Jesus Christ came into this world to glorify God and to glorify Himself by redeeming a people unto Himself. But what glory can we conceive that God has, and what glory would accrue to Christ, if there be not a vital and fundamental difference between His people and the world? And what difference can there be between those two companies but in a change of heart, out of which are the issues of life ( Proverbs 4:23): a change of nature or disposition, as the fountain from which all other differences must proceed—sheep and goats differ in nature. The whole mediatorial work of Christ has this one end in view. His priestly office is to reconcile and bring His people unto God; His prophetic, to teach them the way; His kingly, to work in them those qualifications and bestow upon them that comeliness which is necessary to fit them for the holy converse and communion with the thrice holy God. Thus does He “purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works” ( Titus 2:14). “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived” ( 1 Corinthians 6:9).
But multitudes are deceived, and deceived at this very point, and on this most momentous matter. God has warned men that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” ( Jeremiah 17:9), but few will believe that this is true of them. Instead, tens of thousands of professing Christians are filled with a vain and presumptuous confidence that all is well with them. They delude themselves with hopes of mercy while continuing to live in a course of self-will and self-pleasing. They fancy they are fitted for Heaven, while every day that passes finds them the more prepared for Hell. It is written of the Lord Jesus that “He shall save His people from their sins” ( Matthew 1:21), and not in their sins: save them not only from the penalty, but also from the powerand pollution of sin.
To how many in Christendom do these solemn words apply, “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful” ( Psalm 36:2).
The principal device of Satan is to deceive people into imagining that they can successfully combine the world with God, allow the flesh while pretending to the Spirit, and thus “make the best of both worlds.” But Christ has emphatically declared that “no man can serve two masters” ( Matthew 6:24). Many mistake the force of those searching words: the true emphasis is not upon “two,” but upon “serve”—none can serve two masters. And God requires to be “served”—feared, submitted unto, obeyed; His will regulating the life in all its details, see 1 Samuel 12:24,25. “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” ( Matthew 4:10). 3. The need for regeneration lies in man’s unsuitedness to God. When Nicodemus, a respectable and religiousPharisee, yea, a “master in Israel,” came to Christ, He told him plainly that “except a man be born again” he could neither see nor enter the “kingdom of God” ( John 3:3,5 )—either the Gospel-state on earth or the Glory-state in Heaven. None can enter the spiritual realm unless he has a spiritual nature, which alone gives him an appetite for and capacity to enjoy the things pertaining to it; and this, the natural man has not. So far from it, he cannot so much as “discern” them ( 1 Corinthians 2:14). He has no love for them, nor desire after them ( John 3:19). Nor can he desire them, for his will is enslaved by the lusts of the flesh ( Ephesians 2:2,3). Therefore, before a man can enter the spiritual kingdom, his understanding must be supernaturally enlightened, his heartrenewed, and his will emancipated.
There can be no point of contact between God and His Christ with a sinful man until he is regenerated. There can be no lawful union between two parties who have nothing vital in common. A superior and an inferior nature may be united together, but never contrary natures. Can fire and water be united, a beast and a man, a good angel and vile devil? Can Heaven and Hell ever meet on friendly terms? In all friendship there must be a similarity of disposition; before there can be communion there must be some agreement or oneness. Beasts and men agree not in a life of reason, and therefore cannot converse together. God and men agree not in a life of holiness, and therefore can have no communion together (Condensed from S. Charnock).
We are united to the “first Adam” by a likeness of nature; how then can we be united to the “last Adam” without a likeness to Him from a new nature or principle? We were united to the first Adam by a living soul, we must be united to the last Adam by a quickening Spirit. We have nothing to do with the heavenly Adam without bearing an heavenly image ( 1 Corinthians 15:48,49). If we are His members, we must have the same nature which was communicated to Him, the Head, by the Spirit of God, which is holiness ( Luke 1:35). There must be one “spirit” in both: thus it is written, “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit” ( 1 Corinthians 6:17). And again God tells us, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His” ( Romans 8:9).
Nor can anything be vitally united to another without life. A living head and a dead body is inconceivable.
There can be no communion with God without a renewed soul. God is unable on His part, with honor to His law and holiness, to have fellowship with such a creature as fallen man. Man is incapable on his part, because of the aversion rooted in his fallen nature. Then how is it possible for God and man to be brought together without the latter experiencing a thorough change of nature? What communion can there be between Light and darkness, between the living God and a dead heart? “Can two walk together, except they be agreed? ( Amos 3:3). God loathes sin, man loves it; God loves holiness, man loathes it. How then could such contrary affections meet together in an amicable friendship? Sin has alienated from the life of God ( Ephesians 4:18), and therefore from His fellowship; life, then, must be restored to us before we can be instated in communion with Him. Old things must pass away, and all things become new ( Corinthians 5:17).
Gospel-duties cannot be performed without regeneration. The first requirement of Christ from His followers is that they shall deny self. But that is impossible to fallen human nature, for men are “lovers of their own selves” ( 2 Timothy 3:2). Not until the soul is renewed, will self be repudiated. Therefore is the new-covenant promise, “I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh” ( Ezekiel 11:19).
All Gospel duties require a pliableness and tenderness of heart. Pride was the condemnation of the Devil ( 1 Timothy 3:6), and our first parents fell through swelling designs to be like unto God ( Genesis 3:5). Ever since then, man has been too aspiring and too well opinionated of himself to perform duties in an evangelical strain, with that nothingness in himself which the Gospelrequires. The chief design of the Gospel is to beat down all glorying in ourselves, that we should glory only in the Lord ( Corinthians 1:29-31); but this is not possible till grace renews the heart, melts it before God, and moulds it to His requirements.
We invite yo and your family to join us for worshio at Grace Missioanry Baptist Church at the Gowmarw Bridge Sunday School 11 a.m. worship Noon Evening worship 7 p.m. Prayer Meeting and Bible Study Wednesday 7 p.m. Elder Charles Minks.