What Is It To Be Born Of God?
Charles Finney - In a Lecture Entitled: "Habitual Holiness the Test of Christian Character"
1. To be born of God is to have a new heart.
2. We have seen that the old or wicked heart is the same as the carnal mind, and that the carnal mind or wicked heart consists in the devotion of the will to self gratification. Self gratification is the ultimate end chosen.
3. Now to be born again, or of God, is to make a radical change in the ultimate intention, or choice of an end. It is called being born again because it is a change of the whole moral character and course of life. Christ says, 'except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall, in no case, enter into the kingdom of heaven.' The phraseology is figurative and emphatic, because when a moral being has changed his ultimate intention, he must of necessity live an entirely new life, perfectly the reverse of what it was before.
4. It is called, a being born of God, or from above; because sinners are influenced to make this voluntary change by the word and Spirit of God. I say voluntary change, because every one is perfectly conscious that he was voluntary in it, and because it must of necessity be voluntary, if it has any moral character in it; and I might add, that unless it is voluntary, backsliding from it would be naturally impossible, and obedience necessary, which are as false in fact, as they are absurd in theory.