DOES THE GOSPEL REGENERATE?
Written to those who believe in salvation by grace through faith and that not of themselves: It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast; for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath foreordained that we should walk in them.
Without a natural mind or spirit, we could not understand natural things. “What man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). It is impossible to understand the things of God without His Spirit, as it is to understand natural things without a natural mind.
Now if you will tell us how much rain and dew it takes to give life to a dead plant, we will tell you how much gospel it will take to quicken a dead sinner. If you believe in gospel preaching for regeneration, the task will be easy; but remember, the life is not in the preaching of the gospel, but in the child of grace who is fed and strengthened by the gospel. The dear Savior declared what has already been done for us. We experience it at His appointed time.
The blind man whose eyes Jesus opened was asked, “Dost thou believe?’ “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me.” Those who have been called by the dear Savior into His gospel rest are prepared for gospel preaching. They shall be taught of God. Every man, therefore, who has been taught by the Father, cometh unto Him.
Naturally, a person must be in possession of a mind before he is capable of being taught; so one must be in possession of a spiritual mind before he can be taught spiritual things. We must receive the Spirit, which is of God, to enable us to know the things of God. The life or germ does not come into the earth through the rain; so the eternal life does not come to the sinner by the preaching of the gospel. The living seed must be in the earth before the rain can assist in the growth of the plant; so the Spirit of God or eternal life must be in the poor sinner before the gospel preaching can teach him spiritual things.
The gospel message is as essential to a Christian’s growth as rain is to the vegetable growth. Preaching is not to quicken a dead sinner, but to feed and sustain one who has already been quickened.
God puts His law in our minds and writes it in our hearts. We should think on these things even in the midst of worldly cares. Truly my soul waiteth upon God. From Him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my defence. I shall not be greatly moved.
—Taken from the first issue of Sovereign Grace, Jan. 1932, edited by W. J. Berry
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