Quotes and Notes for the Day
Regeneration – What Is It? I
“These things have I written unto you that believe in the name of the Son of God,that ye may know that you have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1st John 5:13.
Dear reader, have you given attention to that which is contained in the word Regeneration? It is (salvation) more to be desired than all the glory and pleasure that the highest honors of earth can yield. It places a man far above the highest object of earthly ambition. And yet, even very many who are the subjects of the regeneration (the new birth) are at a loss what it is, and filled with doubt as to whether they have ever really experienced it. “ oh, that I knew for certain that I had passed from death unto life. If only I was sure I was born again, I should be happy indeed.” They are harassed with doubts and fears from day to day, and year after year.
Sometimes they are full of hopes that the great change has passed upon them which leads; but when something springs up within them which leads them to think their former hopes were a delusion. Judging from feeling and experience rather than from the plain teaching of the word of God, they are of necessity, plunged into uncertainty and confusion as to the whole matter. It is to be feared that much of the misapprehension which prevails in reference regeneration, arises from the habit of preaching the fruits of regeneration instead of Christ. What then is regeneration? How is it produced? and what are it’s results (fruits)?
1. What Is Regeneration? First of all many look upon regeneration as the change of the old nature, produced, by the influence of the Spirit of God. “This change” they tell us ” is gradual in its operation, and proceeds, from stage to stage, until the old nature is completely brought under.” Now this view of regeneration involves two errors: First of all, it is in error with regard to the real condition of our old nature, in that it denies the hopelessness of the old nature. Secondly it is in error as to the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit-representing the Holy Ghost more as an influence than as a person.
What does the Bible teach as to the true state of our old nature? It speaks of it as one of total and irrecoverable ruin. In Genesis 6:5 God says, ” And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The words, “every” “ only” and ” continually“, set aside every idea and hope of redeeming man’s old nature before God. We read again in Psalms 14:2-3 ” the Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good; no, not one.” and here again the expressions “all” , “none”, “ no, not one,” the idea of a single redeeming quality in man’s condition, as judged in the presence of God.
In the book of Isaiah 1:5-6 we read, “ Why should ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. From the sole to the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it.” again Isaiah 11:6 reads, ” ” the voice said, ‘cry’. And he said, ‘ what shall I cry?’ All flesh is grass, and all the godliness thereof is as the flower of the field.” Isaiah 64:6 reads, ” But we are all as unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, has taken us away.”
In the New Testament we find this verse explaining and expressing the Old nature; ” That which was born of the flesh is flesh.” (John 3:6) In John 2: 24-25 we read, ” Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all, and needed not that any should testify of man; for He knew was was in man.” Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of Go; neither, indeed, can be.” Before we are saved the old nature is described as “…..having no hope, and without God and in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12)
The above scripture verses and many others show forth with no ambiguous term the true condition of the old nature. It is “ lost”, “guilty” “alienated from God“, “without strength“, “only evil continually” and “without hope” . How then we may inquire, can that which is spoken of in such away ever be changed or improved? ” Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?” ” That which is crooked can not be made straight.”
Yes, the more closely we examine the word of God, the more we shall see that it is not the divine method to improve the fallen , ruined old nature, but to bring in something entirely new. God is not seeking to improve the old nature. The Gospel does not propose as its object to better man’s nature, but to give him a new one. It seeks not to put a new piece upon an old garment, but to impart a new garment altogether.
to be conitnued………………………
From The Staff of The Peoples Gospel Hour.