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AS MANY AS RECEIVED CHRIST

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons 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." (JOH 1:12-13)

Receiving Christ is a subject that is much misunderstood, and vitally important to salvation. In JOH 1:11 it says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." That word "received" in the original, means, there was no intimate relationship between Him and them. There was no love union or bond, as in a marriage vow. There was a heart problem, an attitude problem, and a need of repentance and they repented not.

At the conclusion of His Sermon on The Mount, our Saviour said, in MAT 7:24, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock."

Look at the conclusion of the matter. The Lord Jesus Christ, for three chapters in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7, set forth the way of salvation. He set forth true heart religion. He pointed out that a mere form of religion is not sufficient and a legal religion is not pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. We can have a legalistic bond (or a bondage), whereby we serve Him by the crack of the whip, and have no pleasure in the eyes of God at all, but the Lord wants us to serve Him from a motive of love, and from the heart. 

The Lord Jesus concludes His Sermon on the Mount saying that "whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock." (MAT 7:24)

The saying, "as many as received him," and received His sayings, believed upon Him, came under His authority (those who come to understand a true heart religion), "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [but watch] even to them that believe on his name." (JOH 1:12)

We have spoken before about the authority of that name, "Jesus." There is a holy reverence under the authority of that name.  The Lord Jesus concluded His Sermon on the Mount saying that doing what He said is building upon the rock.

When Jesus came to His own, they did not receive Him, because the True Light convicted their conscience. It caused them to turn from His presence.

In JOH 8:7-9 we see how the Pharisees, in their legal religion, brought a woman to Christ, whom they had taken in adultery. They were ready to stone her to death, executing the law, but they brought her to Christ to see what He would say. When the Lord Jesus saw that they came to Him, and asked Him what they must do, "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (JOH 8:7)

See the distinction between the legalistic, Pharisaical, letter of the Law, and the spirit of the Law. You are allowed to cast a stone at her, and kill her, but you first have to examine your own heart and sins! Make sure you’re not guilty of the same sin. "With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged…with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (MAT 7:2)

This spirit of the law is what the Pharisees did not understand. That is why they could not receive the Lord Jesus Christ, they did not believe on His name, and were not brought in submission and subjection to the authority of that blessed name, "Jesus Christ." What was it given to Him for? It was given to Him for a reward because He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. That name of authority they did not understand, they did not understand heart religion.

"Let him first cast a stone at her…" Who? "He that is without sin." In other words, are you going to sit in the judgment seat? When the Lord Jesus comes to judge the quick and the dead, you are going to be placed in the judgment seat, and it is you that is going to pass judgment upon you.

And the Lord is going to bring it, as we read in MAT 7:1-2 "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (The Sermon on the Mount is so rich when it comes to a heart religion.)

On the day of judgment when all of your sins rise up before your face, how are you going to be judged? You are going to be placed in the judgment seat. How did you judge your brother? How did you judge your friend? How did you find him worthy of mercy? Did you show mercy? You’ll receive mercy as you have shown mercy by the spirit of the law. JAM 2:13 says, "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment."

The Lord Jesus says that you that are without sin, cast the first stone at her. "And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." (JOH 8:8-9)

He said to her, "Woman where are your accusers?" He only shone a little light into the heart of those wretched Pharisees, and they didn’t have one stone to throw. These are the Pharisees, the ones who, concerning the law, were blameless. They didn’t have one stone to throw at a woman that was guilty of capital crime. Under the law she was guilty to be stoned to death. When the Lord threw just one glimpse of light into their souls, they didn’t have one stone left to throw. Do you see why they didn’t receive Him?

"And as many as received him…" as many as were brought into an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and could humble themselves and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. They could write "death" on self, they could write "death" on the world, they could write "death" on sin; "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." (JOH 1:12)

The Pharisees had much legal religion, but the True Light revealed what Jesus said in MAT 23:27-28, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." (MAT 23:27)

To the outward appearance, they were keeping the letter of the law. As far as touching the law, they were blameless. They were like whited sepulchres, but were filled with wrong attitudes. "Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." (MAT 23:28)

What the Lord Jesus Christ is wanting is a heart religion, our hearts to be right before him. To love God with all our heart, our soul, and our mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. If we want mercy we must be able to give mercy and show mercy.

To receive this kind of preaching takes God's grace, which those Pharisees lacked. On the outward appearance to men, they were holy, righteous, and just. Jesus says, "Even so ye…outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within…," that’s what the Lord looks upon, the heart. Those who received Him, were those who had a new heart granted by the grace of God. They were looking at the spirit of the law.

In PSA 26:1-2, we read, "Judge me, O LORD…" This kind of preaching is the work of grace. "Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. [then he says] Examine me, O LORD, [why?] and prove me; try my reins and my heart." (PSA 26:1-2)

Try me and see if there’s any evil way within me. That’s so much different than throwing a stone at a neighbor. He could stand before the Lord, and open his mouth unto his God, and say, "Examine my heart. I have walked in my integrity. I have walked before thee with an upright heart. Examine me, O LORD. Prove me. Try my reins and my heart." He wanted the Lord to see if there was an evil way within him. Why? That he might repent of it.

That’s the greatest principle of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This requires the "Pharisee" in every person to be crucified. It is found in MAT 10:38, "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."

We must take up our cross. We must be able to humble ourselves and become obedient unto the spirit of the law. We must be able to write "death" on self and the old man. This principle, which is the central theme of the Gospel, is the greatest hindrance to any man accepting the True Light of the Word. Look at ROM 6:6, "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."

This is what the Pharisees did not understand and why they rejected Him. They had no love for this kind of religion, a heart religion. There was no intimate relationship between them and Christ because Christ came to teach the spirit of the law.

First, let's consider who they are who do receive Christ. Our text says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

We need to take some of these words in the original to distinguish the meaning of what the Scriptures are telling us here.

The word "received," as in JOH 1:11, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not," and the word "received" in verse 12 have opposite meanings, "…as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…" What does that word "received" mean? Both Greek words are translated "received." 

The modern Gospel will tell you that as many as "accepted" the Lord Jesus, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. In verse 11, that word "received" means "accepted," but it does not mean "accepted" in verse 12.

The word "received" as it is used in JOH 1:11, "…came unto his own, and his own received him not," is taken from the Greek word, "paralambano," and it means "to associate oneself in an intimate relationship - to accept, to delight in, to receive." It does mean to "accept." "He came unto his own, and…" they did not accept Him. They did not receive Him, there was no intimate relationship between Him and them. They hated Him with a passion.

The word "paralambano" is also translated as the word "took" in MAT 8:17, which would be synonymous with "accepted" as it means in JOH 1:11.

I want you to see this in MAT 8:17, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took [or He accepted, He took upon Himself] our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." He accepted them. He took them upon Himself. That same word here, is translated as the word "took." It is something that you and I reach out and accept or take. This is to tell us, that they would not take His yoke upon them. They would not come under His reign. They would not accept or receive Him. That’s what it means in JOH 1:11.

The cure which Jesus applied to the sick and infirm, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying…[He took, or He accepted] our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses," was applied by becoming their Substitute.

Take notice in the preceding verses that He went out and cured all of these diseases. He took the curse of the broken law upon Himself. "And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. [How? The Lord Jesus took the penalty of that sin, He took the curse of that broken law, which had resulted in that disease.] And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. [Under what basis? That He became her substitute, He took her curse of the broken law and she was healed.] When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." (MAT 8:13-17)

He bare them in His own body upon the tree. He took all of what we deserved. He took all our reward of the broken law and bare that all upon the cross. The Pharisees and the Jews, the nation of Israel, refused to accept His substitutionary death, that He could write "death" upon all these things because He came to die in our place. They would not accept that.

The word "received," in JOH 1:12, where it says, "But as many as received him," is a different word. In the original, it comes from the Greek word "lambano," not "paralambano." It comes from the word "lambano" and it has a very different meaning. It doesn’t mean that as many as accepted Him received eternal life. This word "lambano," by taking other Scriptures where it is translated will show how to apply it.

To rightly understand the word "receive" in verse 12 that comes from the word "lambano", see how it is used in 1 CO 4:7, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" In other words, why do you glory as though it was of your own decision making? This is something that was received by you as a free gift. You had nothing to do with it and had done nothing to merit it.

"And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" Do you see how the word "receive" there does not mean "accept," but it means something that was given to you as a free gift, which you had nothing to do with nor were entitled to.

Another example is seen in MAT 7:8, "For every one that asketh receiveth [Again, that is "lambano."] and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

"To everyone that asks," all you have to do is accept, is not the meaning. This means if you ask, you will receive. God will grant you, and He will give you, what you’ve asked. You will receive it in His time.

Now go to MAT 10:8, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Again, that’s "lambano.") What this points out is, "you have received as a free gift, now freely give!"

In HEB 11:8 (again, we see the word "lambano."), "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." That doesn’t mean accept. That means you receive something, or come into possession of something promised as a gift.

In 1JO 2:27 we see the word "received," (the same word "lambano"). "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." This clearly shows us the meaning of the word "received" in JOH 1:12.

One more verse used to illustrate the meaning is 1 PE 4:10, "As every man hath received the gift, [I want you to see exactly how the context is] even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

In reading JOH 1:12, "but as many as received him," is exactly what Peter says in 1 PE 4:10, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another."

It is only regenerating grace that makes us to differ. It is not because I decided, or I made a decision for Christ, or because I did anything. There is nothing of merit by natural man in salvation.

Go back to 1 CO 4:7. These verses teach us that it is only of regenerating grace. "For who maketh thee to differ from another? [When do we differ? Why do we receive Christ? Because we receive.] and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" Exactly like we read in 1 PE 4:10, "As every man hath received the gift…" "…what has thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" 1 CO 4:7. As though you didn’t receive it as an unmerited free gift. Why are you glorying?

Our text says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (JOH 1:12)

That gift is what we read of in TIT 2:11-14, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." 

The gift that we receive is that holy reverence for the authority of that name. That’s the gift of salvation. That is receiving Jesus Christ. To those who have received that gift, "to them gave he power to become the sons of God."

Look at the word "power." Does that mean that I have some power of the mind? That now I can take Christ as mine, by some power of the mind? No. This word "power" comes from the Greek word "Exousia" [ex-oo-see-ah], and it means, "privileged", "freedom," "delegated influence." (What is grace? Grace is divine influence upon the heart which is revealed in your attitude and in your life.) You receive a delegated influence – that’s the gift of grace - that’s the power. The power is the power of grace upon the heart, it’s not any power that we have as creatures. They received "power to become the sons of God."

This privilege, or right, to become the sons of God, is only granted to those whom God has chosen and loved from eternity. EPH 1:4, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy…" Do you see where the choosing begins? Do you see where salvation begins?

EPH 1:4, "…as he hath chosen us in him [He hath chosen us in that blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy…" Do you see what we are predestined unto? We are predestined unto believing upon that name; in coming into holy reverence for the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

So many people say, "Well the election of God is unfair and unjust. I don’t have a chance." You tell me of one person who doesn’t have the privilege of coming under the reverent authority of Christ. It is because they will not. Their heart is bent and determined that they will not serve Him, and not because they cannot.

Now God has chosen us, "…before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." (EPH 1:4) This is what the generation of the Israelites rejected. They would not that He should reign as King over them. They would not serve Him. Why? Because there was no love.

Grace comes in when that divine influence of the Holy Spirit comes upon our heart. By the grace of God that enmity of our heart, which we have by nature, is changed and turned to love. By grace we have a desire to do the will of God. Grace works repentance of our evil deeds, brings a change of attitude, and we no longer have enmity, but we have a heart of love. Now love becomes the motive whereby those who believe upon His name, and reverence His divine authority serve him.

Those whom God has sanctified, (that is, set apart for Himself from eternity), are the ones who receive the call of the Spirit. This free gift is from the sovereign grace of God. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit. They receive the call of the Spirit.

Look at JUD 1, "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." It is those whom God has sanctified, set apart for Himself. He has chosen them before the foundation of the world. And unto those, He gives that free gift. What is that free gift? That holy reverence and love, to come under the authority and service of His Son, with a holy, reverent respect for that authority.

1CO 1:26 says, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." We are first sanctified by the Father, from the foundation of the world. We’re set apart for God and preserved in Jesus Christ.

Have you ever thought about how often, throughout your life, you have come within a hair’s breadth of being taken away and how many times the Lord has spared you? Not only from death, but from grievous sins. I think back in my own life, how, so many times, the restraining power of God’s grace has forbidden me to do what I would have done and spared me from open sin, from bringing shame upon His name, preserved in Jesus Christ and called. We have been preserved in Jesus Christ even before we received the call of the Spirit, and received God’s grace in our hearts.

We receive the call of the Spirit because we are sons. GAL 4:6, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." We don’t become sons because we have the Spirit, it is because we are sons that we receive the call of the Spirit.

They are those who are led by the Spirit of God, are sons from eternity, whom God has set apart. They are the ones who receive Him. They are the ones who receive the gift of the Gospel that is applied to the heart and receive the gift of repentance. They are the ones who receive the gift of salvation.

A right understanding of these two verses, brings them into perfect harmony with JOH 1:13, "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

See the perfect harmony. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your heart, crying, "Abba, Father." And now you see that harmony, "which were born, not of blood…"

It isn’t because you were the natural seed of Abraham. My children are not going to be converted because they’re my children, but only if they are God’s children.

They’re going to be "born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh." It isn’t a matter of "because I chose," or "because I made a decision for Christ," or "because I did anything." It’s not after "the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (JOH 1:13) That spiritual birth, that work of regeneration, of the new heart, the instilling of the Spirit of God in our hearts, to walk according to the will of God, is the new birth and is of God.

Second, let's consider how God's dear children receive Christ. JOH 1:13, "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

First we notice that we are "born." All the sons of God are born again. There’s not one human being on the face of the earth that was not originally born, and there’s not one member of the kingdom of Christ that was not first born. They were born of the Spirit, they were born of God, they were "born."

If you can tell me how much you had to do with your original birth, then I’ll explain to you how much you had to do with your spiritual birth. Just exactly the same amount. No more than you and I have had influence over whether or not we were to be born the first time, will you and I have any influence on our spiritual birth.

It is when the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, and He breaks our rebellion. He shows the sinfulness of sin and He opens our understanding to see how grievously we have offended God and how that sin separates us from God. He gives us to see the love of God and how God so loved us that He gave His own Son.

He gives us to see how the love of the Father in giving His Son, with such an exceptional love, that it makes sin become so grievously sinful. Thereby, He gives us a change of attitude. That’s what we call repentance. We come to a change of mind, our enmity becomes broken, and we learn to hate sin. This is the new birth.

That new birth is instilled in the heart, like the wind. We can feel and see the effect of it. We can feel the wind, but we don’t know where it came from or where it went to. We don’t know where this change of feeling and attitude comes from. All we know, is what we used to love, we now hate, and what we used to hate, we now love. This is the transformation that takes place in the new birth.

This is the conception in the womb of the Spirit, and there’s life before birth. Life begins with conception. And what takes place in the new birth, as well as in the first birth, is that conception brings us to a time of deliverance. Sometimes we are not able to claim salvation for ourselves. Sometimes we don’t have the faith and the liberty to take hold of Christ, and to say, "I know in whom I have believed." And yet we cannot deny this life. 

We can look, and see, that our hearts have been changed. We have different desires, we now hate sin, and it makes us grieve to offend God with our sin, and yet we don’t have the faith to take hold of Christ and to claim Him as our own. We have to come to that deliverance. We have to come into spiritual travail. Then there’s birth, we can take hold, and God can hear the cry, and we can say, "I know in whom I have believed." Then we come to a point where we become delivered. We know what it is to be born again and we can claim it for our own.

Sometimes life begins long before we can claim it for our own. We have no knowledge of where it comes from or what it is. All we know is something is different and we feel the movement. When a baby is in the womb, you can feel movement. As he matures, the movement gets stronger, and stronger, and stronger. But yet, there is not a living baby that’s been born. When the new birth really takes place, there is travail, then there’s deliverance, and we become delivered from the powers of sin and we cannot serve sin any more.

We find that we have sins that we struggle against, but have not yet been fully delivered from them. How many people have problems with being addicted to smoking, drugs, liquor, or whatever. How they struggle to be delivered from those sins, but when the Lord has come to where He has granted us that new birth, He delivers us from the power of those sins. Then we can say, "Christ is formed in me." Then we can come forth to be baptized. We have been delivered from the power of sin. Look in ROM 6:3, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"

When you come forth to be baptized, you come publicly out and say, "I have been born again," then you can say, "I have become dead to sin. Sin no longer reigns in my life. I no longer serve sin." Now we are "…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." (ROM 6:3b-4)

You’re making a profession. Coming before the world to declare that you have been delivered from the power of sin, and no longer have the power of sin leading your life. Now you are able to say that even so we walk in newness of life. That’s being born again. That’s coming to the birth of the Spirit. "…Born not of…flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (JOH 1:13)

Jesus said to us in JOH 3:5, "…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." You cannot serve God until you’ve been born again. You cannot enter His kingdom, or walk under His kingship, until you have been delivered from the power of sin.

All God's adopted sons are regenerated. They have this work of the Spirit. TIT 3:3-5, "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts…" He says, "We ourselves…were." Do you see that this implies the deliverance from these things. "We…were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, [Did you know that living in malice and envy is a horrible, damning sin? We were!] hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, [How?] by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."

The Holy Spirit has now renewed our hearts and we are no longer serving these sins of disobedience, lusts, pleasures, malice, envy, and hatefulness. When you come forth to be baptized, what you’re really saying is, "I’ve been delivered from that. Now, by the grace of God, I no longer serve those sins." That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with them or still have to wrestle against these sins, but we no longer serve them.

The Word again uses the negative to show the positive, "Which were born, not of blood." So, it was not of blood lines, but it was of the grace of God. This new birth does not descend through the blood lines of our fathers as the pollution of original sin.

We see that in GEN 5:3, "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth." Adam had a son in his own likeness, and what was his likeness? A fallen sinner, one who had fallen from their original state of conciliation with God. You do not receive the new birth through those blood lines.

Even after the work of regeneration is worked in a soul, this sanctified soul does not beget a son in that likeness. You may have had the work of grace in your heart, and as my dear mother said that never one of her children were born without having many, many prayers that went before the throne of grace for that unborn child, still an unregenerate sinner. Yet, you do not inherit that Spirit of Christ through the blood lines. It is not of blood, but the fruit of the Spirit.

The Jewish belief is that regeneration is inherited through Abraham. The Lord Jesus taught this is untrue. The new birth, or work of regeneration, is not affected by the choice or the will of man which labors under the spiritual death of Adam's fall. There are many who teach that to be sprinkled into the covenant of Abraham, means God, the Father, seals unto us. Gives us the seal of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that we are loved.

However, the covenant of circumcision was a covenant of obedience, which was sealed in the Lord Jesus Christ when He was circumcised. We read in COL 2:9-11, that therein was where circumcision availed, and that is in the circumcision of Christ. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, [I do not become complete by being sprinkled into Abraham, who has nothing to do with my salvation. I am complete in the Lord Jesus Christ] which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised [I want you to see that: you are circumcised. How? Look at the last part of that verse,] …by the circumcision of Christ." (COL 2:9-11)

When the Lord Jesus Christ was circumcised, He became a debtor to do the whole law. By His perfect obedience being imputed to you and I, we become circumcised in Him, thereby fulfilling the law with perfection. How? By the imputed righteousness of Christ.

Abraham needed the perfect righteousness of Christ just as much as you and I did. We do not receive it by blood or from Abraham, but from Christ. The new birth and the work of regeneration is not by our choice, not by "…the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man." It is not by blood lines or our own choice, but by the will of God.

As seen before, EPH 1:4 says, "According as he hath chosen us in him [that is in Christ -- not Abraham] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."

It is the work of regenerating grace that makes one of Adam's fallen race willing to walk in holiness. It is the regenerating work of the Spirit, the new birth, that brings us to where we believe on His name. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (JOH 1:12)

When the Holy Spirit comes with the power of His work of grace in our hearts, and He works in us to will and do of God’s good pleasure, we are thereby made willing, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth." (PSA 110:3) It is all the free gift of God that we have received. That word "received," is that you have received it as a free gift.

This new birth is not by the will of man. 1PE 1:23 says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, [Do you see how we’re born?] which liveth and abideth for ever." It is when the Word of God is applied by the Holy Spirit that we learn to understand the will of God and the power of sin. We learn to flee the power of sin and receive the gift of repentance.

Our spiritual birth, as well as our natural birth, is without any contribution on our part. Look at 1JO 3:1-3, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

It is through this blessed hope that the Spirit works the new willingness to serve Christ. When the Lord gives us to see the hope that we have of eternal life, it gives us that willingness to serve Christ, and our desires after holiness are instilled in our hearts.

1JO 3:3 says, "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." It is when the Lord gives us to see the hope that we have in Christ that we receive that purification.

This purification is essential to adoption, for we cannot expect the love of God to dwell in us, except we have something of His likeness. This likeness is brought about in our hearts as our tender loving Father deals with us, as He deals with children.

HEB 12:5-6, "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." We have to learn to see that it is by the working of God’s grace, that He comes with His loving hand upon us, and weans us from the things that our heart is so united to in this life.

It is through this Fatherly faithfulness that God's people are made willing to serve Him. HEB 12:11 says, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." As the Lord exercises us with this grace, with His chastening hand, our rebellion is broken and we come in harmony with His will.

We are not saved because we accept Jesus as Lord, but we accept Him as Lord because we are saved. GAL 4:6, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." It’s because we are sons. We don’t become sons because we accept, but we accept because we are sons. That’s why we have a desire, that’s why our will is changed, that’s why we want to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, because we are sons.  Amen.


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