THE KING’S BUSINESS
of God” belongs to the latter, and that if any man is to enter into it, he must first have a birth of a corre sponding character ( “born of the Spirit”) that fits him for life and en joyment in the kingdom which he has entered. By the Spirit of God quick ening our human spirit we are united to God and Heaven and thus (and thus alone) we are fitted to see and enter into “the kingdom of God,” but by “the flesh” we are united to the earth and are not able to apprehend or enter “the kingdom of God.” Our Lord did not say that, “that which is born of the flesh is fleshly.” No, He puts it much more strongly than that, He says, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh,” i. e., the child does not merely partake of the qualities of the parent, he partakes of the very na ture of the parent, he is what the parent is. But this is equally true on the other side when he gets a new parent, i. e„ when he gets God for his parent (when he is “born anew”), he then gets the nature of God (2 Peter 1:4), and, therefore, our Lord says, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (riot merely spiritual).” Born into this world “of the flesh,” by mere natural generation through our human parents, we are born with a mind that is blind to the truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14),. with a will set against the will of God (Rom. 8:7) i. e., a will bent on pleasing self rather than on pleasingTlod (note that what pleases self may not be something which in itself is low or bad. It may be something refined and lofty, but pleasing self rather than pleasing God is the very essence of sin. The thing that pleased Eve when she chose her own way rather than God’s, and thus plunged the whole race into ruin, was something high in itself, to be wise,” Gen. 3.6), with affections that are corrupt (Gal. 5:19-21). But when we are “born again,” “born anew,” “born out of water and the Spirit,”
then we get the mind of the Spirit (Rom. 8:6, R. V.), a mind that thinks God’s thoughts after Him, we get also the will of the Spirit (a will set on pleasing God at any cost) and the affections of the Spirit (holy af fections, God’s own affections, Gal. 5:22, 23). The “born anew” man is indeed “a new creation”. (2 Cor. 5 :17). The doctrine which our Lord here teaches, Nicodemus in the' pride of his heart found it very hard to accept, and men to-day in the pride of their hearts find it very hard to accept it. Men usually are willing to admit their guilt, but when they come to admit ting their total depravity, i. e., their total impotency in the things of God, and to please God at all until by the direct, supernatural work of the Spirit they are “born from above,” they balk. All sorts of twisting and squirming and dodging are resorted to to escape the plain meaning of the momentous words which our Lord uses here. Even some of the pro fessors in a theological seminary of the denomination which has. made the doctrine of the New Birth more prominent in its teaching than almost any other denomination would have us believe that the children of Chris tian parents are born into the king dom and do not need to be born again, but simply to be trained up in the kingdom into which they were born by being born of Christian parents. But here stand, the words of our Lord, “That which is born of the flesh is f l e s h a n d with these words of our Lord evangelical Christianity stands or falls. These words of Christ, how ever, and with them evangelical Christianity, will stand; for universal experience proves the need of the new birth (the experience of children born of the godliest parents, as well as those born of the most vicious), and the experience of all who truly accept the Lord Jesus proves the possibility and actuality of the new birth.
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