“...You must be born again.” John 3:7
The five hundred year hallmark celebration since the protestant reformation began is over. But does that mean ‘reformation’ is over? I believe we need to ask, “what really began that historic reformation’ five hundred years ago?
The answer is clear. It began with hearts that were bound up, being intellectually addicted to a false religious system.
The sovereign, overpowering Holy Spirit of God, then set those captivated hearts free by his work of regenerating them.
He did this and still does, through the inspired Word of God. The Holy Spirit incites an interest in the captive sinner about God’s truth, on salvation, forgiveness, guilt, God’s wrath etc. This sweet influence of the mind is the work of the Holy Spirit regenerating sinful hearts to the point of them exercising repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. That’s the key behind any reformation. It must start with regeneration - “you must be born again.’
I love the analogy of “birth” that Jesus used in our text. It was intentional as it reminds us that as we have absolutely nothing to do with our conception and our physical birth - we also have nothing to do in aiding or assisting God in our regeneration or spiritual conception and new birth. Our salvation from eternity to eternity is all of God - it is all of His grace alone plus nothing else.
So, do we still need reformation? Absolutely. Our own hearts need constant reformation or transformation, as they are sanctified by God’s truth. But there will never be any true reformation that brings glory to God, if true regeneration does not take place first.
So let us pray that God’s Spirit would move in the hearts of men and women to bring about regeneration and that those ‘born again’ through faith, would be reformed or transformed by God’s truth.