Thursday, January 8, 2015

A New Life

The sacred writings frequently point out the analogy between natural and spiritual things. The same Spirit, which in the creation of the world moved upon the face of the waters, operates on the human character to produce a new heart and a new life. By this operation the affections and faculties of the man receive a new impulse, his dark understanding is illuminated, his rebellious will is subdued, his irregular desires are rectified; his judgment is informed, his imagination is chastised, his inclinations are sanctified; his hopes and fears are directed to their true and adequate end. Heaven becomes the object of his hopes, and eternal separation from God the object of his fears. His love of the world is transformed into the love of God. The lower faculties are pressed into the new service. The senses have a higher direction. The whole internal frame and constitution receive a nobler bent; the intents and purposes of the mind, a sublimer aim; his aspirations, a loftier flight; his vacillating desires find a fixed object; his vagrant purposes a settled home; his disappointed heart a certain refuge. That heart, no longer the worshiper of the world, is struggling to become its conqueror. Our blessed Redeemer, in overcoming the world, bequeathed us his command to overcome it also; but as he did not give the command without the example, so he did not give the example without the offer of a power to obey the command.

Genuine religion demands not merely an external profession of our allegiance to God, but an inward devotedness of ourselves to his service. It is not a recognition, but a dedication. It puts the Christian into a new state of things, a new condition of being. It raises him above the world, while he lives in it. It disperses the illusions of sense, by opening his eyes to realities, in the place of those shadows which he has been pursuing. It presents this world as a scene whose original beauty sin has darkened and disordered; man as a helpless and dependent creature; Jesus Christ as the repairer of all the evils which sin has caused, and as our restorer to holiness and happiness. Any religion short of this, any at least which has not this for its end and object, is not that religion which the Gospel has presented to us, which our Redeemer came down on earth to teach us by his precepts, to illustrate by his example, to confirm by his death, and to consummate by his resurrection.

[Hannah More]

Ezekiel 36:26 ...  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ... Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Colossians 3:1-3 ... If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

1 John 5:4 ... For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1 Peter 1:3 ... Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,