HOW MEN ARE QUICKENED INTO NEW LIFE
We know it’s not by anything the sinner does.The Master of theology said, “It is the SPIRIT THAT QUICKENETH; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I SPEAK unto you, they are spirit [a spiritual mind is needed to understand them], and they are life.” (John 6:63). Concerning the birth from above Jesus said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” In John’s gospel we are told that this birth which is from above is “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Quickening is a raising from the dead. It is a giving of life to the dead.
“For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (John 5:21). The Bible also tells us that Jesus is the quickening spirit as Paul says, “the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” When Jesus speaks concerning a particular sinner and says live the dead sinner is quickened by the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians “and you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1). Who is the “he” in this verse? It is God according to verse 4 and 5 of that same chapter.
Why do I seem to be splitting hairs?
We are not splitting hairs but just getting it in the right order:
Another question we might ask. Is our preaching the cause of quickening?
Does our preaching of the Gospel have power in itself to cause new life?
I have already stated that no man will be saved apart from hearing and believing the preached word, but is that preaching the cause of quickening?
I would contend that quickening is from the voice of the Living Word but not from the preaching of God’s word by men. And, does the Holy Spirit even use the word that men preach as a means to quicken as some contend? Or is the word used by the Spirit to “bring forth” as the word in James indicates.
An earthly analogy that we can all understand:
A man is totally blind.
He is in a cave that has no light.
If you turn on a light he sees nothing.
If you cure his blindness and no light is turned on he still sees nothing, but he now has the potential to see.
So while light cannot give the potential to see or cure blindness yet it is absolutely necessary for every aspect of sight.
The Gospel is the ONLY true light but it is only light to those that the Holy Spirit gives site to via quickening.
A man is totally deaf in a sound proof room that has no sound.
If you turn on a loud speaker and emit sound waves he hears nothing.
If you cure his ears of deafness and there is absolutely no sound he still hears nothing, but he now has the potential to hear.
So also, sound cannot cure deafness but it is required in every aspect of hearing.
As Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15).
The Gospel is the only true sound that can save but it is only the true sound to those who have ears to hear.
It may seem that I am splitting hairs, but I contend none that the Lord himself did not split.
The Lord Jesus’ Parable of the Sower:
In this parable the Lord tells us exactly what it means so there is no doubt about its meaning.
Luke 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. 8 And other FELL ON GOOD GROUND, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that HATH EARS TO HEAR, let him hear.
Now we must ask. What is meant by the seed that the sower is sowing? And what is meant by the “good ground” which is the only one that produces any fruit?
Well the Lord tells us.
He says that the “seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). But it is the word of God that is preached indiscriminately.
Now what is the “good ground”? I have said in the past that the good ground was plowed ground and that it was plowed up by the Holy Spirit. While that may have a ring of truth to it let’s see what the Lord said the good ground was, for he tells us.
“But that on the good ground are they, which in an HONEST AND GOOD HEART, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” Luke 8:15).
“They, which in an HONEST AND GOOD HEART…”
Please notice that the seed did not make the ground good but fell on ground that was already good or was made good by something other than the seed that fell on it.
Here is the great blunder of Gospel regeneration. If what Jesus says is true and I do not dare doubt it, then the Gospel only regenerates good people.
But I thought Jesus said that “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17).
And didn’t Paul say that “there is none that doeth good”?
Well, that is absolutely correct.
Now notice in Luke’s account Jesus spoke of the heart being honest and good and yet Jeremiah says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Do we have a contradiction here?
No, a thousand times no!
HEAR THESE SCRIPTURES.
Jeremiah 24:7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 32:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, THAT SHE ATTENDED unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
(Quickening or regeneration is the opening of the heart while conversion is the response of an opened heart to the word of God).
BELIEVING IS A MATTER OF THE HEART AND NOT JUST THE MIND:
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of HEART to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest WITH all thine HEART, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine HEART that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For WITH THE HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Back to the parable of the sower:
In Matthew’s account it is the understanding that is different.
READ Mat 13:3-9 See Explanation: Matt 13:18-23
The difference was the good ground hearer is he that “understandeth”.
Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
(The potential to understand must be given first. A spiritual mind is necessary first and that is given in regeneration or quickening.) The scriptures give understanding but they do not open it.
Spiritual understanding involves the heart as well. Jesus said, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
1Cor 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God;that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(Being quickened by the spirit of God is what enabled us to know.)
(Intelligent men without quickening have no clue.)
Notice in verse 14 of 1st Corinthians 2 that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. What are the things of God? His word is it not, which includes the Gospel? In
Mark’s account of the sower the good ground was he that received the word of God and brings forth fruit (Mark 4:20). So something happened to that hearer in that he was not a natural man anymore.
IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER, THE SEED DID NOT MAKE THE GROUND GOOD BUT FELL ON GOOD GROUND.
The ground was made good before the seed fell on it.
Paul said in his flesh dwelt no good thing (Romans 7:18).
Concerning the seed:
While it was not the seed that made the ground good it was the seed that caused the good ground to bring forth fruit. Without the seed there is no fruit. Without the Gospel there is no object for our faith.
In our passage the Lord also said: “He that HATH EARS to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8).
What is needed first, the hearing or the hearing ear?
A man needs a hearing ear before he can hear. This is true in the natural world and is true in the spiritual world as well or else Jesus would have never used it as an example.
One must be present before the other can take place. The potential to hear must be present in order to hear.
Where does the hearing ear come from?
Where does the seeing eye come from?
Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
Both physical and spiritual.
So what part does the seed or the word of God preached or read play in our salvation?
Our salvation does not stop at quickening or regeneration. There is a deliverance that takes place.
Brother Curtis Pugh told me of a statement that Brother Milburn Cockrell had related to him in order to better understand this. I think his statement hits the nail on the head.
Br Cockrell said that, “the Holy Spirit regenerates or quickens the spirit of man. The spirit of man – WHEN MADE ALIVE by regeneration is that which CAN KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD. The Word of God converts the soul of man. The soul of man is that by which man has self consciousness and is also aware of natural surroundings.”
W. E. Best in his book on regeneration said, “To the spiritual mind, creation is the lattice work behind which God hides himself.”
“My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice” (Song of Solomon 2:9).
So where is the POWER of the Gospel?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” – but the verse does not stop there does it?
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
It is only the power of God to them that believeth. The potential to believe must be present before the Gospel can be believed. Then there is light for the seeing eye. Then it has power unto salvation. Then it has power to deliver.
1Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. … 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
The difference is not you or the preaching of the Gospel but the effectual call of God. The difference is the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. The difference is God.
“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” (Psalm 127:1).