‘But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ 1 Corinthians 2:14
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 1:15–2:6
The same power which raised Christ Jesus from the dead must be exerted in raising us from the dead; the very same omnipotence, without which angels or worms could not have had a being, must again step forth out of its privy-chamber, and do as great a work as it did at the first creation in making us anew in Christ Jesus our Lord. There have been attempts at all times to get rid of this unpleasant necessity. Constantly the Christian church itself tries to forget it, but as often as ever this old doctrine of regeneration is brought forward pointedly, God is pleased to favour his church with a revival. The doctrine which looks at first as though it would hush every exertion with indolence, and make men sit down with listlessness and despair, is really like the trump of God to awake the dead; and where it is fully and faithfully preached, though it grate upon the carnal ear, though it excite enmity in many against the man who dares to proclaim it, yet it is owned of God. Because it honours God, God will honour it. This was the staple preaching of Whitefield. He was always great upon that which he called the great R—Regeneration. Whenever you heard him, the three Rs came out clearly—Ruin, Regeneration, and Redemption! Man ruined, wholly ruined, hopelessly, helplessly, eternally ruined! Man regenerated by the Spirit of God, and by the Spirit of God alone wholly made a new creature in Christ! Man redeemed by precious blood from all his sins, not by works of righteousness, not by deeds of the law, not by ceremonies, prayers, or resolutions, but by the precious blood of Christ! We must be very pointed, and very plain about regeneration, for this is the very pith and marrow of the matter—‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
For meditation: Man ruined (Titus 3:3), man regenerated (Titus 3:5), man redeemed (Titus 2:14). Have you experienced all three points or just the first?
Sermon no. 407
1 September (1861)