been devalued both in society and in the church. Those claiming to be 'born again' live lives that are indistinguishable from those who don't; they sin the same, embrace injustice the same, covert the same, do almost everything the same.
Being 'born again' is now defined by what people say they believe. The New Testament however defines Christians very differently.
"When Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again" (John 3:7), he was not sharing interesting and unimportant information. He was leading him to eternal life... If he does that for you (or if he already has), then you are (or you will be) truly, invincibly, finally alive." John Piper
“The new birth, as we will see, is not a work of man. No human makes the new birth happen. No preacher and no writer can make it happen. You can’t make it happen yourself. God makes it happen. It happens to us, not by us. But it always happens through the word of God” (p. 17).
First Edition 2009
Christian Focus Publications Ltd (Scotland, Great Britain)
Expository and practical, this rich survey of New Testament teaching explores the nature of the new birth and the life which flows from it. Full of refreshment and encouragement, it reveals more deeply the glory of Christ and the gospel and motivates a renewed commitment to live out this good news and share it with others.
—David Jackman, engages in a worldwide ministry for Proclamation Trust, London
Theologically thorough and yet heart-warmingly pastoral and practical, this important book should help God's people to value the remarkable status and responsibility of being ‘born again.'
—Richard Cunningham, United Kingdom
An accurate and scriptural explanation of what the new birth really comprises is a most pressing need for the modern church. Finally Alive, by John Piper, fulfills that need admirably. In his book, Piper explains just what it means to be born again, and shows how the scriptural teaching on that subject is designed to give all glory to God, and to cast us in utter dependence upon him.
—Nathan Pitchford, ReformedBooks.Net
Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again by John Piper is a marvelous description of what the Bible says it means to be born again and the life which flows from this new birth. This book is worth reading for the first chapter alone. Piper shows us how far apart the world-view of being born again and actual biblical truth has drifted in recent years. He writes: 'The term born again is very precious and very crucial in the Bible. So our main concern is to know what God intends when the Bible uses this language, so that by his grace we may experience it and help others to do the same...The beauty and glory of Christ and the gospel shine out of every page. Finally Alive is dense yet readable, challenging, encouraging and refreshing.
—Julie Ferguson, Aberdeen
Piper sets the record straight on this oft neglected Christian truth by clearly telling us what the Bible teaches us about the New Birth: what it is, why we need it, how it comes about, what are its effects and how we can help others to be born again. This is not a book of dry doctrine. On the contrary, it is a book that leads to self-examination and God exaltation. I simply loved this book and now rank it as my favourite of Piper's and would highly recommend it to others.
—Barnabus, Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada
This is an excellent book. It combines the virtues of clarity and comprehensiveness, maintaining lucidity without skimping on truth or avoiding difficulty. It is a clarion call to get this essential doctrine right - for our own sakes, and for the sakes of our churches, our friends, and those who follow after us.
—Banner of Truth Magazine
That prolific author John Piper has done it again. We dare not allow the new birth to be lost in the mists of our activity and emphasis. Often we hear sports commentators say that a certain mature sportsman has been 'born again' meaning that he is having another season of success following a dark period. The new birth should never be regarded as merely 'having another go.'John Piper, with consummate skill, sets forth the Biblical doctrine of the new birth in all its magnificence and radical impact on lives that were formerly without form and void.
—Terry Virgo, Founder of New Frontiers
When I was a boy my grandmother asked me, ‘Have you been born again?' Though I didn't understand what she meant at the time, that question led to my conversion to Christ. In this wonderful book, Pastor John Piper rescues the term ‘born again' from the abuse and overuse to which it is subject in our culture today. This is a fresh presentation of the evangelical doctrine of the new birth, a work filled with theological insight and pastoral wisdom.
—Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture
For those curious about the Christian faith to those deeply committed to Christ and his ways, come read and behold the glory of any and every sinner's only hope—the miracle of the new birth that brings forth new life in Christ that will never end.
—Bruce Ware, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
It is an incisive examination of a topic of profound importance. I think it represents Piper at his very best as an author...Piper's tone is gracious and compassionate throughout this book. He shows the heart of a pastor from the first page to the last. But he also shows the skill of a theologian and the passion of a prophet...I cannot recommend this book too highly. I really believe it is Piper's best.
—Tim Challies, Blogger at www.challies.com
Many will be thankful that John Piper is here addressing the key need of our times. Every awakening begins with the renewed discovery of Christ's teaching on the new birth. Here is that amazing teaching in lucid yet comprehensive form; with a relevance to readers worldwide.
—Iain Murray, Banner of Truth
Nothing could be more eternally important than Christian people knowing what the Bible teaches about the new birth and knowing that they have experienced it. One wonders why it's taken so long for a book on the new birth to be written! But now it has and I pray every reader rejoices in God for the rich beauties of Christ Jesus so compellingly shared in its pages.
—Thabiti Anyabwile, First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Regeneration, or new birth, meaning simply the new you through, with, in, and under Christ, is a largely neglected theme today, but this fine set of sermons, criss-crossing the New Testament data with great precision, goes far to fill the gap. Highly recommended.
—J. I. Packer, Regent College; author, Knowing God
Have I been born again? is not a question to be answered hastily. In this book, Piper strips away our complacency, arguing that many people falsely believe they are Christians. By examining the Bible's teaching on the new birth, he shows us how to be certain our faith is genuine. Because no issue could be more critical, I believe this is the most important book Piper has written.
—Adrian Warnock, blogger at adrianwarnock.com and author
This is the most biblically grounded and theologically solid treatment of the new birth that you'll ever read.
—Sam Storms, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; author, The Hope of Glory
I cannot too strongly celebrate the publication of this book. Owing in part to several decades of dispute over justification and how a person is set right with God, we have tended to neglect another component of conversion no less important. Conversion under the terms of the new covenant is more than a matter of position and status in Christ, though never less: it includes miraculous Spirit-given transformation, something immeasurably beyond mere human resolution. It is new birth; it makes us new creatures; it demonstrates that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. All the creedal orthodoxy in the world cannot replace it. The reason why You must be born again is so important is that you must be born again.
—D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Classic Piper—crystal clear exposition and a must read.
—Alistair Begg, Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio