Quotes and Notes for the Day
Regeneration – What Is It? II
” That which is born of flesh is flesh…….”
No one who has not experienced regeneration can conceive the intensity of anguish and the bitterness of the disappointment which a soul feels, who vainly expecting some improvement in the flesh, finds, after years of struggling, that, the old nature is still old nature-ever the same. Just in proportion to the anguish and disappointment will be the joy of discovering that God is not looking for any improvement in the old nature which He sees it as dead.
It is very important to be clear and sound as to this. If a person is led to believe that regeneration is a certain change in the old nature, and that this change is gradual, then, as a necessary consequence, he shall be filled with continual anxiety and apprehension, doubt and fear, depression and gloom, when he discovers (as he surely will), that the old nature is still there and will be nothing else but the same old nature to the end. In other words no influence or operation of the Holy Ghost can ever make the flesh spiritual.
The flesh is presented in the Scripture not as a thing to be improved, but as thing which God counts as “dead”. And the believer is called on to “mortify”- subdue and deny all its thoughts and ways. “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24.). The bible does not say, ” they that are Christ’s are improving or trying to improve the flesh. No; but they “ have crucified it.”
How can this be done? By the power of the Holy Ghost, acting not on the old nature, but in the new, and enabling them to keep the old nature where the cross has put it, namely, in the place of death. God expects nothing from the flesh neither should we. He looks upon it as dead; so should we. He has put it out sight, and we should keep it so. The flesh should not be allowed to show itself. True it is in us but God has given us the privilege of treating it as dead. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)
This is an immense relief to the heart that has struggled for years in the hopeless business of trying to improve the old nature – the flesh. It is moreover an immense relief to the conscience which has been seeking a foundation for its peace in the gradual improvement of a totally un-improvable thing. not only that it is also an immense relief to a soul that may for many years, have been earnestly breathing after holiness as consisting in the improvement of that which hates holiness and loves sin.
What then is Regeneration? It is a new birth- the imparting of a new life- the implantation of a new nature- the formation of a new man. The old nature remains in all its distinctness, and the new nature is introduced in all its distinctness. “ that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This new nature has its own habits, its own desires, its own tendencies, its own affections. ” if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away and behold all things have become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17).
When a man becomes a christian (born again by the Spirit of God), it means he has changed kingdom- from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. That means he is now under a new master! It means he has a new way of life, a new walk, a new desire, a new appetite, new apparel (dress), new friends and so forth!!! No wonder that the Bible speaks of ” old things passed away and behold all things have become new.” yes, that which is “born of the Spirit is spirit“; and it partakes of the nature of its source. A child partakes of the nature of its parents, and the believer is made ” a partaker of the divine nature.” (2nd Peter 1:4).
Dear Friend, Regeneration is God’s work , from first to last. God is the operator; man is the happy subject. His co-operation is not sought. God alone was in creation,alone in redemption, and He must be alone in the mysterious and glorious work of regeneration.
to be continued………………………
From The Staff of The Peoples Gospel Hour.