Summary: #5 in the Book of James Series. James focuses in on the greatest of all good and perfect gifts that come down from the Father of Lights.
#5 in the Book of James Series
God’s Good and Perfect Gift of Regeneration
By Pastor Jim May
There was a man that played piano in a bar. He was a good piano player and a lot of people came out just to hear him play. But one night, a patron told him he didn’t want to hear him just play anymore. He wanted him to sing a song.
The man said, “I don’t sing.” But the customer was persistent. He told the owner of the barr, “I’m tired of listening to the piano. I want that guy to sing!”
The bartender shouted across the room, “Hey buddy! If you want to get paid, sing a song. The patrons are asking you to sing!” So he did. He sang a song. A piano player who had never sung in public did so for the very first time. And nobody had ever heard the song, “Mona Lisa” sung the way it was sung that night by Nat King Cole!
The ability to sing or play a musical instrument is a great gift, and these gifts are given to us by our Creator. Of course, through practice and hard work these gifts are enhanced to become even better.
But some people were not born with those gifts, and sometimes you might wonder if you have any gifts at all. What talents or abilities did God give to you? How can you use what God gave you? There’s a ministry waiting for every one of us when we put our gifts to work for the Lord.
As we begin tonight’s message in our continuing study of the Book of James, I want you to look back at the verse that we ended with last week.
James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Can we all agree that all of the gifts that the Father in Heaven gives to us are very good gifts indeed? God is a Good God and a Loving Father to those who will allow Him to be. Those who do not know God in a personal way often have the wrong impression of God’s nature and how He relates to mankind.
There is nothing about God’s nature that we need fear if we serve him and truly know him. To those of us who know the Lord, He is a great God, a loving God, a wonderful Lord and Savior. He is our best and closest friend, and we know that we can trust him with our very life because he is the source of all life.
Such a good God can only give good things. James now begins to focus on just one of those good and perfect gifts that our Father in Heaven has given to us.
James 1:18, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
The very first gift that God gave to man is the opportunity to be Born Again. This gift is given freely to whosoever will. God’s gift is not limited in its scope, but reaches out to every man who was ever born into this world of sin.
The gift of regeneration, or the New Birth, is not a gift that we receive in stages, like sanctification. Sanctification is given to every one of us when we fall on our face and repent at the foot of the Cross. We are sanctified, made holy and pure, by the Blood of the Lamb. Our corrupted, dirty robes of sin that clung to us like glue are removed and God clothes us in righteousness. One day soon, we shall see Jesus again. On that day we will put aside, once and for all, these robes of flesh and be clothed in a glorious, spiritual body that will be perfect, but for now we still live in corrupted bodies of flesh.
Sanctification isn’t just accomplished at the Cross though. Every day that we live we must become more sanctified. At the time of the New Birth, we are sanctified spiritually. But in our daily walk with the Lord, we must sanctify the flesh and learn to be more like Jesus. Thus Sanctification is a gift that we get in stages.
But it is not so with Regeneration, or the New Birth, or being Born Again by the Spirit of God. This Born Again experience comes all at once. You aren’t partially born today, then more tomorrow and then the process finishes next week. No, you are born again all at once. You are made a new creation in Christ Jesus by the Spirit of God in an instant of time, and then you never need to be born again, as long as you continue to walk with the Lord.