Sunday, June 28, 2009

ALL OF CHRIST AND ALL IN CHRIST


Everything in true Christianity is built upon and centers around Christ crucified and risen again. This is why TRUE Christians cannot and do not differ over how God saves sinners. It is by His free and sovereign grace in the glorious Person of Christ who is God the Son in sinless human flesh (John 1:14), and it is by the work of redemption He accomplished on Calvary to put away our sins by His own precious blood and establish a righteousness whereby God is just to justify ungodly sinners. Christ is the ONE way and the ONLY way of salvation in all its glorious aspects. Not one degree of salvation is left to the sinner’s will, goodness, or power. It is ALL OF CHRIST and ALL IN CHRIST.

By Bill Parker

INIQUITY LAID ON CHRIST


“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on HIM the iniquity of us all.”
(Isaiah 53:6)

We trust Christ our risen Savior who died on the cross to put away all our sins. All our sins, not one omitted, were laid upon Him, and He died under the justice of God’s law for us. He became accountable for ALL our sins (sins of omission and commission), all our evil deeds, thoughts, and motives, all our iniquities were “laid on Him.”

When He died, did He put ALL our iniquity away, or did He leave part of it to be borne by us?

Praise God, HE PUT IT ALL AWAY BY HIS ONE SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS!

How can we know this for certain?

HE IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD!

We trust Christ, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

By His experience on the cross in His actual suffering the full punishment due unto all the iniquity of all His sheep, He brought in the righteousness by which God justifies all for whom He died. It is by Him who died and is raised from the dead that we who are in Him have spiritual life by His Spirit and shall be raised again at the last day.

By Bill Parker

NO LOOPHOLES


Just before the death of actor W. C. Fields, a friend visited Fields’ hospital room and was surprised to find him thumbing through a Bible. Asked what he was doing with a Bible, Fields replied, “I’m looking for loopholes.”

Men often look for loopholes in the law to avoid paying taxes or to side-step the penalty of a law they have broken, but when it comes to salvation and passing the test of God’s final judgment, there are no loopholes. The Bible is clear – God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

All who are found at the Judgment without Christ as their Savior, their Redeemer, and their Righteousness, shall be damned. Our only hope is to be washed in His precious blood and covered in His glorious righteousness. Without HIM, there is no way out from under the judgment of the law against our sin.

By Bill Parker

VENTURE YOUR SOUL UPON CHRIST


Oh, forget every thing that seems worthy in you, or done by you; and let all your triumphing and glorying be in the free grace of God, in Christ, and look upon yourselves only in that and all things coming to you, receive as flowing from that fountain only. And if you have more ability than others in doing, let it not come into your thoughts as an inducement to think better of yourselves, as if you were more accepted of God, or pleasing in His sight.

Are you sinful in respect of corruptions?

Are the temptations of Satan mighty?

Think not that you are worse or less than others; for iniquity shall not part Christ and you, if you be once joined to Him. Be not discouraged, Christ is more ready to receive you than you are to fly to Him. Come to Him, therefore, and cast your conditions upon Him; for the greatest of sinners, usually, are the persons that partake of the greatest mercies. Publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven while the zealots and Pharisees are shut out. If you once close with the Lord in the freeness of His grace, and cast your souls upon this rock of your salvation, the Lord Christ, you are past all danger. Venture your soul therefore upon Him.

By Tobias Crisp

“BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM”


“But by the grace of God, I am what I am”
1 Corinthians 15:10

Brethren, that which distinguishes us from the world can be summed up in one word – GRACE!

Now it is certain that most people who claim to know and love the grace of God do not know the reality of it, but that does not alter the fact that we who truly believe and rest in Christ for all salvation are distinguished only by His free and sovereign grace. And the only condition of our being recipients of the grace of God is not found in or done by us, else it would not be grace. The only condition for us to receive the grace of God was the obedience unto death of the Lord Jesus (Romans 3:24; Romans 5:21).

The terms of the covenant of grace were conditional towards Christ as our Substitute and Savior, but that covenant is unconditional towards us. It is by God’s grace in Christ that our sins are forgiven. It is by God’s grace in Christ that we have a righteous standing before God. It is by God’s grace in Christ that we have spiritual life by the Holy Spirit. It is by God’s grace in Christ that we persevere in the faith. And it is by God’s grace in Christ that we will be glorified together with Him. By the grace of God we are what we are, and by the grace of God we will be what we will be.

By Bill Parker

"POOR IN SPIRIT"


“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew. 5:3

So who then are the “poor in spirit”?

They are those who have been brought, by the life giving power of God the Holy Spirit, to know of their spiritual poverty – to know that they have nothing to pay, nothing to merit or earn them anything before God. They have been convinced of sin by the Holy Spirit, including the sin that would deceive us all – what the scriptures call the “deceivableness of unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10) – of thinking anything other than the imputed righteousness of Christ (the merit of His obedience unto death) charged to our account – of thinking anything else would satisfy a Holy God so as to gain or even contribute to our acceptance by Him.

By Randy Wages

GOD HELPS THE NEEDY


“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.”
(Psalm 40:17)

One who seeks to justify doubts concerning his own salvation may reason like this –
“I don’t doubt the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse me from all my sins, but I do doubt my own interest in it.”

My friends, you have no reason to doubt your interest in the precious blood of Christ as long as you see your NEED of Him and His accomplished work on Calvary. When you stop needing Him, then you can be sure you have no interest in Him or anything He has ever done. When you see yourself as anything more than a sinner in need of mercy and grace, one who deserves eternal damnation based on his best efforts to obey, then you can be sure you have no true faith in Him. When you see yourself as righteous within rather than righteous IN HIM, you can rest assured you have no true love for Him.

Our Lord said, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick” (Luke 5:31).

Are you sick with sin and self-righteousness?

Then you need the only remedy found in the glorious Person and finished work of Christ. We are all interested in persons and things of which we have NEED, and when it comes to our sinfulness and our salvation, we need Christ and His blood and righteousness for our whole salvation. We will never stop needing Him, and God helps the needy.

By Bill Parker

THE GOSPEL


An excerpt from, "The Life of Faith" by William Romaine (1714-1795)

The Gospel, in the power of the Holy Spirit, uncovers unto a sinner the way of salvation contrived in the covenant of grace, and manifests to him what the ever blessed Trinity had therein purposed, and what in the fulness of time was accomplished. That all the perfections of the Godhead might be infinitely and everlastingly glorified, the Father covenanted to gain honour and dignity, to His law and justice, to His faithfulness and holiness, by insisting upon man's appearing at His bar in the perfect righteousness of the law. But man having no such righteousness of his own, all having sinned, and there being none righteous, no, not one; how can he be saved? The Lord Christ, a Person in the Godhead co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, undertook to be his Saviour. He covenanted to stand up as the Head and Surety of His people in their nature and in their stead, to obey for them, that by His everlastingly meritorious stripes they might be healed. Accordingly, in the fulness of time He came into the world, and was made flesh, and God and man being as truly united in one Person lived, and suffered, and died, as the representative of His people. The righteousness of His life was to be their right and title to life, and the righteousness of His sufferings and death was to save them from all the sufferings due to their sins. And thus the law and justice of the Father would be glorified in pardoning them, and His faithfulness and holiness made honourable in saving them. He might be strictly just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.

BUYING WITHOUT MONEY AND WITHOUT PRICE


“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
(Isaiah 55:1)

Many of you may have heard or read the acronym of the word “GRACE” which goes like this:

G (God’s)
R (Riches)
A (At)
C (Christ’s)
E (Expense).

Redemption, even salvation itself, costs us nothing. The price is too high for sinners like us, and, as the prophet said, we have no money. We have no goodness or righteousness by which to pay for our salvation. We have no power or will to desire salvation God’s way in Christ. Therefore, if we are to buy it and take possession of it, it will have to be with someone else’s money (goodness, righteousness, and power). We find this only in the glorious Person and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He paid the price of redemption for all His people, and the price was His own precious blood. In return, all for whom He died, all who come to Him by faith seeking salvation, receive the riches of God’s grace in Him. Our costs is not a cost of redemption but only a cost of discipleship as we repent of and discard all that denies or rivals Christ and the glory of God’s grace in Him. The cost of discipleship is no payment we make by which we earn or deserve God’s favor and blessings. Christ alone earned all favor and blessings from God for us.

By Bill Parker

AT WAR AND YET AT PEACE


It is true that I have sin in me, but it is pardoned. God has forgiven me all trespasses. I stand before Him in my Redeemer, Who undertook for me, and I am perfect in Him. The Father chose me in His Son: He looks upon the face of His beloved, and sees me in Him.

In Christ He is well pleased, so He is with me!

As He loves Christ – He loves me!

This is the glorious privilege which by faith I now enjoy. I deny sight and sense, and I believe the Word of God!

I adhere strictly to the Word of God concerning me, believing myself to be dead indeed unto sin in Christ, and in Him absolutely freed from guilt and condemnation.

The Father is at peace with me, and He loves me in His son, with the same love with which He loves Christ – His Father and my Father.

With this persuasion I go to war with my corruption. They are fighting against everything that is dear and precious to my soul. But having the promised grace of the almighty Savior for my help, I desire to set upon them in His name.

I am at war with sin but at peace in Christ!

By William Romaine

"MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT"


God’s grace is sufficient (more than enough) to save all His people in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s grace is sufficient to redeem all His people in and by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and justify them completely based on His righteousness alone. God’s grace is sufficient to regenerate and convert all His people in and by the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth. God’s grace is sufficient to bring all His people unto glory in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the nature of God’s sufficient grace in Christ. God’s sufficient grace:

(1) Is SOVEREIGN GRACE – “For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)

(2) Is FOR SINNERS – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

(3) REIGNS THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS – “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)

(4) RESULTS IN LIFE TO DEAD SINNERS – “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:10)

(5) BRINGS FORTH FRUIT UNTO GOD – “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." (Romans 7:4)

(7) PRESERVES UNTO GLORY – “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)

By Bill Parker

THE BELIEVER'S SCAPEGOAT


Christ is our spiritual scapegoat on whom all the sins of His people were laid, and He carried them into the land of forgetfulness, never more to return (Leviticus 16:21-22).

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all… He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:6,12).

“He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin (by nature or practice, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sin) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

By John Kershaw

Saturday, June 27, 2009

THE LOST SHEEP RESTORED


Our first view of this peculiar people shall be in the place where God finds them. "My people," He says, "have been lost sheep." They do not become sheep by being found, nor do they cease to be sheep by being lost. They were sheep eternally in the mind of God; and their becoming lost did not alter nor destroy their character of being sheep any more than the wandering of a sheep literally and naturally from the fold turns it into a goat. It may be lame, sick, or diseased; it may stray away miles from the fold; its fleece may be torn with briars or soiled with mud, and its whole appearance so altered that the shepherd can scarcely recognize it; but it is a sheep still, and ever will be a sheep while it continues to exist. And thus the elect being sheep eternally in the mind of God, and as such possessing an eternal union with the Son of God, could not cease to be sheep by falling in Adam, nor do their personal, individual falls, slips, and transgressions destroy their original, unalterable character .

By J. C. Philpot

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

THE TEST OF HOUSEHOLD FAITH


The spirit of liberty, gospel freedom, sweet peace in the conscience, pardon and redemption is all in Christ, my friends. And if we are blessed with these spiritual blessings in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are safe and secure to all eternity. The soul that has a saving interest in Christ, the great Redeemer, is as sure of heaven as if he were there already. It is not as some free-willers wickedly tell their hearers – "There are thousands in hell for whom Christ shed His blood."

O no, this can never be the case; for the Father has declared of the Son, "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." He could never be satisfied if the purchase of His blood, the ransom of His life, were to be lifting up their eyes in hell.

"The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." It is in Christ, my friends. The Lord keep you and me looking by precious faith to the Person of the great Redeemer, to His blood shedding and justifying righteousness, for peace and salvation. It is the test of the household of faith.

By John Kershaw

NO OTHER SAVIOUR


There is no other SAVIOUR but CHRIST to look to, no other MEDIATOR between God and men to make use of, no other PHYSICIAN of value for diseased and sin-sick souls to apply unto, no other FOUNTAIN but His blood for polluted souls to wash in and be cleansed, no other CITY OF REFUGE or stronghold for souls sensible of danger to flee unto and be safe, no other to come to as the BREAD OF LIFE where hungry souls may be fed, no other PLACE OF REST for those that are weary and heavy laden, nor is there any other where there is plenty of all grace and security from every enemy, as in HIM; and therefore, to whom can they recourse, but unto HIM?

By John Gill

TOTAL FULFILLMENT OF THE HEART


Solomon wrote God:
“hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Setting “the world in their heart” means that God has implanted in the heart of each person an awareness of eternity, that this life is not the end. Some spend their lives denying this truth.

Others spend their lives trying to fill this void with material things and false religious hopes and refuges. So many people are consumed with trying to acquire what they see as the necessities of a comfortable life.

Some never come to a point where they say, “I have enough; I am satisfied.” These continue striving after material comforts and riches until death.

Some finally reach a point of contentment but then try to fill the void by shopping for the meaning of life amongst the vast supermarket of modern religion which always leads them to human experience and works for salvation.

Having their fill of the things of this earth, they turn to themselves and false religion for fulfillment. And since demand creates supply, there are thousands of false religions from which to choose.

The truth is this – Man cannot fill the void within his own heart and find everlasting fulfillment until he turns to God through the Lord Jesus Christ who, by His obedience unto death for His people, has provided the only way of righteousness, salvation, and eternal life for sinners. Eternal fulfillment can only be found in Him.

Paul described this – That God “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

By Bill Parker

HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID


“And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
(Matthew 21:9)

The word “Hosanna” means literally, "Save us now," or, "Save, I beseech thee." It is a Syriac word, and was the form of acclamation used among the Jews. It was probably used in the celebration of their great festivals. During those festivals they sang the 115th, 116th, 117th, and 118th psalms. In the chanting or singing of those psalms, the Jewish writers inform us, that the people responded frequently “Hallelujah” (praise to Jehovah) or “Hosanna” (praise to Jehovah who saves) because the words were closely related as they both spoke praise to the Lord of salvation or the Lord who saves. Their use of it on this occasion was a joyful acclamation, and an invocation of a Divine blessing by the Messiah. It was an affirmation that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the true Messiah, the one and only Savior of sinners. To do this He had to be both God and man, and as Godman, He had to accomplish the salvation of His people in the only way that salvation before a holy God can be accomplished – through the sacrifice of Himself unto death wherein He established the righteousness that God imputes to His elect. It was by the shedding of His precious blood that “Hosanna” (His Person and ability to save us) was and is established.

FRUIT UNTO GOD OR FRUIT UNTO DEATH?


Romans 7:4
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Romans 7:5
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

If I am truly seeking to obey God, then I need to know the answer to a very important and vital question – Am I bringing forth “fruit unto God” or “fruit unto death”?

“Fruit unto God” describes the product, result, and effects of God’s free, sovereign grace in salvation by Jesus Christ our Lord. “Fruit unto death” describes the product, result, and effects of man’s efforts in the flesh to make himself righteous and holy before God. All who bring forth “fruit unto God” know that they cannot make themselves righteous and holy by their works and efforts to obey. They know that Christ and Him crucified is their only righteousness and holiness before God. They rest in Him for all salvation and know they are secure because of His grace, love, and power towards and in them. They know they do not produce “fruit unto God,” but Christ by the Holy Spirit produces such fruit in them.

One might ask, “How can I bring forth such fruit unto God?”

The answer is simple – Look to and rest in Christ for all salvation, righteousness, and life.

By Bill Parker

HOW CAN GOD JUSTIFY THE UNGODLY?


God says it is an abomination to justify the wicked, and it is equal to declaring an innocent person guilty (Proverbs 17:15). God also says, “He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:” (Proverbs 24:24)

It is not right for us to declare wicked people righteous. Again and again, God declares that we are sinners and then repeatedly forbids anyone to declare a sinner righteous. This poses an unsolvable problem for us, but not for God. Here is the good news. Scripture tells us God does exactly what we should not and cannot. We cannot do it, but He can. God does justify the ungodly (Romans 4:5).

How does He do this?

He does not and cannot pervert, deny, or ignore justice. God must be just to justify anyone.

How, then, does God justify?

How does God grant the blessedness of justification upon sinners?

The answer is in the inspired words of King David – “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:6-8)

The way God does it is by NOT imputing (charging, accounting) the sins of His elect to them and imputing their sins to Christ, the Substitute and Redeemer of His people. They are described here as those “whose sins are covered.”

This means God keeps no record of their sins against them because their sins have been punished in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ bore their guilt and punishment and established righteousness for them – “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

By Bill Parker

A SHORT STUDY OF PROVERBS 31:6


"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts."
(Proverbs 31:6)

The wise mother of king Lemuel gave her son gracious directions when she spoke these words. It is when we begin to feel the misery into which we have been cast by sin, and thus become ready to perish, and of heavy hearts, that the pure wine of gospel grace is suitable to our lost condition. As the holiness and justice of God are discovered to the conscience, and we are made to see and feel the depths of the Adam fall, we look out of ourselves for a salvation which we could not find in our fallen nature or in our deeply corrupt and unbelieving heart.

When, then, we obtain by living faith a view of the Son of God as a Mediator between God and men, when we see by the eye of faith the blood of the cross, and the full and complete atonement which He, as the Lamb of God, made for sin, then we heartily embrace Him as "of God made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30). We see and feel that there is salvation in Him and in no other (Acts 4:12); and as this salvation is seen to be worthy of God and suitable to us, as it answers all the demands of God's holy law, and glorifies it by rendering it an obedience as far excelling ours as heaven excels earth, and God surpasses man; we embrace it as our justifying righteousness and covering robe, from the eyes of Him who, out of Christ, is a consuming fire (Hebrews. 12:29).

By J.C. Philpot

CHRIST'S GREAT WORK


What is His work?

The work which the Father gave Him to do; the work covenanted from before the world began; the work that shall crown Him with glory and honor for ever and ever; the work of fulfilling, of magnifying, and of honoring the holy law of God; the work of satisfying it and of sheathing the sword of inflexible justice in His own heart; the work of vanquishing the powers of darkness, bruising the old serpent’s head, spoiling principalities and powers, taking away the sting of death, and removing the curse forever from all the election of grace. That is the work of God; that is the work of Christ, and it is freely given to the believer.

By Joseph Irons

GOD’S CALL AND JUSTIFICATION


“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”
(Genesis 7:1)

God’s call to Noah and his family to enter the ark was:

(1) THE CALL OF GRACE – “And the LORD said unto Noah” – The first thing said of Noah in the Bible is “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). Noah was a sinner saved by the grace and mercy of God in Christ. He had already been effectually, powerfully, and sovereignly called to faith in Christ and repentance of dead works. The call to enter the ark is a picture of God’s elect being invincibly called by the Holy Spirit to faith in Christ. Everything in Noah’s life as far as salvation, safety, and blessings from God, was of pure sovereign GRACE (Genesis 6:8-9).

(2) TO THE PLACE OF GRACE – “Come thou and all thy house into the ark” – The ARK is a type of Christ who is every believing sinner’s ARK OF SAFETY from the flood of God’s wrath. As Noah was called into the ark, all of Christ’s sheep are called to HIM as their only salvation, righteousness, and refuge from the justice of God’s law against sin. This call is not simply a call to believe. It is a call to believe IN CHRIST and submit to Him – His blood for the forgiveness of all our sins, and His righteousness imputed for our complete justification before God.

(3) FOR THE PEOPLE OF GRACE – “for thee have I seen righteous before ME in this generation.” God calls only those whom HE sees as righteous. The calling does not make them righteous. Those who are called have been justified before God based on the obedience unto death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are called are not righteous within themselves, but IN CHRIST. It may be asked, “How could God see Noah as righteous in Christ before Christ came in time to bear Noah’s sins and establish righteousness on the cross?” The answer is that God sees all things at one time, and this includes the justification of His people by the work of Christ on the cross even before it happened in time. This is how God could forbear in justice and mercy with the Old Testament believers (Romans 3:25). Christ’s great and necessary work on the cross in time did not change God’s mind towards His people. It revealed the eternal mind of God as both just and Justifier of all His elect people (Isaiah 45:21; Romans 3:26). God’s justification of Noah, and all other Old Testament believers, did not render the cross unnecessary, but proved the cross to be necessary for our justification before God.

By Bill Parker

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD


"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
(Romans 8:14)

To be "led by the Spirit of God" is to be led to Christ for all salvation, righteousness and eternal life. It is to be led in sorrow over sin and repentance, not so as to despair without hope, but to find peace, comfort and rest in Christ whose blood cleanses us from ALL sin and whose righteousness justifies us before God.

It is to be led to obedience to the Word of Christ as motivated and inspired by the Holy Spirit in the grace of God, the love of Christ and gratitude to God. The Holy Spirit leads us to find assurance in Christ crucified and risen again. He testifies to every sinner to whom He has given life and faith in Christ, that "they ARE," (not might be), but "ARE the sons of God."

This assurance of sonship is only for those who have been convinced of their sin and depravity by the Holy Spirit and who have been convinced of the power, grace, love and glory of Christ as Lord and Redeemer. (John 16:8-11)

By Bill Parker

Friday, June 05, 2009

THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE - PART 5


We will continue our study on "The Born Again Experience" looking in John 3:5.

But first, let's review our passage thus far. In John 3:1-4 a religious leader of his day Nicodemus is talking to Jesus, and Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again. So the main message of our complete text (John 3:1-8) is concerning being born again. We studied this in John 3:3.

Now let's look at John 3:5.

John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, (truly, truly) I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

There are 3 interpretations (views) of what it means to be born of water and of the Spirit:

View 1) The Roman Catholic view and some of her sister Protestant churches: that through baptism and the act of the priest one is born again. This view is not Biblical because salvation, including being born again, is all of grace (God's unmerited favor), and is not of works.

View 2) That the water is the Word of God/the gospel and accompanied by the Spirit, one is born again.

View 3) that being born of water refers to our first birth through our Mother, and the Spirit is the Spirit at work in regeneration - being born again.

This view, which we believe is the biblical view, is repeated in the next verse (verse 6).

What our text IS saying by Jesus is: of a truth, unless one is born again, they cannot be in the kingdom of God.

What is the kingdom of God?

Remember our study in verse 3?

Being in the kingdom of God is to be born again: "Righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).

All of us have been born once by our Mother. But Jesus tells us that we must be born twice to know Him - being born again (born from above). We can know that we have been born again when we forsake all false religion (any religion that adds or takes away from the Bible), and that we are looking to Christ for ALL of all salvation!

By Craig Miklosik