Genesis Sermons from Gospel Chapel Ministries HOME SERMONS SERMON NOTES
#374 GEN 21:1-14 SYMBOLS OF ELECTION AND REGENERATION
It was pointed out in a previous chapter the significance of Scriptures teaching that Abraham was the father of all those who believe. I want you to notice as we go through this study, and even throughout the entire Old Testament, the teachings are basically symbolic. The teaching that we are the sons of Abraham or that he was the father of all those who believe is symbolic. It is the symbol of the life of God in the heart of a soul. This is because Abrahams life of trial, his trials of faith, his slips and falls, and Gods intervention is very symbolic of the life of all those that believe. It is a symbol or a type that teaches us the pattern of Gods order.
The Old Testament offers many examples of symbolic teachings, such as the burnt offerings and the covenant of circumcision. The life of Abraham is a symbol of the election of God. It shows us how Abraham was chosen by Gods free, sovereign choice. It was not Abram who chose to serve God; he was serving idols like his forefathers were. God chose Abraham.
In the teachings of Abraham, we see the teaching of the election of God so manifestly set forth. We see it in the lives of people of God. Abraham is the symbol to the church of Gods electing love. Every time Abraham strayed away from the Lord, it was the Lord who was first to act and bring him back. The Lord chose Abraham in the first place. It was Gods free sovereign grace that brought about the salvation of Abraham; this is symbolic of the salvation of Gods entire church.
Again, it was not Abraham that chose to serve God. Abraham was serving idols like all his fathers were. There was nothing in Abraham that was the source of Gods choosing.
In JOS 24:2-3, we read the account Joshua gives of Abrahams origin, "And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. [It is speaking here of the history of Abrahams place of origin and that he and his fathers served other gods. See the clear election of God in the next verse.] And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac."
There is no place here for Abraham to say, "I did, I made a decision, or I chose." Salvation is of the Lord. Therefore, we see that Abraham is a symbol of Gods election in the salvation of His entire church. You and I are all the sons of Abraham in a spiritual sense. If we are spiritually drawn out of the power of darkness and brought into the gospel light, it is the election of God. We see the symbol of this election in the account of Abraham.
The account of Abraham in Scripture teaches God's free sovereign choice in choosing Abraham and calling him to serve the only true God. First, we must understand the nature of salvation. We are told Abraham and his fathers served other gods. Wherein does our salvation lay? Where is the evidence that we have been brought out of the servitude of Satan and sin and serving self into the service of God? We are saved from serving the prince of the power of the air and brought into the service of God. We are saved from our sins. We are not saved in our sins.
The account of Abraham teaches us that in Gods free, sovereign choice, He chose Abraham and called him to serve the only true and living God. Turn to ISA 51:1-2 and notice that it was Gods election that brought Abraham out the pit. "Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness [you who are serving God], ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. [In other words, Look at the slime pit from which I took you.] Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him."
Do you see Gods sovereignty and His electing love? God, alone, called Abraham; it had nothing to do with what Abraham did. He was in the slime pit. We are the children of Abraham, and who was Abraham? He was a server of other gods. God, in His free, electing love, chose Abraham, and he now is the symbol of the election of God. What we learn from Abraham is Gods electing love.
Now we go to Isaacs story for the lesson there. I want you to see the progressive nature of the teaching from the Word of God. In the birth of Isaac, we see the type or symbol of regeneration. At the time God chose Abraham, his people were still serving other gods. It is so beautiful to see God's order in these revelations. Abraham is first the symbol of election, then Isaac is the symbol of the work of regeneration.
In ROM 8:29, we learn that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, and in verse 30, we see the order in which God moves. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Election comes first. Then comes the work of regeneration, followed by sanctification, justification, and glorification in that order. God has a specific order, which He follows. It is so beautiful to see in the teaching about Abraham the symbol of His electing love. Now in Isaac we will see how symbolic Isaac is for the work of regeneration.
The first point we want to notice is that before Isaac was born, every possibility from the side of the flesh had to die. Is this hard to understand? Look at a family you know. Parents can bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as much as they possibly can. They can do everything in their power to bring up a child in the fear of the Lord, but those children are spiritually dead. Those parents have no more power to work regeneration in their children and turn them into God-fearing children than if they had never heard the name of God. From the parents side, they must come before the Lord to ask God to work the work of regeneration in their children. Parents are absolutely helpless to work salvation in their children.
If we become too forceful in pleading with our children to love the Lord, all we do is drive them away. We need to come before the Lord and ask the Lord to do the work of grace in their souls. If we try to force grace on them, all we do is harden them.
What is the lesson we learn from the birth of Isaac? From the side of flesh, it first had to become impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have a child. That is what happens in the work of regeneration; from the human standpoint, it is impossible to accomplish. ROM 4:19 says, "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb." Sarah had gone beyond the time of life; her womb was dead as far as any possibility of childbearing. This was a prerequisite for the work of regeneration. We must understand that we are spiritually dead. Dead means we cannot bring about a resurrection from the flesh. Abraham and Sarah were brought to the point where they were totally dependent upon the quickening of the Lord to be able to bring forth that son.
Isaac's birth was symbolic of the work of regeneration because for Isaac to be born, God must first quicken that which was dead. Before there can be a new birth in any soul, there must first be the quickening of God. That is what is symbolized in the birth of Isaac. Before we can ever see the new life or conception of the Holy Spirit in the soul, there must first be the quickening of God.
In EPH 2:1-2 we read, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." When we understand this principle, we will have a completely different approach to raising our children; we will even have a different approach to people. We will not try to work on their emotions or thinking to the point we tell them to come and accept Christ. Rather, we must teach them the deadness of their hearts by nature, and that we need the grace of God. We teach them to pray and ask God for a new heart. We must teach them the necessity of the regenerating grace of God so they will have a new life.
Wherein lays our spiritual death? It lays in our attitudes, our walk of life, and our whole approach to values. Where are our values? By nature, our values are in things of the flesh, in a walk of sins and trespasses. Go back to verse 2; "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Spiritual death lies in a persons walk of life. The word "spirit" means the mental disposition. In other words, it is the mental attitude of our heart, which cannot be altered outside of the grace of God.
What does the word "grace" mean? It is the divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It is a divine influence of God that changes a persons sense of values. This is a very humbling truth, one that the natural mind will not receive. By nature, we are not only dead in trespasses and sins, but by nature, we are as we read in EPH 4:18: "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." This is the state of man by nature. This is the condition in which our children and we were born. The problem lies in ignorance and a blind heart.
We do not understand the sinfulness of sin. We do not understand how wroth God is with sin, and we do not understand the price that was paid for the penalty of sin. By nature, our values are wrong; they are set on the things of this world. By nature, we have no desire for the knowledge of God. Our understanding is darkened; we are alienated from the light of God through the ignorance that is in the blindness of our heart.
It may well be said of all those whom God has quickened unto that newness of life as we read in LUK 15:24, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." What we must understand, and this is where Isaac is a symbol of the work of regeneration, is that he was born by a miracle. It took a miracle of God to quicken the dead womb and the man who was 100 years old and bring them back into a child-bearing state. That is the way it is spiritually: "my son was dead." In other words, he was spiritually dead; he was lost.
Every human being by nature is spiritually dead and lost. As grace is worked in the heart, as the Holy Spirit comes with His divine influence, we begin to understand. Our understandings have to be enlightened. We just read in EPH 4:18, "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them " So our understanding must be enlightened; we must not remain alienated from God. We must be drawn unto God. Gods love leads us to Him.
Education or any faculty of human reasoning cannot effect the quickening of a dead sinner unto a newness of life in Christ. Parents can train up their children from infancy. They can send them to the universities and have them get a Doctorate in Divinity, but it does not bring about a quickening to newness of life. It is only as Jesus said in JOH 3:5-6, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Except that we are born of the Spirit of God, we cannot enter into His service. The work of regeneration gives us a new life and takes us from the service of Satan, self, and sin into the kingdom and service of God. Unless we have a right mental disposition in the form of a new mind and a new set of values and priorities from God, we cannot serve the Lord. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." That is why Gods quickening is so essential.
Human reasoning cannot accept the fact that natural man is spiritually dead. Talk to a person who has no work of regeneration in their heart, and they cannot accept the fact that they are dead because they have feelings, breath, and their senses. Many times they will assert they have more understanding than Christians. They have training, they have things figured out. What do you mean--dead? They dont see the need of being "born of water and of the spirit."
1CO 2:14 says, "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." The biggest obstacle to being helped is the lack of recognition and acceptance of the fact that he needs help. Consider an alcoholic. When he will admit he is an alcoholic, he can be helped. There are so many people we would like to help, but until they see that they need help, you cannot do a thing. It is not possible to talk to a person about spiritual life if he doesnt see his dead condition. He doesnt see that he needs help. The things of God are foolishness to him.
How do you discern the distinction between one who is spiritually alive and one who is spiritually dead? You will find it in where the persons values are, and whom they serve. Many people who think they are serving God are spiritually dead. A child, who grew up in a good home, with a good background, often believes in his own mind that he is serving God with his heart, his soul, and his mind. You cannot explain to him that he is spiritually dead.
The natural man believes he is very much alive. In 1TI 5:6 we read, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." This person is pleased with his or her state; he will tell others he is alive while he is living in pleasure. Being dead while living is the mystery, the paradox to the natural mind.
Our Saviour illustrated the condition of the natural man in His parable of the man who fell among thieves. It is beautiful to see the meaning of this parable that Jesus was teaching. It is the familiar story of the Good Samaritan.
LUK 10:30 says, "And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead." To understand what it means to be spiritually dead, we must understand what the Lord Jesus Christ said. They are half dead.
The sinner by nature is "half dead." He's alive to the flesh, to the world, to the pleasure of sin, but he is dead toward God. He is half dead. A sinner is alive physically, mentally and morally. He has all of his senses; he breathes, eats, sleeps, grows. He is alive physically, but spiritually he is dead. This is why Jesus described the new birth as being, "...passed from death unto life," in JOH 5:24. They were dead while they lived.
The deadness of Abraham, and of Sarah's womb are symbolic of the spiritual deadness of natural man before regeneration because God's quickening was needed before Isaac could be born. There is no spiritual birth until God quickens the soul.
The miracle of the Spirit's work of regeneration is beyond all human reasoning. Abraham and Sarah both laughed when God Almighty told them Sarah would have a son, but God asked in GEN 18:14, "Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." So often we overlook the "time appointed." When the Lord comes with His work of regeneration in the soul, it is at His appointed time. We can be living under the sound ministry of the gospel and do everything by the numbers and still remain spiritually dead. At Gods appointed time, He brings life.
One can pray for the salvation of their child and believe they have a promise from the Lord that child will be converted. We would like to see it happen today, but the result is often seeing the child drift farther and farther away. Perhaps it even comes to the point where you despair because they have absolutely rejected the Lord, and all hope is gone.
Indeed, nothing is too hard for the Creator of heaven and earth who created all things by the power of His Word. How does the Lord affect the work of regeneration in the soul? He does it by the power of His word. Even as He spoke the universe and the world into being by the power of His Word, so He does in the new creation.
JER 32:17 says, "Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee." The prophet Jeremiah understood that it was not too difficult for the Lord to work a wonder of grace because He was the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. Nothing is too hard for Him. He can turn the biggest rebel into the meekest lamb with the power of His Word.
As it was with the birth of Isaac, so it is with the work of regeneration. Before any of us could be born again, God must work a miracle. Regeneration is the supernatural operation of the Spirit upon the soul in the form of a new creation. When the divine influence of the Spirit comes upon the heart, it is a new creation. EPH 4:24 reads, "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." After the character and similitude of God, after the image of God, it is created in righteousness and true holiness. What is created? The new man of the heart is the work of a new creation by the power of His Word. When God said, "Let there be light," there was light. When He turns on the light in us, we begin to see the depravity of our own hearts.
This new birth, or new creation, is much more than a mere notion of the natural mind, it is the Spirits work of instilling the divine nature into the soul. In 2PE 1:3-4 we read, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." As He works this new work of regeneration in the heart, we become partakers of the divine nature.
The birth of Isaac is also symbolic of the work of regeneration in that it was the source of opposition and the product of a conflict. Take notice that we see in the birth of Isaac the symbol of how God works regeneration. There develops a conflict between the old man and the new man.
GEN 21:9 says, "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking." Did you know this takes place in the work of regeneration? The old man starts mocking the new man. Old friends start mocking and jeering because they see a new principle within. They see a desire to serve a new man after the new heart. This is symbolic of the spiritual warfare after regeneration as we see in GAL 4:28-29: "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." Notice that we see in the New Testament that this conflict between Ishmael and Isaac is symbolic of the spiritual warfare in our souls.
He that is born after the flesh is going to persecute him that is born after the Spirit. See that the birth and life of Isaac is symbolic of the work of regeneration. Ishmael was at peace in his father's house until Isaac was born, and that is the way it is in the soul. That old man is at peace; were at peace with the old nature until the new man is born in the soul, but then the true character of Ishmael was revealed which is also revealed through grace.
When you find the work of grace in the soul, the true nature of Ishmael is revealed. As long as we can go along with the old man of sin, and everyone is friends, we dont see what a character he is. Watch what happens when spiritual conflict begins to arise. GAL 5:17 says, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." We notice that Ishmael starts mocking Isaac and Sarah because hes jealous. Hes beginning to see were no longer serving the flesh. Spiritual warfare sets in.
The new nature is by no means an improving of the old nature. When the work of grace is worked in the soul, it is not a matter of converting the old man (nature). The old man stays just as wretched and perverse as he ever was. The old man must be crucified. He must be cast out.
ROM 6:5-6 says, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." We dont just take sin and alter it so it isnt quite as bad as it was. The sinful old nature must be crucified. It has to be put out. We cannot serve two masters; we cannot serve God and mammon. "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Then comes the spiritual warfare. We see the symbolism of this in the birth and life of Isaac.
The body of sin, i.e., that old man of sin "...is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be," ROM 8:7, therefore, "...he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now," GAL 4:29. The old man of sin cannot be made subject to the law of God. You cannot take a person that has been regenerated and restore all of his old habits so they are amended to be compatible with the Word of God. Notice that it was the birth of Isaac that revealed the true nature of Ishmael. Ishmaels true nature was never recognized until Isaac was born. This is what happens in the new birth. A person may have a good upbringing and live a seemingly good life, but when that new birth takes place the old nature comes to light.
Lets see this principle with the apostle Paul. Paul had the most godly upbringing after the religion of the Jews. He was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel in a very strict religion. In ROM 7:9 he said, "For I was alive without the law once (If you had came to Saul before he was converted and told him he was dead in trespasses and sin, you would have met with great opposition; he was alive!): but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." All of a sudden, he saw the Ishmael in him revealed in his true character. The old man of sin in Saul was suddenly revealed. Now he began to realize what a wretch he was.
What did he mean he was alive without the law? The half-dead person cannot be convinced he is spiritually dead. See what the apostle Paul meant when he said he was alive without the law in PHI 3:4-7: "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: (Now we see his upbringing.) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." Surely, he was alive without the law. He was not spiritually dead in his own estimation because of his upbringing. Paul had a very godly upbringing, but when his eyes were opened by the new birth, everything of the flesh had to be cast out. Now the son of the bondwoman had to be cast out.
Verse 7 continues, "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." Now he sees his spiritual deadness. He was alive once without the law, but when the law came, sin revived. He sees the emptiness of his religion outside of the work of grace.
To someone who thought that the regeneration of the Spirit was merely an improving of the old, the recognition of the depravity of the heart causes them to cry out with Paul. In ROM 7:22-24 we read, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: [See the difference. Now he had a heart religion; he saw the spirit of the law.] But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind [He saw the old Ishmael that still had to be kicked out.], and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Now he is not alive without the law. He sees the death that dwells within him. Before the law came, before the light came into his soul, he was a righteous man within himself. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Then we read in GEN 21:4, "And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him."
That circumcision points to the work of regeneration and repentance. That circumcision points to the Spirit's work of the circumcision of the heart as we read in DEU 30:6, "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." Do you see the difference? Saul was circumcised the eighth day, but it was strictly a circumcision of the flesh. Now we are talking about a circumcision of the heart. That is the Spirits work, "to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." That is spiritual life that is no longer half dead. That work of regeneration, the circumcision of the heart, is passing from death unto life.
Judicially, we are circumcised in the circumcision of Christ. In other words, before the bar of Gods judgment, we see that Christ being circumcised became a debtor to do the whole law in our behalf. He suffered the penalties of the law; He took away the penalty of the law; He satisfied the law. In His circumcision, He became a debtor to do whole law on behalf of His church. Before the bar of Gods justice, we are circumcised in Christ as we read in COL 2:10-11: " And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."
The type or symbol also holds true in GEN 21:7-8. "And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." We see another symbol in the weaning of Isaac. By the new birth, we are but spiritual babes. When the work of regeneration is first wrought in the soul, we are but babes in grace, and our growth is brought about by feeding upon the spiritual milk of the Word.
However, we must not remain babes in Christ. We must go on to perfection. HEB 12-14 teaches us, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [They have never been weaned.] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." The work of regeneration is progressive; we must grow in grace and be weaned from needing the milk and go on to a diet of strong meat. The new man is born in the soul and must grow in grace. We must not remain babes. Look at the feast Abraham put on when Isaac was weaned.
1PE 2:1-3 explains, "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings [The old Ishmael must be put out.], As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." Do you understand what it is to have the sincere milk of the Word and to grow? How do we grow? We need to have our senses exercised that we might do the will of God. How do we do that? We must lay aside all malice; we must grow in grace. We must start walking in the law of love, but first all malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speakings must be put out. The Ishmael in our hearts must be put out.
As spiritual growth continues, the conflict becomes a matter of casting the bondwoman and her son out. Thats the symbol we learn now from Isaac. As he was weaned, the first thing that happened was that the bondwoman must be put out. They saw her mocking. We turn to GEN 21:9-14 to understand this principle. "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad [That is our flesh, our old nature that must be put out and crucified.], and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. [This is the line from which the Messiah will come.] And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba."
Do you understand what is taking place? It is the work of sanctification. They are no longer feeding on the milk, but they are starting to feed on the strong meat. All this fighting and bickering had to be put out. The true nature of Hagar and Ishmael is being revealed. It has to be crucified and put out.
In a spiritual sense, we need to put out the old nature and grow in grace and begin to walk in the law of love and the commandments of God. We see this in COL 3:1-10, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [The work of grace goes next to our affections; they are altered as well as our values. We are a new man. We no longer strive in the flesh.] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead."
Earlier I explained that those who are unregenerate are half dead. After the work of regeneration, you are stone dead. Youre dead to the world. Youre dead to everything of the flesh. Youre dead to everything that pertains to the things of this life, and youre alive unto Christ. Read ROM 6:3-7. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin."
What does it mean that you are dead? You are dead unto sin, "and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear [That is where our life is centered.], then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. [When you were alive without the law, you walked in them.] But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. [Ishmael was a troublemaker; he mocked Isaac, and he had to be put out. We must esteem our fellowman ahead of ourselves.] Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him," COL 3:4-10
It is so blessed to see the harmony of the Word of God. The work of regeneration makes itself evident by our attitude toward our fellowman. The regenerated person has put off these sins. Where is the evidence that a person has put on the new man? Can that person snip and snap at a brother with a heart full of bitterness and claim to have rich experiences of grace in his soul? Oh, no. The evidence of grace in a persons soul is revealed in the love he has for his neighbour. It is revealed in his love for God, and if he has love for God, the first and highest command is to love his neighbour as himself. Amen.
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