About the intimate workings of the Holy Spirit in the human heart there is a highly personal relationship in which no third person can share. The sacred work of redemption was wrought in darkness. No strange eye could see what was taking place when the sins of the world entered the holy soul of Christ that He might die under their weight and thus make "his life a guilt offering" (Isaiah 53:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 27:46).
That there is a deep mystery about the new birth is plainly stated by our Lord.
"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." "How can this be"? Nicodemus asked. "You are Israel"s teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things" I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things"? (John 3:8-12).
It is bordering on the irreverent to suggest that this sovereign work of the Spirit can be induced at the will of a personal worker by means of a textual recipe. The moment this is attempted, the Spirit withholds His illumination and leaves the worker and the seeker to their own designs. And the tragic consequences are all about us.
All any Christian worker can do is to point the inquirer to "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (1:29). That was all John the Baptist did. He did not attempt to create faith in any of his hearers. The Spirit alone can open the heart, as John well knew. It is our task to arrest the sinner"s attention, give him the message of the cross, urge him to receive it and meet its conditions. After that the seeker is on his own. The individual is out of the hands of the instructors and helpers and in the hands of the God with whom he has to do.
Be the first to react on this!
Persons out of Christ often try to comfort themselves with the remembrance that they have never in their lives committed any really great sin. Little trifling acts of wrongdoing perhaps, but nothing of any consequence, so surely God will overlook their rather insignificant transgressions when He settles their accounts.
In the first place, a man's status before God is decided not by the number and enormity of his sins but by whether those sins have or have not been forgiven, whether he is on God's side or the side of the devil.
The soldier who mutinies is held responsible for his mutiny even if he does nothing more than stand up and let himself be counted among the rebels. His crime lies in his break with his superiors and his willingness to go along with the enemies of his country. That he performs no extraordinary feats of violence may mean no more than that he is an ordinary fellow incapable of great deeds of any sort for or against his country.
Get the daily Bible verse every day in your inbox!
Read on Mobile
6200 2nd St NWWashington, DC 20011