08 January 2007

Motivation (26): Stott

John R. W. Stott (1921-), Anglican theologian, clergyman, author, international statesman of a unified and theologically mature evangelicalism:

"But can human nature be changed? Is it possible to make a sour person sweet, a proud person humble, or a selfish person unselfish? The Bible declares emphatically that these miracles can take place. It is part of the glory of the gospel. Jesus Christ offers to change not only our standing before God but our very nature. He spoke to Nicodemus of the indispensable necessity of a new birth, and his words are still applicable to us: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God . . . Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born anew".' Paul’s statement is in some ways even more dramatic, for he blurts out, in a sentence which has no verbs: 'If anyone in Christ – new creation!' Here then is the possibility of which the New Testament speaks – a new heart, a new nature, a new birth, a new creation. This tremendous inward change is the work of the Holy Spirit. The new birth is a birth 'from above'. . ."

"This is not arid theological theorizing; it is the daily experience of every Christian. We continue to be conscious of sinful desires which are tugging us down; but we are now also aware of a counteracting force pulling us upwards to holiness."

--Basic Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 1958), 99, 101.

"Regeneration or new birth . . . is the inward work of the Holy Spirit, who then remains as a gracious indwelling presence, transforming the believer into the image of Christ, which is the process of sanctification."

--The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 1986), 188.

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