A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
By Benjamin Montoya
About the Author
John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 50 books, and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free of charge at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noël, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.
Many professing Christians live as the rest of the world—they know little to nothing about the Bible, they live as the rest of the world, and they endorse what the world does. What is wrong? Part of the problem is that to be a Christian means that we are finally alive. That is, we have experienced the new birth. What does that mean? How does it come about? Read more from John Piper to find out.
In This Book, You Will Learn:
- What the new birth is
- Why the new birth is necessary
- How the new birth comes about
- What the results of the new birth are
- How the new birth relates to other key theological topics
- How we can help others experience it
The Larger Contribution of This Book:
A discussion of the new birth is something that seems to be rare in so many places. It is certainly not a topic that comes up regularly. Most have likely heard about it at some point in time, but they might know little. Piper’s book matters because it reminds of the necessity of God’s work of the new birth in the life of believers. God has to do this work in our lives because without God working, we would never even want it because of how evil our sin has made us. This book reminds us of the humbling nature of the new birth and its necessity.
Table of Contents
I. What Is the New Birth?
Chapter 1 The Supernatural Creation of Spiritual Life
Chapter 2 You Are Still You, But New
II. Why Must We Be Born Again?
Chapter 3 We Are Spiritually Dead
Chapter 4 We Are Willing Slaves to Sin and Satan
Chapter 5 Faith, Justification, Adoption, Purification, Glorification
III. How Does the New Birth Come About?
Chapter 6 Ransomed, Raised, and Called
Chapter 7 Through the Washing of Regeneration
Chapter 8 Through Faith in Jesus Christ
Chapter 9 Through Intelligible Good News
IV. What Are the Effects of the New Birth?
Chapter 10 It Overcomes the World
Chapter 11 Regeneration, Faith, Love—In That Order
Chapter 12 Freedom from the Practice of Sinning
Chapter 13 Loving Others with the Love of God
V. How Can We Help Others Be Born Again?
Chapter 14 Tell People the Good News of Jesus Christ
Chapter 15 I Am Sending You to Open Their Eyes
I. What Is the New Birth?
Chapter 1: The Supernatural Creation of Spiritual Life
Jesus’ discussion of the new birth comes in John 3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” After Nicodemus heard it, he was unsettled. He even mocked the very concept of it by asking if he was supposed to somehow go back into his mother’s womb. This concept of the new birth was unsettling for him. And it remains so for so many people for at least three reasons.
First, the new birth confronts us with our hopeless spiritual, moral, and legal condition apart from God’s regenerating grace. Recall that Paul explains that we are spiritually dead in our sins (Eph 2:1). Second, the new birth is unsettling because it forces us to realize that we cannot do it ourselves—the new birth is done to us, not by us. God has to bring it about. Third, the new birth highlights the absolute freedom of God to work in someone’s life. Apart from His working, we remain children who deserve only wrath from God. This can all be very unsettling if we dwell it for any length of time.
The hope of this book is to stabilize and save, not just unsettle. Piper explains:
I feel like I am taking eternal souls in my hands. And yet I know that I have no power in myself to give them life. But God does. And I am very hopeful that he will do what he says in Ephesians 2:4–5: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” God loves to magnify the riches of his life-giving grace where Christ is lifted up in truth. That is my hope: that these chapters will not just unsettle but stabilize and save.
If that is the hope, then we ought to consider the plan for the book. The plan for this book is to answer the following question: what happens in the new birth? There are three things that subsequent chapters will unpack more fully. First, we get a new life, not a new religion. Second, we experience the supernatural in ourselves, not merely an affirmation of the supernatural in Jesus. Third, we receive a newly created human nature, not an improvement of the old one. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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FINALLY ALIVE, by John Piper