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him, One thing thou lackest.' He told him to do certain things, closing with, “And come, take up thy cross, and follow me.
And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved; for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:17). Being circumcised, or baptized, and being zealous in observing all the forms, ceremonies, &c., of the church does not make a person a child of God; and cannot save anyone. Paul says, “If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3: 4). Vast multitudes of members of the church think that they are children of God, and are resting their hope of salvation on those things, which Paul, when converted, counted “as dung." A special appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ to Paul caused his conversion, and was the means of his being saved.
All the above cases were men conspicuous in the church, and of high standing in it; yet miracles were necessary to bring them to Christ. The command to all men, in the church and out of it, is, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest need at the present time is repentance in the churches. Then the command to repent will be carried to the lapsed masses. And then we may look for the miracle of men being born again of the Holy Ghost.
CHILDREN OF GOD BORN AGAIN.
Man is born with a corrupt nature, alienated from God: and although God has provided redemption for him, and “beseeches" him to accept that redemption and “be reconciled to God" (II Cor. 5. 20), he will not do so, unless the Holy Spirit changes his heart. The reason is, “The carnal mind is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7). Men are “haters of God” (Rom. 1: 30). Christ told His disciples, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it
“He that hateth Me, hateth my Father also.” “Now have they both seen and hated both Me and my Father" (John 15: 18,
Therefore the Bible tells us, that men to be saved, need not only the Gospel call, “Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ;" but that the call will be in vain, and men will not believe, unless the word is made effectual by the Holy Spirit. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8).
According to the Scriptures, a man to be saved, must be “Born again;" “Created anew;" “ Raised from the dead." Christ told Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5). John speaking of Jesus says, “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become Children of God, even to them that believe on His name which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1: 11). That is, not by natural descent or birth; nor by their own will; not by the will of any priest by baptism, or confirmation; or the will of any man; but of God. “To as many as received Him." To receive Christ, we must know Him as He is revealed in the Scriptures; we must know Him as did Peter when he said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." When we know this, Jesus says to us, as He did to Peter, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 16: 16). No one receives Him, who does not believe in His name, The Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah, 700 years before Christ, announced His Name. “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isa. 7: 14), “which is being interpreted, God with us” (Matt. 1: 23). “And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for it is He that shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21). “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, (Father of Eternity), The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). If we have recieved Him and believe on His Name, He has given us the right to become children of God (John 1: 12).
They who regard Him only as a good man, or as an example, do not receive Him; they deny Him. He must be known and received as He is revealed and offered in the Word of God, or He is not received at all. Peter explains how we become children of God. “Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God" (I Peter 1: 23). Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit” (John 3: 6). John says, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (I John 5: 1; Gal 3: 26). Paul says, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God.” “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8: 14, 16). "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again into a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and nndefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for