Regeneration is that act of God by which the governing disposition of the soul is made holy, and by which, through the truth as a means, the first holy exercise of this disposition is secured.
Regeneration, or the new birth, is the divine side of that change of heart or which we call conversion if viewed from the human side. It is God?s turning the soul to himself, conversion being the soul?s turning itself to God; God?s turning it is both the accompaniment and cause. It will be observed from the above definition, that there are two aspects of regeneration, in the first of which the soul is passive, in the second of which the soul is active. God changes the governing disposition, in this change the soul is simply acted upon. God secures the initial exercise of this disposition in view of the truth, in this change the soul itself acts. Yet these two parts of God?s operation are simultaneous. At the same moment that he makes the soul sensitive, he pours in the light of his truth and induces the exercise of the holy disposition he has imparted.
This distinction between the passive and the active aspects of regeneration is necessitated, as we shall see, by the twofold method of representing the change in Scripture. In many passages the change is ascribed wholly to the power of God; the change is a change in the fundamental disposition of the soul. There is no use of means. In other passages we find truth referred to as an agency employed by the Holy Spirit, and the mind acts in view of this truth. The distinction between these two aspects of regeneration seems to be intimated in <490205>Ephesians 2:5, 6 ? ?made us alive together with Christ? and ?raised us up with him.? Lazarus must first be made alive, and in this he could not cooperate but he must also come forth from the tomb, and in this he could be active. In the old photography, the plate was first made sensitive, and in this the plate was passive, then it was exposed to the object and now the plate actively seized upon the rays of light which the object emitted.
By availing ourselves of the illustration from photography, we may compare God?s initial work in the soul to the sensitizing of the plate, his next work to the pouring in of the light and the production of the picture. The soul is first made receptive to the truth then it is enabled actually to
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