What Is The New Birth | Regeneration | Being Born Again – Spiritual Reading

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What Is The New Birth | Regeneration | Being Born Again – Spiritual Reading.



Many speak of the New Birth or of Regeneration without any definite conception of just what the New Birth is, and so are never sure whether they themselves have been born again or not.


As plain and clear a definition of the New Birth as we can find in the Word of God is given in 2 Pet. 1:4, “Whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 


From these words of Peter it is evident that the New Birth is the impartation to the one who is born again, of a new nature, God’s own nature. By being born again we become actual partakers of the Divine nature. We are all born into this world with a corrupted intellectual and moral nature.


The natural man, or unregenerate man, is intellectually blind, blind to the truth of God, “the things of the Spirit” he cannot see or receive. “They are foolishness unto him, and he cannot know them” (1 Cor. 2:14). His affections are corrupt, he loves the things he ought to hate and hates the things he ought to love.


A definite description of the affections and tastes and desires of the unregenerate man is found in Gal. 5:19, 20, 21. He is also perverse in his will, as Paul puts it in Rom. 8:7, “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” This state of intellectual spiritual blindness and moral corruption is the condition of every unregenerate man.


No matter how cultured or refined or moral he may be outwardly, his inner life is radically wrong. In the New Birth God imparts to the one who is born again His own wise and holy nature, a nature that thinks as God thinks (“He is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him”Col. 3:10); he feels as God feels, loves the things that God loves, hates the things that God hates, wills as God wills (1 John 3:14; 4:7, 8).


It is evident then that regeneration is a deep thorough-going change in the deepest springs of thought, feeling and action. A change so thorough-going that Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:17, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (more exactly, Creation): the old things are passed away; behold they are become new.” 


To use the inspired language of the Apostle John, regeneration is a passing “out of death into life.” John says in 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed out of death into life.” Until we are thus born again we are in a condition of moral and spiritual death. When we are born again we are “quickened” (or made alive), we who “were dead through our trespasses and sins.” (Eph. 2:1).


There is a profound contrast between regeneration and mere conversion. Conversion is an outward thing, a turning around. One is faced the wrong way, faced away from God; he turns around and faces toward God. That is conversion. But regeneration is not a mere outward change, but a thorough-going change in the deepest depths of one’s being, that leads to a genuine conversion or genuine outward change.


Many an apparently thorough conversion is a temporary thing because it did not go deep enough, but regeneration is a permanent thing. When God imparts His nature to a man, that nature abides in the man. When he is born again he cannot be unborn, or as John puts it in 1 John 3:9, “Whosoever is begotten of God doth no sin, because his (God’s) seed abideth in him.” A man may be converted a thousand times, he can be regenerated but once.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.



Tikva


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1. The first of these results is found in:


 1 Cor. 6:19, where we read: “Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have from God?” These words were spoken to believers, to regenerated men, and they plainly tell us that when one is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to take up His permanent dwelling in the man and that the man who is born again thus becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit. It is true that we may not always be conscious of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, nevertheless He dwells in us.


2. The second result of the New Birth is found in:


 Rom. 8:2-4, where we read: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” 


In the 7th chapter of Romans, we have a picture of the man who is awakened by the law of God which he approves after the inward man, which he sees “is holy and just and good,” which he tries to keep in his own strength, but utterly fails to keep, until at last he comes to an end of himself and is filled with despair of ever being able to keep the law of God outside of him, because of the law of sin and death inside him, which law of sin and death says, “the good which you would do you cannot do, and the evil which you hate and would not do, you must keep on doing.”


When a man is thus brought to a consciousness of his own utter helplessness and turns to God and accepts Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus Christ gives to him who dwells in him, sets him free from this law of sin and death so that by the power of the indwelling Spirit he is enabled to obey the law of God and to get the victory over the evil things that he would not do and to do the things which he would do.


Whereas in a man merely awakened by the law of God, “the law of sin and death” gets a perpetual victory, in a regenerate man, the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” gets the perpetual victory. Doubtless many of you here to-day are still struggling to keep the law of God and utterly failing in your attempt to do so.


What you need is to be born again, and thus have the Holy Spirit come to dwell in you, and then to walk by the Spirit, and by the power of this indwelling Spirit to get victory every day and hour over the law of sin and death that wars in your members against the law of God.


3. The third result of the New Birth is found in:


 Rom. 12:2, where we read, “And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” From this it appears that the third result of the New Birth is in outward transformation of our lives by the inward renewing of our minds so that we no longer are fashioned according to this world.


Of course the regenerated man does not at once manifest perfectly that of which he has the germ in himself. He begins the new life just as we begin our natural lives, as a babe, and he must grow. As Peter puts it in 1 Pet. 2:2, we must “As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby.” 


This new life must be fed and developed. It is irrational, and unwarranted by the Word of God, to expect one who has just been born again, and who is consequently a babe in Christ, to be as perfect in character as one who was born years ago and who has grown to maturity. But the moment we are born again [we receive in germ all the moral perfection that is to be ours when this germ is fully developed within us and comes to its perfect manifestation.


4. The fourth result of the New Birth we find in:


1 John 5:1, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God.” The fourth result of being born again is that the regenerated man believes that Jesus is the Christ. Of course this faith that comes from the New Birth is a real faith. The faith that John here speaks of is not a faith that is a mere opinion, but that real faith that Jesus is the anointed of God that leads us to enthrone Jesus as King in our lives.


If you are not making Jesus King in your heart and life you have not been born again. But if you are making Jesus King in your heart and life and absolute ruler of your thoughts and conduct, then you are born again, for “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is Christ is begotten of God.”


5. The fifth result of being born again we find three verses further down in this same chapter:


1 John 5:4: “For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world.” The fifth result of being born of God is that the one thus born again overcomes the world. The world is at variance with God, “The whole world lieth in the Evil One” (1 John 5:19). It is under the dominion of the Evil One, ruled by his ambitions and ideas.


The world is at variance with God in its commercial life, social life, domestic life, and all the phases of intellectual life and educational life, and is constantly [exercising a power over each of us to draw us into disobedience to God (see 1 John 5:3); but the one born of God by the power of the faith that comes through being born again, gets the victory over the world. He gets the victory over the world’s ideas, purposes, plans, ambitions. He gets the victory over the world in his personal life, domestic life, commercial life, political life, intellectual life every day.


6. The sixth result of being born of God is found in:


1 John 3:9, R. V.“Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin; because his (i.e., God’s) seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin (rather, cannot be sinning), because he is begotten of God.” The sixth result, then, of being born of God is that in the one born of God the seed of God remains; and, therefore, the one born of God is not making a practice of sin. 


Some one will ask, just what does this mean? It means exactly what it says, if we look carefully at the exact force of the words used and give due emphasis to the tense of the verbs used. First of all, let us look at the exact force of the word translated “Sin.” What does sin mean? John himself has been careful to define it in the verse itself and in the context in which our verse is found.


The first thing that is evident from 1 John 3:9 is that sin is a something done, not merely a something left undone, and not merely sinful thoughts and desires. What kind of a something done it is defined five verses back in verse 4. “Everyone that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” 


Sin here by John’s own definition (and we have no right to bring the definition of any one else into the verse we are studying) is “lawlessness,” i.e., such acts as reveal conscious disregard for the will of God as revealed in His word. So we see that sin, as used here, means, a conscious intentional violation of the law of God.


The regenerate man will not be doing that which he knows to be contrary to the will of God. He may do that which is contrary to God’s will, but which he does not know to be contrary to God’s will. It is not therefore “lawlessness.” Perhaps he ought to have known that it was contrary to God’s will and when he is led to see that it is, he will confess his guilt to God.


Furthermore, we should note the tense of the verb used in this verse. It is the present tense which denotes progressive or continuous action. A literal translation of the passage would be, “Everyone begotten out of God, sin is not doing, because His (God’s) seed in him is remaining; and he cannot be sinning, because out of God he is begotten.”


It is not taught here that one born of God never sins in a single act, but it is taught that he is not going on sinning, not making a practice of sin. Of what he is making a practice appears in 1 John 2:29, “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that everyone also that doeth righteousness is begotten of him.” 


The result, then, of being born again is that the one begotten again does not go on consciously day after day [doing that which he knows to be contrary to the will of God, but he does make a practice of “doing righteousness,” i.e., doing that which is conformed to the will of God as revealed in His Word. The new nature imparted in regeneration renders the continuous practice of sin impossible and renders the practice of righteousness inevitable.


7. The seventh result of the New Birth is found in:


1 John 3:14, R. V.“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death.” The seventh result of being born again is that we love the brethren. We should note carefully what the thought of “love” is as brought out in the context. It is not love as a mere sentiment.


It is love in that higher and deeper sense of a desire for and delight in the welfare of others, the sort of love that leads us to make sacrifices for those we love, or as we read further down in this same chapter, verses 16-18, “Hereby know we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s goods, and behold his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.” 


This makes it very evident that what the Holy Spirit here means by love is not a mere affection or fondness for others, not a mere delight in their society; it means that deep and genuine interest in [their welfare that leads us to go down into our pockets when they are in need and supply their need; it leads us to sacrifice our own interest for the sake of their interests even to the point of laying down our lives for them. 


The objects of this love are “the brethren,” i.e., all those who are begotten of God, as we read in 1 John 5:1, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” 


Any man who is born again will love every other man who is begotten of God. The other one who is begotten of God may be an American or a German, or an Englishman, or a negro, or a Chinaman, or an Indian. He may be educated or uneducated; but he is a child of God and a brother, and as such if you are born of God, he will be the object of your love. This is a searching test of whether or not one is born of God.


8. The final result of being born of God that we will consider this morning is found in:


2 Cor. 5:17, R. V.“Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): the old things are passed away, behold, they are become new.” 


The ninth result of being born again, including all the other results that we have been considering, is that in the regenerate man, old things are passed away, they are become new. In the place of the old ideas, old affection, old purposes, old choices, are new ideas, new affections, new purposes, new choices.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.



Tikva



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For just a few moments let us look at the necessity of the New Birth. This is set forth in one of our texts and in the verses following, 1 John 3:5, 6: “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” 


We see here that the New Birth is a universal necessity, and we see why it is a necessity. The words translated, “Except a man be born,” etc. more literally translated would be, “If any man be not born out of water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”


And why he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God the following verse says, and that is because all that one gets by natural generation is “Flesh” and the Kingdom of God is spiritual, and, therefore, to enter it one must be born of the Spirit. No matter how refined and intelligent our ancestry, no matter how godly our fathers and mothers may have been, we do not get the Holy Spirit from them.


All we get is “flesh.” It may be refined flesh, moral flesh, upright and very attractive flesh, but it is flesh; and “they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” nor “inherit the kingdom of God.” The flesh is incapable of improvement. No more “can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots” than can a man who is unregenerate attain to a life pleasing to God. (See Jer. 13:23.) He must be born again. 


The necessity is also absolute and imperative, so absolute and imperative that Jesus said to Nicodemus, though he was a man of most exemplary morality, a man of high moral and spiritual education, a teacher of Israel, a leader in the religious life of Israel, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7.) Nothing else will take the place of the New Birth.


Men are trying to substitute education, morality, religion, orthodoxy, baptism, outward reform, “new thought,” “theosophy” or the knowledge of God, and other such things, for the New Birth; but none of these, or all of them together, are sufficient, you must be born again. There is absolutely no exception to this rule. As Jesus says in John 3:3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except any man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.



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The question, therefore, confronts each one of you, Have you been born again? There is no more important question that you could possibly face. Face it in these pages and don’t dodge it. And that brings us to the immediately practical question, How are men born again, or what must any one here to-day, who is not born again, do in order to be born again right here this morning? This question also is plainly answered in the Word of [God; and I can give you the answer in a very few minutes and give it so that any one here can understand it. There are three parts to the answer.


1. The first part of the answer you will find in Titus 3:4, “Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he (i.e., God) saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” These words tell us very plainly that it is God who regenerates and that He does it through the power of His Holy Spirit.


The same thought is found in our text, John 3:5, 6: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” Regeneration is God’s work; wrought by Him by the power of His Holy Spirit working in the mind, feelings and will of the one born again, in your heart and mine.


2. Some one might infer from the fact that regeneration is God’s work, which He works in our hearts by His Holy Spirit, that all we have to do is to wait until God sees fit to work; but we see plainly from other passages in the Word that this is not true.


We are taught the second thing about how regeneration is wrought in James 1:18, “Of His own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.” Here we are taught that the Word of Truth, the Word of God, is the instrument that God uses in regeneration. The same thought is found in 1 Pet. 1:23, “Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth.” 


And Paul gives voice to the same great thought in 1 Cor. 4:15, where he says: “For though ye should have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel.” From these passages it is evident that the New Birth is wrought by God through the instrumentality of His Word.


It is God who works it through the power of His Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit works through the Word, and thus God begets men anew by “The Word of Truth,” or the “Word of God,” i.e., the Word which is preached by “the Gospel.” So then, if you or I wish to be born again we should get in contact with the Word of God by studying the Bible and asking God that the Holy Spirit may make that Word which we are studying a living thing in our own hearts.


We should get in contact especially with that part of God’s Word which is found in the Gospel of John, for John tells us in John 20:31 that “These (i.e., these things in the Gospel of John) are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.” 


If we wish to see others born again we should bring the Word of God to bear upon their minds and hearts either by preaching [the Word, or by teaching it, or in personal work; and we should look to the Holy Spirit to quicken that Word in the hearts of men as we sow it in their hearts, and in this way the New Birth will result.


3. The third and last and decisive truth as to how we are born again is found in Gal. 3:26 and John 1:12, 13. In Gal. 3:26 we read, “For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.” This tells us plainly that we become born again through putting our faith in Christ Jesus. This is even more explicitly stated in John 1:12, 13: “But as many as received him (i.e. the Lord Jesus), to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” 


Here we are told that the decisive thing in our becoming children of God is that we believe in, or receive, Jesus Christ. Any one who receives Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and trusts God to forgive him because Jesus Christ died in his place and receives him as his Lord and King, and surrenders his thoughts to His absolute control as his Lord and his life to His absolute control as his King and confesses Jesus Christ as Lord before the world, such a one immediately becomes a child of God, is immediately born again, is immediately made a partaker of the Divine nature.


The same thought is illustrated by Jesus Himself in John 3:14, 15, where our Lord Jesus is recorded as saying, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him may have eternal life.”


The reference is to the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament when they were bitten by fiery serpents. As the dying Israelite with the poison of the fiery serpent coursing through his veins, was saved by simply looking at the brazen serpent on the pole, a serpent made in the likeness of the one that had bitten him, and had new life coursing through his veins as soon as he looked, so we dying men, with the poison of sin coursing through our veins, are saved by looking at Jesus Christ “Made in the likeness of sinful flesh,” lifted up on the cross, and have new life coursing through our veins the moment we look.


All we have to do with our regeneration is to receive Christ as He is presented to us in the Word, by which we are born again. Therefore, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature (creation). The old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”


In the New Birth the Word of God is the seed; the human heart is the soil; the preacher of the Word is the sower, and drops the seed of the Word of God into the soil of the human heart; God by His Spirit opens the heart to receive the seed (Acts 16:14); the hearer believes; the Spirit quickens the seed into life in the receptive heart; the heart closes around the seed by faith; the new [nature, the Divine Nature springs up out of the Divine Word; the believer is “born again,” “created anew,” “made alive,” “passed out of death into life.”


Have you been born again? I put this question to every man and woman here. I do not ask you whether you are a church member. I do not ask if you have been baptised. I do not ask, have you gone regularly to the communion. I do not ask, have you turned over a new leaf. I do not ask, are you an amiable, cultured, intelligent, moral, socially delightful gentleman or lady. I ask you, have you been born again? If not, you are outside of the Kingdom of God and you are bound for an everlasting hell unless you are born again.


But if you are not already born again you may be born again to-day, you may be born again before you leave this building, you may be born again right now; for the Word of God says, “As many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” And it says again in Rom. 10:9, 10, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [These verses make it plain as day just what you must do right here and now to become a child of God. It is up to you to say whether or not you will do it.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.


Tikva


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“Regeneration and the Holy Spirit. Ye must be born again.” This word of our Lord Jesus has appeared to flame in the way of many, like the drawn sword of the cherub at the gate of Paradise. They have despaired, because this change is beyond their utmost effort. The new birth is from above, and therefore it is not in the creature’s power.


Now, it is far from my mind to deny, or ever to conceal, a truth in order to create a false comfort. I freely admit that the new birth is supernatural, and that it cannot be wrought by the sinner’s own self. It would be a poor help to my reader if I were wicked enough to try to cheer him by persuading him to reject or forget what is unquestionably true.



But is it not remarkable that the very chapter in which our Lord makes this sweeping declaration also contains the most explicit statement as to salvation by faith? Read the third chapter of John’s Gospel and do not dwell alone upon its earlier sentences. It is true that the third verse says:
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
But, then, the fourteenth and fifteenth verses speak:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.



The eighteenth verse repeats the same doctrine in the broadest terms:
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. It is clear to every reader that these two statements must agree, since they came from the same lips, and are recorded on the same inspired page.


Why should we make a difficulty where there can be none? If one statement assures us of the necessity to salvation of a something, which only God can give, and if another assures us that the Lord will save us upon our believing in Jesus, then we may safely conclude that the Lord will give to those who believe all that is declared to be necessary to salvation. The Lord does, in fact, produce the new birth in all who believe in Jesus; and their believing is the surest evidence that they are born again.


We trust in Jesus for what we cannot do ourselves: if it were in our own power, what need of looking to Him? It is ours to believe, it is the Lord’s to create us anew. He will not believe for us, neither are we to do regenerating work for Him. It is enough for us to obey the gracious command; it is for the Lord to work the new birth in us.


He who could go so far as to die on the cross for us, can and will give us all things that are needful for our eternal safety. “But a saving change of heart is the work of the Holy Spirit.” This also is most true, and let it be far from us to question it, or to forget it. But the work of the Holy Spirit is secret and mysterious, and it can only be perceived by its results.


There are mysteries about our natural birth into which it would be an unhallowed curiosity to pry: still more is this the case with the sacred operations of the Spirit of God. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” This much, however, we do know–the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit cannot be a reason for refusing to believe in Jesus to whom that same Spirit beareth witness.



If a man were bidden to sow a field, he could not excuse his neglect by saying that it would be useless to sow unless God caused the seed to grow. He would not be justified in neglecting tillage because the secret energy of God alone can create a harvest. No one is hindered in the ordinary pursuits of life by the fact that unless the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it. It is certain that no man who believes in Jesus will ever find that the Holy Spirit refuses to work in him: in fact, his believing is the proof that the Spirit is already at work in his heart.



God works in providence, but men do not therefore sit still. They could not move without the divine power giving them life and strength, and yet they proceed upon their way without question; the power being bestowed from day to day by Him in whose hand their breath is, and whose are all their ways. So is it in grace. We repent and believe, though we could do neither if the Lord did not enable us.


We forsake sin and trust in Jesus, and then we perceive that the Lord has wrought in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. It is idle to pretend that there is any real difficulty in the matter.
Some truths which it is hard to explain in words are simple enough in actual experience. There is no discrepancy between the truth that the sinner believes, and that his faith is wrought in him by the Holy Spirit.


Only folly can lead men to puzzle themselves about plain matters while their souls are in danger. No man would refuse to enter a lifeboat because he did not know the specific gravity of bodies; neither would a starving man decline to eat till he understood the whole process of mutrition.


If you, my reader, will not believe till you can understand all mysteries, you will never be saved at all; and if you allow self-invented difficulties to keep you from accepting pardon through your Lord and Saviour, you will perish in a condemnation which will be richly deserved. Do not commit spiritual suicide through a passion for discussing metaphysical subtleties.


Excerpt From – All of Grace By Charles Haddon Spurgeon.



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