Be Followers of Me

“This habit that modern people often have of thinking and speaking of the new birth as if it could be perceived in the soul and is something to be possessed in themselves is a great snare to many humble and earnest believers; it drives them to despair or turns them into hypocrites, for though they try to live up to “born-again and converted” lives, they know secretly how sinful they are, and that considered in their deepest selves they are not new creatures. That is not the way of Jesus but the way of the Pharisees. Just as it is not in ourselves that we have to seek our righteousness but in Christ, so it is not in ourselves that we have to seek our new birth but in Christ alone. The animal is made to have its life in its own carnal experience, but man is made to find his life in God and not in himself. The Christian who lives out of his own experience of new birth is a carnal Christian, and has not yet learned to know that new birth is from above, and is of the Spirit, and therefore that it cannot be discerned below but only discerned above in Christ.

….Nicodemus was a deeply religious man, but it was precisely to him that Jesus spoke so strongly of the need for new birth and birth from above. There was another Pharisee of whom we know much more than Nicodemus, Saul of Tarsus, who had an outstanding conversion which changed his whole life and who, as born again and baptized in Christ, was known by a new name, Paul. But Paul never spoke of new birth or of conversion as a psychological experience; from beginning to end it was of “the new man in Christ” that he spoke, because it is in Christ that we are given to share in the new life of the new creation. It is in St. Paul that we find the perfect fulfillment of what Jesus Christ taught to Nicodemus, and it was St. Paul who said,’Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ.'”

T.F. Torrance, pg 74-75 “When Christ Comes and Comes Again”

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