The Explanation of the New Birth -- By: Herman A. Hoyt

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 08:2 (Spring 1967)
Article: The Explanation of the New Birth
Author: Herman A. Hoyt

The Explanation of the New Birth

Herman A. Hoyt

President, Grace Theological Seminary

[The above article is taken from The New Birth by Herman A. Hoyt, Copyright (c) 1961, by Dunham Publishing Company and used by permission of Dunham Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506.]

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:4–5).

In the opening verses of chapter three, it is recorded that Nicodemus met Christ face to face. To the Lord Jesus Christ Nicodemus made a startling admission. This was the mark of greatness in him. For he not only recognized greatness wherever he saw it, but he was also willing to give tribute to whom tribute was due. Nicodemus had opened the way, so Christ confronted him with an amazing declaration concerning the new birth. This was the evidence of deity in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the announcement ran counter to all the thinking of men on this theme.

First impressions are often lasting impressions, and that was true in this case. Frequently the very force of those impressions carry the movement of thought on to the issue. At least, that was true in the case of Nicodemus. The very force of this amazing declaration swept from the mind of Nicodemus his original purpose and plunged him into the very depths of the mystery associated with the new birth. This brought Nicodemus and Christ a step closer together. Now they may be seen mind to mind, two great minds, one finite mind trained in the wisdom of his profession and the other infinite in whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, turning over the issue of life.

Without a doubt Nicodemus had been grappling with problems gathering about this point throughout the long period of his ministry. Confronted time and again with problems in his own society, he had done additional research, and then reviewed again the whole field of professional opinion on these points. Undoubtedly, after years of prolonged study and the weighing of opposing and varying theories, he had finally reached a conclusion. Perhaps he was not satisfied with his conclusion, but it was the best that he knew in the light of information that was available. No doubt the position he held, when examined under the searchlight of reality, had much to condemn it. But still, it was the best that he knew. Even when he came to the Old Testament, he was unable to recognize the truth because he was looking through the lenses of a false system of theology.

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