REGENERATION FIRST – THEN FAITH, REPENTANCE AND GOOD WORKS

REGENERATION FIRST – THEN FAITH, REPENTANCE AND GOOD WORKS

Michael Jeshurun

We must distinguish between regeneration and conversion; if we are to gain a proper understanding of salvation. Often the two are confused to be the same leading to further confusion in differentiating between that in which the sinner is completely passive (or acted upon) and that in which the sinner in a sense ‘co-operates’ yet by the acting of God!

“In the former the sinner is passive – in the latter he is active, or co-operates with the grace of God. In regeneration a principle of grace is implanted in the soul, and previous to this the sinner is incapable of moral activity; for, in the language of inspiration, he is “dead in trespasses and sins.” In conversion the soul turns to God, which imports activity; but still the sinner only acts as he is acted upon by God, who “worketh in him both to will and to do”. [Westminster]

By Regeneration I mean the initial giving of spiritual life. Also called the new birth, quickening, effectual calling, and irresistible grace are all synonymous theological terms referring to the work of the Holy Spirit in the radical transformation of the soul.” Regeneration is giving of spiritual life to one who has been dead in trespasses and sins.

Immediate – I am not using the term, immediate, here in the sense of being sudden, even though regeneration is a sudden or instantaneous act. The word, immediate, is used here is the sense of “having nothing come between; with no intermediary.” This means that the Holy Spirit is the sole agent in regeneration. Here it will be good to quote A W. Pink from his book, The Holy Spirit, pp. 56,57:

In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from within, and not by applying something from without. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit without the use of any instrument: the Word is used by Him afterwards to call into exercise the life then communicated…The soul, then, is quickened into newness of life by the direct and supernatural operation of the Spirit, without any medium or means whatever…No, men are not “quickened” by the Word, they must be quickened in order to receive and understand the Word.

Pink says on page forty-nine of the same book:

In regeneration one of God’s elect is the subject, and the Spirit of God is the sole agent. The subject of the new birth is wholly passive: he does not act but is acted upon. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart- such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God… This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is instantaneous: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.
Beloved, I want you to bear in mind that amongst sincere Calvinists, there are those who insist in ‘Gospel Regeneration’ and those who contend for ‘Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration’. I belong to the latter. For the sole reason that in my personal salvation experience I was regenerated without the agency of any preacher or preaching involved!

This regeneration is a Resurrection! Lazarus was helpless and passive until Jesus raised him. Jesus called him with irresistible power. Lazarus could not and did not resist the voice of Christ. Likewise, the one who is dead in trespasses and sins is helpless and passive until Christ by the Holy Spirit calls him from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. The one who is dead in sin cannot and will not resist the call of Christ. This call comes with irresistible power.

It is a New Birth! In natural birth, we know that the one who is born does not will to be born–in fact, he has no decision in the matter whatsoever. He doesn’t decide the time, place, or circumstances of his birth. He has no power to determine the family into which he will be born. The analogy holds true with regard to the spiritual birth. God determines the time, place and circumstances. The sinner can no more resist this than can an infant resist and refuse to be born naturally. This fact is shown so clearly in John 1:13 where speaking of believers it is said, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This verse kills the doctrine of those who teach that men are saved when they exercise their “free wills” and accept God’s “offer” of salvation.

It is a Creative act of God! The impartation of saving grace to individuals is also referred to in the Scriptures as a creation. “For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (II Cor. 4:6). Here, of course, Paul is referring back to the Genesis account of the creation of the heaven and the earth. How was light created? God commanded it to shine with irresistible power! “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3). There was no resistance here. God was the active agent. The thing created was passive (indeed non-existent) until God called it into being.

So it is in the spiritual creation, says Paul. How does an individual get to know Jesus Christ with saving knowledge? God commands it as He speaks life into the heart by the Holy Spirit. God is just as sovereign in the creation of spiritual life as He was in the creation of the universe. No one helped Him create the heaven and the earth and no one helps Him give spiritual life to His people. Consider the following Scripture which teach this wonderful truth: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (or “creation”–Grk. KTISIS): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17).

CONVERSION

When you search the Scriptures you will notice that nowhere in all of scripture are men commanded to “be regenerated”, but you are commanded throughout scripture to “repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19). Who will be converted? Only the regenerated can obey and follow the commands of God. God keeps regeneration solely under His complete command and control, but He has commanded you to “be converted”.

What does it mean to be converted? The fundamental biblical meaning is “to turn”—usually to turn to God. What do we turn away from when we to turn to God; what do we set aside when we are converted? Or, in different words, why do we need conversion? What separates us from God in the first place? Jesus commissioned the apostle Paul to go to the gentiles and “open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

The first thing in conversion is to cast away our misconception of what righteousness is and grasp the true meaning of righteousness. And this is revealed only in the Gospel! Consider the following verse carefully –
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith”! [Rom 1:16,17]

Here is where the Gospel comes into the picture or so to say the Gospel becomes necessary. The Gospel enables the regenerate soul to ‘see’ the righteousness of God which is credited to him whereby he is saved!

By the righteousness of God, is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of his nature, his righteousness in fulfilling his promises, and his punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but that righteousness which he wrought out by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of his people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called the righteousness of God, in opposition to the righteousness of men; and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it. Jehovah the Father sent his Son to work it out, and being wrought out, he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his elect; Jehovah the Son is the Author of it by his obedience and death; and Jehovah the Spirit discovers it to sinners, works faith in them to lay hold upon it, and pronounces the sentence of justification by it in their consciences.

Now this is said to be revealed in the Gospel, that is, it is taught in the Gospel; that is the word of righteousness, the ministration of it; it is manifested in and by the Gospel. This righteousness is not known by the light of nature, nor by the law of Moses; it was hid under the shadows of the ceremonial law, and is brought to light only by the Gospel; it is hid from every natural man, even from the most wise and prudent, and from God’s elect themselves before conversion, and is only made known to believers, to whom it is revealed; from faith to faith; that is, as say some, from the faith of God to the faith of men; from the faith of preachers to the faith of hearers; from the faith of the Old to the faith of the New Testament saints; or rather from one degree of faith to another; for faith, as it grows and increases, has clearer sights of this righteousness, as held forth in the Gospel. [John Gill]

To condense all of the above, God Sovereignly saves us in Regeneration and then calls us or illuminates us by the Gospel. “Who hath saved us (regeneration), and called us (by the Gospel) with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace etc”. [2Tim 1:9] As I always say we must beware of putting the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’! A man does not believe the Gospel and get saved but believes the Gospel because he is saved!

This is the reason the Gospel is referred to in the Scriptures as a mystery! Because only to the regenerate it is the ‘power of God unto salvation’. The rest can only behold it, wonder about it and perish! “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a mandeclare it unto you”. [Act 13:41]

Regeneration is a onetime sovereign act of God whereas Conversion is always partial (on this earth) and continual, and can be seen in different parts of our lives at different times. A genuine backslider does not need to be regenerated but he needs to be converted. A backslider no matter how far he has strayed is still God’s son and the Lambs bride! “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you”! [Jer 3:14] (I say this with tears in my eyes, for I was the greatest backslider of them all) Prior to Peter’s backsliding, the Lord told him – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”! [Lk 22:31,32]

And I may finally add that it is in conversion that we unlearn much of the error which we held on to initially after our regeneration. Errors such as ‘Free will’ Universal Atonement, The Pentecostal errors etc.

“The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day!” [Prov 4:18] Hallelujah!

IS IT THE GOSPEL THAT REGENERATES?

IS IT THE GOSPEL  THAT REGENERATES?

Hattie Berry

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

for more such Christian articles from a Sovereign Grace perspective please visit –
http://www.primitivepublications.net/ 

GOD FIRST REGENERATES HIS ELECT AND THEN SENDS ALONG A PREACHER TO BRING TO LIGHT ‘LIFE AND IMMORTALITY’ THROUGH THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL

GOD FIRST REGENERATES HIS ELECT AND THEN SENDS ALONG A PREACHER TO BRING TO LIGHT ‘LIFE AND IMMORTALITY’ THROUGH THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL

Michael Jeshurun

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL.” [2Tim 1:9,10]

If the ‘new-birth’ is by the Sovereign will of the Spirit and a mysterious one at that, then it is not brought about by any effort of mine. My job as a preacher is only to “Loose him, and let him go!” I CANNOT RAISE LAZARUS! [John 11:43,44]

And I say these things not because I read about them in a theology book somewhere, but from my own personal experience in my own salvation and in the salvation of those I am intimately acquainted with. When the good Lord saved me or more specifically regenerated me there was no ‘preacher’ involved to explain to me HOW I could be born-again!

One stormy night (O that glorious night) I just got off my bed and walked over to a nearby Church building (because as a new born babe THAT was where I figured I could talk to God); and I just stood outside those locked Church doors and wept my heart out telling the Lord what a great sinner I had been as a Satanist, a drug addict, and gangster; and that I was truly sorry for all my sins. And I also added, “I know that You can never forgive someone as vile as ME, but I just want you to know that I love you and am right now renouncing my Satanism, drug addiction and wicked way of life”!

A few weeks later some American missionaries were in my neighbourhood randomly going door to door with gospel tracts. And out of the nearly twenty four houses on my street they picked mine. They later told me that they had felt a strong ‘leading’ to knock on MY house. And when I told them my story, one of the men pulled out his old King James Bible and made me read for the first time Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus etc”

Spurgeon in one of his sermons says, “Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.”

He went on to explain to me that Heaven was a place filled with forgiven sinners and Christ actually did not come for those who deem themselves righteous but for sinners like me (Mark 2:17) and that I could never be too bad for Jesus! THIS was news to me! It was something I had never heard – the ‘Gospel’ if you will!

These missionaries even got me to pray the old ‘salvation prayer’ and ask Jesus into my heart, little knowing that He was already there by the sovereign operation of the Spirit!

And isn’t that how it is all through history? The Apostle Paul was born-again long before Ananias met him in the street called Straight [Acts 9:11] and likewise Cornelius, the Ethiopian Eunuch and every child of God saved since then.

The apostle Paul was religious Pharisee who had been a regular attendee at the Jewish temple and had prayed nominal religious prayers all his life; and yet following his regeneration one of the characteristics which our Lord used to describe him to Ananias was – “Behold he prayeth!” [Acts 9:11] Now THAT is the mark of a truly regenerated soul they repent, believe and they pray!

The regenerated soul right away ‘sees’ the heinousness of his sin and also the fountain opened for sin! [Zech 13:1] If I as a preacher have to labour hard to show someone what a great sinner he is, there could be a good chance that I am trying to convince a ‘natural man’ who has no relish for the things of God.

But to return, repentance and faith immediately follow regeneration! Sometimes just as the blind man at Bethsaida who had His eyes opened, but saw “men as trees walking” [Mark 8:24], the regenerated soul may not see all spiritual truths CLEARLY. And it may take a ‘second touch’ from the Lord to accomplish this.

But generally speaking, faith , belief, conversion or ‘seeing the light’ if you will follows on the very heels of Regeneration. Saul was regenerated on the road to Damascus and three days later the Lord sends Ananias to pray over Saul and cause him to receive sight and learn a little more about this Jesus from the disciples at Damascus. Shortly following Cornelius’ regeneration the apostle Peter is sent to him. God had already made an incredible change in his life by giving him a heart that separated him from other Italians. The life-giving voice of the Lord Jesus Christ had called for him to live spiritually, and he lived as certainly as Lazarus came forth from the tomb. He only needed Peter to loose him from some Roman and Jewish burial clothes!

Peter brought the gospel to save Cornelius from despair over his sins [Luke 7:36-50; Rom 7:24-25], from Jewish ignorance of salvation [Rom 10:1-5], from Roman idolatry and superstition [I Thess 1:9-10], from ignorance about life and immortality [II Tim 1:9-10], and from confusion about the resurrection [I Cor 15:2]. He needed to learn the way of God more perfectly [Acts 18:24-28], and how to prove his election [II Pet 1:5-11].

Same with the Ethiopian Eunuch. Shortly following his regeneration God sends Philip to preach the truth to him and lead him in a believer’s baptism.

The point of all this being that generally speaking God always sends His preachers to His children whom He has sovereignly regenerated that they may hear the Gospel and thereby believe. [Rom 10:14] The job of the evangelist or missionary is not to bring about the new-birth but to bring “life and immortality to light” to the already regenerated soul through the Gospel!

Sometimes regeneration and ‘belief’ can be simultaneous and at other times it may be a short while before the regenerated soul is shown the truth and made to believe.

BUT GET THIS – THERE ARE NO ‘REGENERATED UNBELIEVERS’ WALKING AROUND WHO WERE REGENERATED MANY YEARS AGO!

Conversion or ‘belief’ immediately follows Regeneration, but it make take the converted believer some time before he sees all things clearly.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” [Prov 4:18]

Praise the Lord!

THE GOSPEL IS NEVER ‘EXPLAINED’ ONLY PREACHED!

THE GOSPEL IS NEVER ‘EXPLAINED’ ONLY PREACHED!

Michael Jeshurun

The Master said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature!” [Mark 16:15] The Greek word for preach here kēryxate – means to proclaim, herald or preach. But sadly for a long time in my ministry I have tried to ‘explain’ the Gospel with hopes of converting the hearer. And in almost all cases for these many years I have found to my dismay that whenever I have had to ‘explain’ the Gospel . . . I’ve been explaining it to a ‘natural man’ who just cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God! [1Cor 2:14]

Oh yes, I still try to show my lost nominal Christian relatives that they need to be ‘born-again’; and there’s nothing wrong in doing that. In fact our Lord Himself told the most religious Pharisee of His day that he needed to be born again, did He not? But for the most part trying to prove to our nominal Christian friends and relatives that they aren’t saved does not in any way save them. Because at the end of your little discourse, about all they can say is what old Nicodemus himself said, “How can these things be?!” [John 3:9]

And our Lord does not go about explaining HOW the new birth occurs, or HOW one is actually born again, but leaves the wonder of the New-birth still in the realm of mystery . . . “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!” [John 3;8]

“A comparison is here drawn between the wind and the Spirit. The comparison is a double one: first, BOTH ARE SOVEREIGN IN THEIR ACTIONS, and second, BOTH ARE MYSTERIOUS IN THEIR OPERATIONS. The comparison is pointed out in the word ‘so’. The first point of analogy is seen in the words ‘where it listeth’ or ‘pleaseth’; the second is found in the words ‘canst not tell.’

‘The wind bloweth WHERE IT PLEASETH … so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’ The wind is an element which man can neither harness nor hinder. The wind neither consults man’s pleasure nor can it be regulated by his devices. So it is with the Spirit. The wind blows when it pleases, where it pleases, as it pleases. So it is with the Spirit. The wind is regulated by Divine wisdom, yet so far as man is concerned, it is absolutely sovereign in its operations. So it is with the Spirit. Sometimes the wind blows so softly it scarcely rustles a leaf; at other times it blows so loudly that its roar can be heard for miles. So it is in the matter of the new birth; with some the Holy Spirit deals so gently, that His work is imperceptible to human onlookers; with others His action is so powerful, radical, revolutionary, that His operations are patent to many.

Sometimes the wind is purely local in its reach, at other times widespread in its scope. So it is with the Spirit: today He acts on one or two souls, tomorrow He may, as at Pentecost, ‘prick in the heart’ a whole multitude. But whether He works on few or many, He consults not man. He acts as He pleases. The new birth is due to the sovereign will of the Spirit.” – A.W. Pink

And if the ‘new-birth’ is by the Sovereign will of the Spirit and a mysterious one at that, then it is not brought about by any effort of mine. My job as a preacher is only to “Loose him, and let him go!” I cannot raise Lazarus! [John 11:43,44]

Beloved I say these things not because I read about them in a theology book somewhere, but from my own personal experience in my own salvation and in the salvation of those I am intimately acquainted with. When the good Lord saved me or more specifically regenerated me there was no ‘preacher’ involved to explain to me HOW I could be born-again!

One stormy night (O that glorious night) I just got off my bed and walked over to a nearby Church building (because as a new born babe THAT was where I figured I could talk to God); and I just stood outside those locked Church doors and wept my heart out telling the Lord what a great sinner I had been as a Satanist, a drug addict, and gangster; and that I was truly sorry for all my sins. And I also added, “I know that You can never forgive someone as vile as ME, but I just want you to know that I love you and am right now renouncing my Satanism, drug addiction and wicked way of life”!

A few weeks later some American missionaries were in my neighbourhood randomly going door to door with gospel tracts. And out of the nearly twenty four houses on my street they picked mine. They later told me that they had felt a strong ‘leading’ to knock on MY house. And when I told them my story, one of the men pulled out his old King James Bible and made me read for the first time Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus etc”

Spurgeon in one of his sermons says, “Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.”

This missionary went on to explain to me that Heaven was a place filled with forgiven sinners and Christ actually did not come for those who deem themselves righteous but for sinners like me (Mark 2:17) and that I could never be too bad for Jesus! THIS was news to me! It was something I had never heard – the ‘Gospel’ if you will!

These missionaries even got me to pray the old ‘salvation prayer’ and ask Jesus into my heart, little knowing that He was already there by the sovereign operation of the Spirit!

And isn’t that how it is all through history? The Apostle Paul was born-again long before Ananias met him in the street called Straight [Acts 9:11] and likewise Cornelius, the Ethiopian Eunuch and every child of God saved since then.

The apostle Paul was religious Pharisee who had been a regular attendee at the Jewish temple and had prayed nominal religious prayers all his life; and yet following his regeneration one of the characteristics which our Lord used to describe him to Ananias was – “Behold he prayeth!” [Acts 9:11] Now THAT is the mark of a truly regenerated soul they repent, believe and they pray!

The regenerated soul right away ‘sees’ the heinousness of his sin and also the fountain opened for sin! [Zech 13:1] If I as a preacher have to labour hard to show someone what a great sinner he is, there could be a good chance that I am trying to convince a ‘natural man’ who has no relish for the things of  God.

But to return, repentance and faith immediately follow regeneration! Sometimes just as the blind man at Bethsaida who had His eyes opened, but saw “men as trees walking” [Mark 8:24], the regenerated soul may not see all spiritual truths CLEARLY. And it may take a ‘second touch’ from the Lord to accomplish this.

But generally speaking, faith , belief, conversion or ‘seeing the light’ if you will follows on the very heels of Regeneration. Saul was regenerated on the road to Damascus and three days later the Lord sends Ananias to pray over Saul and cause him to receive sight and learn a little more about this Jesus from the disciples at Damascus. Shortly following Cornelius’ regeneration the apostle Peter is sent to him. God had already made an incredible change in his life by giving him a heart that separated him from other Italians. The life-giving voice of the Lord Jesus Christ had called for him to live spiritually, and he lived as certainly as Lazarus came forth from the tomb. He only needed Peter to loose him from some Roman and Jewish burial clothes!

Peter brought the gospel to save Cornelius from despair over his sins [Luke 7:36-50; Rom 7:24-25], from Jewish ignorance of salvation [Rom 10:1-5], from Roman idolatry and superstition [I Thess 1:9-10], from ignorance about life and immortality [II Tim 1:9-10], and from confusion about the resurrection [I Cor 15:2]. He needed to learn the way of God more perfectly [Acts 18:24-28], and how to prove his election [II Pet 1:5-11].

Same with the Ethiopian Eunuch. Shortly following his regeneration God sends Philip to preach the truth to him and lead him in a believer’s baptism.

The point of all this being that generally speaking God always sends His preachers to His children whom He has sovereignly regenerated that they may hear the Gospel and thereby believe. [Rom 10:14] The job of the evangelist or missionary is not to bring about the new-birth but to bring “life and immortality to light” to the already regenerated soul through the Gospel!

Sometimes regeneration and ‘belief’ can be simultaneous and at other times it may be a short while before the regenerated soul is shown the truth and made to believe.

BUT GET THIS – THERE ARE NO ‘REGENERATED UNBELIEVERS’ WALKING AROUND WHO WERE REGENERATED MANY YEARS AGO!

Conversion or ‘belief’ immediately follows Regeneration, but it make take the converted believer some time before he sees all things clearly.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect Day.” [Prov 4:18]

Praise the Lord!

THE PART THE GOSPEL PLAYS IN SALVATION

THE PART THE GOSPEL PLAYS IN SALVATION

Michael Jeshurun

That the work of the Holy Spirit PRECEDES our believing is unequivocally established by 2 Thessalonians 2:13—”God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Note that “sanctification of the Spirit” comes before and makes possible “belief of the truth.” What then is the “sanctification of the Spirit”? We answer, THE NEW BIRTH. In Scripture “sanctification” ALWAYS means “separation,” separation from something and unto something or someone.” [A.W. Pink]

First there is a “NEW CREATION” (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10), and then the “NEW CREATURE” is stirred into exercise. Faith and all other graces are wrought in us by the Spirit through the instrumentality of Word, but not so with the principle of life and grace from which these graces proceed.

In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from WITHIN, and not by applying something from WITHOUT. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY INSTRUMENT: the WORD IS USED BY HIM AFTERWARDS to call into exercise the life then communicated.

Regeneration is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit. It is the action of Spirit upon spirit, of a Divine Person upon a human person, whereby spiritual life is imparted. Nothing, therefore, of the nature of means or instruments can come between the Holy Spirit and the soul that is made alive. God did not employ an instrument or means when He infused physical life into the body of Adam. There were only two factors: the dust of the ground and the creative power of God which vivified that dust. The Divine omnipotence and dead matter were brought into direct contact, with nothing interposing. The dust was not a means or instrument by which God originated life. So in regeneration there are only two factors: the human soul destitute of spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit who quickens it.

The word and truth of God, the most important of all the means of grace, is not a means of regeneration, as distinct from conviction, conversion and sanctification. This is evident when we remember that it is the office of a means or instrument, to excite or stimulate an already existing principle of life. Physical food is a means of physical growth, but it SUPPOSES physical vitality, if the body is dead, bread cannot be a means or instrument. Intellectual truth is a means of intellectual growth, but it supposes intellectual vitality. If the mind be idiotic, secular knowledge cannot be a means or instrument. Spiritual truth is a means of spiritual growth, in case there be spiritual vitality. But if the mind be dead to righteousness, spiritual truth cannot be a means or instrument.

“The unenlightened understanding is unable to apprehend, and the unregenerate will is unable to believe. Vital force is lacking in these two principal factors. What is needed at this point is life and force itself. Consequently, the Author of spiritual life Himself must operate directly, without the use of means or instruments; and OUTRIGHT give spiritual life and power from the dead: that is, ex nihilo. The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated.” (W. T. Shedd, Presbyterian, 1889)

“Fallen man is not regenerated by any instinct, choice, or exertion of his own; he does not by any personal endeavor contribute anything towards being born again; nor does he cooperate in the least degree with the efficient cause: instead, every inclination of his heart, every exercise of his will, is in direct opposition thereto.

The new birth is not brought about by the power and influence of others. No sinner is ever born again as the result of the persuasions and endeavors of preachers or Christian workers. However pious and wise they are, and however earnestly and strenuously they exert themselves to bring others to holiness, they do in no degree produce the effect. “If all the angels and saints in Heaven and all the godly on earth should join their wills and endeavors and unitedly exert all their powers to regenerate one sinner, they could not effect it; yea, they could do nothing toward it. It is an effect INFINITELY beyond the reach of finite wisdom and power!” [S. Hopkins].

“In regeneration one of God’s elect is the subject, and the Spirit of God is the sole agent. The subject of the new birth is wholly passive: he does not act, but is acted upon. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart—such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God. This great change is wrought in spite of all the opposition of the natural heart against God: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is instantaneous: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.”  [A.W. Pink]

Now here’s the kicker – the ‘Gospel’ itself actually saves no one but brings to light the life and immortality which the regenerated soul has been made a partaker of.  A spiritually dead soul CANNOT hear the gospel and be saved! But the Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates the dead soul without any external means! And THEN the gospel is brought to this soul which has been made alive to reveal what has happened to it.

Read these two verses very prayerfully and meditate on them –

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!” [2Tim 1:9,10]

Notice the ‘order’ Beloved, “Who hath saved us, and called us . . .” God first sovereignly saves us by the operation of the Holy Spirit and THEN calls us through the Gospel! In other words God does not call and save but He saves and then calls! Sovereign regeneration FIRST and then conversion through the Gospel!

And notice again WHAT the role of the gospel is in salvation – “it BRINGS TO LIGHT life and immortality” through the gospel! When Scripture says – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” [1Pet 1:23] it is not speaking of the ‘spoken Word’ which the preacher preaches, but the Eternal Word – even the glorious second person of the Godhead!

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Hame is called The Word of God.” [Rev 19:12,13]

THE ROLE OF THE PREACHER IN SALVATION

loose-him-and-let-him-go

THE ROLE OF THE PREACHER IN SALVATION

Michael Jeshurun

There are two things which our Lord required men to do when He reached the tomb of Lazarus – one – to roll the stone away [Jn 11:39] which concealed the tomb in which the dead Lazarus lay, and two to loose the resurrected Lazarus who was bound with grave clothes. [Jn 11:44] These are things which MEN COULD DO and therefore the Lord requires them to do it. And He does what THEY CANNOT DO – He raises the dead!

The Lord who raised the dead could have easily made Lazarus walk right through the stone and with a wave of His hand loosened his grave clothes. But He does not do that! He expects men to do what THEY CAN and generally works through these means. We as preachers and ministers of the Gospel can only preach, pray and hope for the salvation of those whom we desire to see saved as we are; but ONLY JESUS can “open their spiritual eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Jesus Christ!” [Acts 26:18] Salvation is of the Lord! [Jonah 2:9]

That the work of the Holy Spirit PRECEDES our believing is unequivocally established by 2 Thessalonians 2:13—”God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Note that “sanctification of the Spirit” comes before and makes possible “belief of the truth.” What then is the “sanctification of the Spirit”? We answer, THE NEW BIRTH. In Scripture “sanctification” ALWAYS means “separation,” separation from something and unto something or someone.” [A.W. Pink]

First there is a “NEW CREATION” (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10), and then the “NEW CREATURE” is stirred into exercise. Faith and all other graces are wrought in us by the Spirit through the instrumentality of Word, but not so with the principle of life and grace from which these graces proceed.

In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from WITHIN, and not by applying something from WITHOUT. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY INSTRUMENT: the WORD IS USED BY HIM AFTERWARDS to call into exercise the life then communicated.

Regeneration is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit. It is the action of Spirit upon spirit, of a Divine Person upon a human person, whereby spiritual life is imparted. Nothing, therefore, of the nature of means or instruments can come between the Holy Spirit and the soul that is made alive. God did not employ an instrument or means when He infused physical life into the body of Adam. There were only two factors: the dust of the ground and the creative power of God which vivified that dust. The Divine omnipotence and dead matter were brought into direct contact, with nothing interposing. The dust was not a means or instrument by which God originated life. So in regeneration there are only two factors: the human soul destitute of spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit who quickens it.

The word and truth of God, the most important of all the means of grace, is not a means of regeneration, as distinct from conviction, conversion and sanctification. This is evident when we remember that it is the office of a means or instrument, to excite or stimulate an already existing principle of life. Physical food is a means of physical growth, but it SUPPOSES physical vitality, if the body is dead, bread cannot be a means or instrument. Intellectual truth is a means of intellectual growth, but it supposes intellectual vitality. If the mind be idiotic, secular knowledge cannot be a means or instrument. Spiritual truth is a means of spiritual growth, in case there be spiritual vitality. But if the mind be dead to righteousness, spiritual truth cannot be a means or instrument.

“The unenlightened understanding is unable to apprehend, and the unregenerate will is unable to believe. Vital force is lacking in these two principal factors. What is needed at this point is life and force itself. Consequently, the Author of spiritual life Himself must operate directly, without the use of means or instruments; and OUTRIGHT give spiritual life and power from the dead: that is, ex nihilo. The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated.” (W. T. Shedd, Presbyterian, 1889)

“Fallen man is not regenerated by any instinct, choice, or exertion of his own; he does not by any personal endeavor contribute anything towards being born again; nor does he cooperate in the least degree with the efficient cause: instead, every inclination of his heart, every exercise of his will, is in direct opposition thereto.

The new birth is not brought about by the power and influence of others. No sinner is ever born again as the result of the persuasions and endeavors of preachers or Christian workers. However pious and wise they are, and however earnestly and strenuously they exert themselves to bring others to holiness, they do in no degree produce the effect. “If all the angels and saints in Heaven and all the godly on earth should join their wills and endeavors and unitedly exert all their powers to regenerate one sinner, they could not effect it; yea, they could do nothing toward it. It is an effect INFINITELY beyond the reach of finite wisdom and power!” [S. Hopkins].

“In regeneration one of God’s elect is the subject, and the Spirit of God is the sole agent. The subject of the new birth is wholly passive: he does not act, but is acted upon. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart—such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God. This great change is wrought in spite of all the opposition of the natural heart against God: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is instantaneous: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.”  [A.W. Pink]

Now here’s the kicker – the ‘Gospel’ itself actually saves no one but brings to light the life and immortality which the regenerated soul has been made a partaker of.  A spiritually dead soul CANNOT hear the gospel and be saved! But the Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates the dead soul without any external means! And THEN the gospel is brought to this soul which has been made alive to reveal what has happened to it.

Read these two verses very prayerfully and meditate on them –

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!” [2Tim 1:9,10]

Notice the ‘order’ Beloved, “Who hath saved us, and called us . . .” God first sovereignly saves us by the operation of the Holy Spirit and THEN calls us through the Gospel! In other words God does not call and save but He saves and then calls! Sovereign regeneration FIRST and then conversion through the Gospel!

And notice again WHAT the role of the gospel is in salvation – “it BRINGS TO LIGHT life and immortality” through the gospel! When Scripture says – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” [1Pet 1:23] it is not speaking of the ‘spoken Word’ which the preacher preaches, but the Eternal Word – even the glorious second person of the Godhead!

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Hame is called The Word of God.” [Rev 19:12,13]

Quickening or Regeneration And Conversion

the good ground

Quickening or Regeneration And Conversion

A Study by Lucien LeSage

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.

Compare:
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).

True Conversion as a Result of Regeneration

Conversion begins immediately after quickening and that is what takes place in time, and surely in this experience that one writer called “Pilgrim’s Progress”, the word of God becomes involved. It must be involved in the deliverance of sinners.

Back to Brother Milburn Cockrell’s Quote:
Br Cockrell said, “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 rightly says that quickening is not an experience but results in an experience. When a blind man sees he experiences site only when light is involved not when he is healed.
We are not laboring to put a time gap in here but to make the order right.

“Regeneration is not in itself an experience; conversion is a series of Christian experiences…. A person knows nothing of the beginning of his existence. Conversion, however, is always an awareness of what is taking place; therefore, it is experimental. Repentance and faith are experiences known to the person born of God.” (W. E. Best).

In John’s gospel Nicodemus is presented with the truth of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. It is a sovereign act of God Almighty in the person of the Holy Spirit.

What follows regeneration is conversion. Conversion consists of a godly sorrow that worketh repentance toward salvation or trusting Jesus Christ as savior never to be repented of. So what follows the truth of the new birth from above or regeneration is the truth that the son of man who came down from heaven would be lifted up in like manner as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. In that event we see a picture of the sting of death which is sin and the lifting up of the substitute who was being made sin for all that looked to it.

Here we have the sting of conviction; a knowledge that it will lead to death and a looking to the only one who can redeem from that awful condition.

They didn’t look to Moses. They didn’t look to each other for help. They didn’t even try and fight the serpents. They simply looked to the fiery brazen serpent lifted up on a pole which was a picture of our suffering substitute being made sin for us and suffering the divine wrath of God for our sins in our place and yet not consumed by it.

All of this is the result of regeneration and not the cause.

Salvation is an experience. It is something we know experimentally.

But the Bible says that, “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” and also that “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

A few questions:
Is “godly sorrow that worketh repentance” the product of a carnal mind?

Is it pleasing to God?

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10).
Oh, it is well pleasing to God.

Is “godly sorrow that worketh repentance”, the product of the natural man that recieveth not the things of the Spirit of God?

But the complete verse is “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2Cor 7:10).

“Worketh” means to accomplish. So godly sorrow accomplishes repentance and that repentance “to” or “unto” or “towards” salvation.

Here we have conversion in action.

The example of the thief on the cross:
1) He railed on Christ at first (He may have feared Rome but not God). “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth” (Matthew 27:44). In this verse we see he was no different than the other thief. This has perplexed some and so they come up with the idea that there were more than two, because at least two (plural) railed on Christ and mocked him along with those around that scene. We contend that there were only two as the Bible plainly states in Matthew 27:38 and Mark 15:27. One on his left and one on his right.

2) But what happened?

Bam! Something certainly happened to this one thief.
I contend that what happened was immediate or instantaneous.
What follows is a manifestation of the instantaneous event that came within him but from without. It was from God the Holy Spirit.

The good ground is he that understandeth and has a good and honest heart and receives the word as Jesus tells us.
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Instead of joining the other thief he now tells him, “Dost not thou fear God seeing thou art in the same condemnation?” (Luk 23:40).

He was about to die and face God.
He now fears God, not Roman justice.

THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS MADE THE GROUND GOOD TO RECEIVE THE WORDS THAT AT FIRST HE MOCKED.

All those mocking words, “he saved others”, and “if thou be the Son of God”, and “if he be the King of Israel”, and “for he said, I am the Son of God” was suddenly truth to his heart .
The Lord has taken away the stony heart and given him a heart of flesh.

3) Now the godly sorrow is working repentance.
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance TO salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2Cor 7:10).

He now says, “And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds:” vs 41.
Justly before God who is to be feared, not simply the law of the land.

“It has been suggested that some may be sensible to the evil of sin with regard to themselves, but they do not recognize that their sin is against God. Damnation may scare them, but pollution does not. Hell may frighten them, but offending God does not” (W. E. Best).

The thief was convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit.

4) He now sees the righteousness of Christ and now believes all that had been said about him in a mocking way.
He says “but this man hath done nothing amiss”. vs 41.
He now believes that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Israel and the Lord of the kingdom.

5) He has no place to turn but the LORD Jesus Christ.
He is shut up to the mercy of God.
He’s hanging on a tree with no way out.
“He saved others” he had heard. He needed saving.
He now seeks mercy from Christ.
This is a plea for mercy and not a demand or a right that he thought he had.
He says, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” vs 42
It’s a plea because if the Lord does not remember him, he is toast and doomed to eternal damnation.
He knows Jesus as Lord and a King before he knows him as his personnel savior.

6) Then he receives the assurance of salvation from the Lord’s promise.
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” vs 43.
Now he knows Him experimentally as savior.

7) He now has rest in the promise of Christ. He is saved from his sins. He is safe. Death cannot separate him from the love that is in Christ Jesus. He has Jesus’ promise. Somewhere in there between his mocking of Christ and his question to the other thief when he asked “dost not thou fear God” he was quickened and then his soul was converted.

If “godly sorrow” comes before trusting and resting in Jesus Christ and is not the product of a carnal mind then what caused it? From what mind did it come?
It might be argued that it is the preparatory work of the Holy Spirit.
But, where was this work done?
In the heart.

Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Someone will say. See there the Holy Spirit used the preaching of the word to prick their heart which was regeneration.
Well, hold the phone.
The word did prick their hearts but why?

Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
Here is another group that were cut to the heart by the preaching of the word.

The word of God is the sword of the Spirit but it cuts both ways.

Did Peter use a better message than Stephen? No, in fact they were very similar.

With one group the sword of the Spirit pricked their hearts and with the other group it cut their hearts.
Didn’t Stephen say, “ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”

The difference was in the ground of the heart that the word of truth fell on.

The first group had a prickable heart. A heart of flesh.
The second group had a heart of stone.

Regeneration made the difference on how that word was reacted on.

Regeneration took away the stony heart and gave a heart of flesh and then the word had power to prick rather than cut to anger.
With the second group the word had power to cut to anger but was not the power of God unto salvation.

The difference was in the ground which the Holy Spirit made good ahead of time if I can say that without causing a mess.

What about 1 Peter 1:23 and James 1:18

Without explaining these verse in detail, Peter and James are dealing with a bringing forth and not initial quickening. A proper study of these Greek words is necessary to understand this.

Curtis Pugh on these verses:

The first verse for our consideration is as follows: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,” (1 Peter 1:23). Immediately someone says, “Why that verse teaches that regeneration is accomplished by the Word of God.” If that is the meaning of this verse, then we have a contradiction in the Bible because Jesus said that regeneration is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. John 3:6, 7 says: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Jesus used the word “gennao” both times that we have the word “born” in these two verses. He speaks of the work of the Spirit in infusing life into a spiritually dead sinner.

But Peter in his statement used a different word. He uses “anagennao” – a related word, but with an important difference in meaning and in a different tense. Surely every Baptist knows what the prefix “ana” means. It has to do with redoing something such as baptism. Our anabapist forefathers always denied that they re-baptized saying that they only baptized aright for the first time those who had been baptized by other sects. The tense is clear in the English for it says “being.” It does not say “having been,” (in the past), but present tense, “being” – an ongoing birthing. Jesus spoke of regeneration as a birth. Peter spoke of the Christian’s ongoing conversion or sanctification.

Jesus said regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit. Peter said conversion is a work of the Word of God. It is important to remember that it is the spirit of man that is dead prior to regeneration. The spirit of man is that which if alive is capable of knowing God. His soul is very much alive for by a man’s soul he is self conscious and conscious of his natural surroundings. A man’s soul does not need life, his spirit does. A man’s spirit does not need conversion, it needs regeneration. It is a man’s soulish life – his life as a natural man – that needs conversion. And so, rightly understood, there is no conflict between the Lord Jesus and Peter.

Regeneration is a work of the Spirit and conversion is a work of the Word in a regenerated individual. Regeneration is the cause of conversion for by it a dead sinner is made spiritually alive, is no more in the flesh and therefore can profit from the Word. Thus an unregenerate individual will not receive the Word nor can he know it in a spiritually profitable way. Paul taught that in 1 Corinthians 2: 12-14 which says: “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. 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. 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.”

On to the second verse for consideration. This verse is James 1:18 which says:“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” On the surface this verse, while stating that the new birth rests solely upon the will of God does seem to say that He begat us with the Word of God. However two things must be considered. First of all, James uses a completely different word from either Christ or Peter. His word is “apokueo” and according to James Strong means primarily “to bring forth.” The second noteworthy thing is that in the phrase “the word of truth” the word “the” is not there. Young’s Literal Translation puts it “…He did beget us with a word of truth…” What did Christ say about regeneration? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live,” (John 5:25).

It was the voice of the Son of God that raised Lazarus from his grave. It is the voice of Christ that is the effectual call. The written and preached Word of God is merely the general call, both inviting and instructing lost men and women to believe and to come to Christ. Those are two things they cannot do as spiritually dead sinners. Only upon Christ’s effectual call have they life. Only upon His call will they come forth from their tombs. Only upon His effectual word – “a word of God” – can the impotent man stretch forth his withered arm. The general call and the effectual call are both seen in the Lord’s words, “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matthew 24:14). “Many” hear the words of Scripture, but only a comparatively “few are chosen” and do therefore hear “a word of truth” – that is, “hear the voice of the Son of God.”

I would add that the word that James used in 1:18 was actually translated “bring forth” in verse 1:15.
“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

Where does lust come from?
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
How is death brought forth?
Wouldn’t this person have been dead spiritually from the beginning?

A quote from Charles Spurgeon:

THE WOMB OF CONVICTION (Spurgeon – Sermon #564)

“You have profited in nothing by the flesh, but in all things by the Spirit of the living God. Taking you from your first conviction and tracking you to the present moment, it has been God’s creating [quickening, LL] and forming[conversion, LL]. In the womb of conviction he fashioned you, and he hath nurtured you until now. Let this be your comfort: if God could quicken you when you were absolutely dead, and if he has kept you until this moment, can he not revive you again? Can he not make that spark again become a flame? Have you fallen too low for him? Is his arm shortened that he cannot save? Is his ear heavy that he cannot hear? No; he that hath delivered thee aforetime will deliver thee yet again; therefore be thou of good comfort.” [Brackets added by LL]

I would add:
Creating is by the Holy Spirit quickening the dead sinner.
Forming or fashioning is by the Holy Spirit using the word of God in conversion.
This is what Peter is referring to which involves more than quickening.
It’s a delivery!

What about Regeneration and the Responsibility of Man

W. E. Best said, “Since regeneration is presented as the act of the sovereign God, it is never presented as a duty of the sinner.The demands of the gospel upon sinners are limited to the terms of repentance and faith.” “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).

Brother Wilbur Johnson when asked what man’s responsibility was, said, “To believe every word that God has said. To love the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself, but it won’t get you there.” Jesus said that on those two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. And Paul said, “for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”

No law can give life. There is nothing a spiritually dead sinner can do to give himself life.

We are responsible to live as though we are spiritually alive because we were alive once in Adam, but we are not responsible to give ourselves life. Only God can give life. It was God that breathed into the first man the breath of life.

Ye must be born again or from above.

How do we know that we have been Regenerated or are mere professors?

Are we trusting in the Lord Jesus with all of our being?
Is His work on the cross the object of our hope?
Have we believed in the heart as well as the mind? (Romans 10:9-10)
Have we been converted like the thief and seen our own sinfulness and lostness with no place to go but the righteousness of Christ?
Does God’s Spirit witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God? (Romans 8:16). Do we love the brethren? (1John 3:14).

You say, “Brother Lucien, Yes!”
Then God gave all that to you and it started with quickening your dead spirit and converting your soul by His grace.
Give Him the Glory!

HOW MEN ARE QUICKENED INTO NEW LIFE

Hearing the Gospel

HOW MEN ARE QUICKENED INTO NEW LIFE

Lucien LeSage

So how are men quickened?

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.

Another example:

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”.
But,
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.

Compare:

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).

THE ROLE OF THE GOSPEL IN SALVATION

Chosen in Him

THE ROLE OF THE GOSPEL IN SALVATION

Michael Jeshurun

That the work of the Holy Spirit PRECEDES our believing is unequivocally established by 2 Thessalonians 2:13—”God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Note that “sanctification of the Spirit” comes before and makes possible “belief of the truth.” What then is the “sanctification of the Spirit”? We answer, THE NEW BIRTH. In Scripture “sanctification” ALWAYS means “separation,” separation from something and unto something or someone.” [A.W. Pink]

First there is a “NEW CREATION” (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10), and then the “NEW CREATURE” is stirred into exercise. Faith and all other graces are wrought in us by the Spirit through the instrumentality of Word, but not so with the principle of life and grace from which these graces proceed.

In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from WITHIN, and not by applying something from WITHOUT. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY INSTRUMENT: the WORD IS USED BY HIM AFTERWARDS to call into exercise the life then communicated.

Regeneration is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit. It is the action of Spirit upon spirit, of a Divine Person upon a human person, whereby spiritual life is imparted. Nothing, therefore, of the nature of means or instruments can come between the Holy Spirit and the soul that is made alive. God did not employ an instrument or means when He infused physical life into the body of Adam. There were only two factors: the dust of the ground and the creative power of God which vivified that dust. The Divine omnipotence and dead matter were brought into direct contact, with nothing interposing. The dust was not a means or instrument by which God originated life. So in regeneration there are only two factors: the human soul destitute of spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit who quickens it.

The word and truth of God, the most important of all the means of grace, is not a means of regeneration, as distinct from conviction, conversion and sanctification. This is evident when we remember that it is the office of a means or instrument, to excite or stimulate an already existing principle of life. Physical food is a means of physical growth, but it SUPPOSES physical vitality, if the body is dead, bread cannot be a means or instrument. Intellectual truth is a means of intellectual growth, but it supposes intellectual vitality. If the mind be idiotic, secular knowledge cannot be a means or instrument. Spiritual truth is a means of spiritual growth, in case there be spiritual vitality. But if the mind be dead to righteousness, spiritual truth cannot be a means or instrument.

“The unenlightened understanding is unable to apprehend, and the unregenerate will is unable to believe. Vital force is lacking in these two principal factors. What is needed at this point is life and force itself. Consequently, the Author of spiritual life Himself must operate directly, without the use of means or instruments; and OUTRIGHT give spiritual life and power from the dead: that is, ex nihilo. The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated.” (W. T. Shedd, Presbyterian, 1889)

“Fallen man is not regenerated by any instinct, choice, or exertion of his own; he does not by any personal endeavor contribute anything towards being born again; nor does he cooperate in the least degree with the efficient cause: instead, every inclination of his heart, every exercise of his will, is in direct opposition thereto.

The new birth is not brought about by the power and influence of others. No sinner is ever born again as the result of the persuasions and endeavors of preachers or Christian workers. However pious and wise they are, and however earnestly and strenuously they exert themselves to bring others to holiness, they do in no degree produce the effect. “If all the angels and saints in Heaven and all the godly on earth should join their wills and endeavors and unitedly exert all their powers to regenerate one sinner, they could not effect it; yea, they could do nothing toward it. It is an effect INFINITELY beyond the reach of finite wisdom and power!” [S. Hopkins].

“In regeneration one of God’s elect is the subject, and the Spirit of God is the sole agent. The subject of the new birth is wholly passive: he does not act, but is acted upon. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart—such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God. This great change is wrought in spite of all the opposition of the natural heart against God: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is instantaneous: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.”  [A.W. Pink]

Now here’s the kicker – the ‘Gospel’ itself actually saves no one but brings to light the life and immortality which the regenerated soul has been made a partaker of.  A spiritually dead soul CANNOT hear the gospel and be saved! But the Holy Spirit sovereignly regenerates the dead soul without any external means! And THEN the gospel is brought to this soul which has been made alive to reveal what has happened to it.

Read these two verses very prayerfully and meditate on them –

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!” [2Tim 1:9,10]

Notice the ‘order’ Beloved, “Who hath saved us, and called us . . .” God first sovereignly saves us by the operation of the Holy Spirit and THEN calls us through the Gospel! In other words God does not call and save but He saves and then calls! Sovereign regeneration FIRST and then conversion through the Gospel!

And notice again WHAT the role of the gospel is in salvation – “it BRINGS TO LIGHT life and immortality” through the gospel! When Scripture says – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” [1Pet 1:23] it is not speaking of the ‘spoken Word’ which the preacher preaches, but the Eternal Word – even the glorious second person of the Godhead!

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Hame is called The Word of God.” [Rev 19:12,13]

DOES THE GOSPEL REGENERATE?

Woman hand watering young plant in pile of soil

DOES THE GOSPEL REGENERATE?

Hattie Berry

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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