by Michael E. Brooks
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 NKJV).
We have some wonderfully talented people on the Khulna Bible College campus.
One man is a fine diesel mechanic and keeps our generators and other equipment going long after they would have been useless otherwise. Another is a skilled electrician and has developed sophisticated switching systems and backups that make the campus more efficient.
When one of these, or other skilled technicians, are working there is often a crowd around them, watching in fascination. Almost all in that crowd (including me) have no idea whatsoever as to what they are doing or how they are making that machinery work again.
Nevertheless, they watch, and appreciate the results of the technicians’ work.
We don’t have to understand how the electrician fixed it to enjoy the cooling breeze of the fan, or the preservation of food in the refrigerator. The benefits of their work are just as real, even when the process is not comprehended.
Jesus taught that the same thing is true when it comes to redemption.
How can a person be an alien sinner condemned to eternal death one moment, and the next be a child of God, beloved and secure in his grace? Is this possible? How can it happen?
Only the mind of God could devise a plan able to accomplish such a task. Only God could create from a vile sinner a “new man [of] true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
We cannot explain how the change is made. We cannot tell why God loves us so much, or why he paid such a price for us. But we can “hear the sound of the wind” and know that it has come, and be content.
Spiritual renewal is truly an amazing phenomenon. All of our experience is against it. “A leopard cannot change its spots.” “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” These and other such proverbs encapsulate our human wisdom.
“Once a sinner, always a sinner,” is our expectation. But Jesus said otherwise.
“Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).
You may not be able to change the leopard’s spots, therefore you must change the leopard. Is that not the meaning of Jesus’ words?
Our old person of sin is incorrigible and unforgivable. That is why he must die (Romans 6:6-7). Only through regeneration can innocence and Godliness be achieved. God recreates us, in righteousness and holiness, through the knowledge of his son Jesus (Ephesians 4:20-24). This is as true and real as the wind that blows through the trees.
We don’t know where the wind comes from. And we don’t know how God can so transform our hearts and minds as to produce righteousness where formerly there was only sin.
But the latter phenomenon is just as real as the former. The sinner can change, because God can make him all over again, a new person, reborn, by the Spirit.