receive the truth. But the illustration fails in one respect; it represents the two aspects of regeneration as successive. In regeneration there is no chronological succession. At the same instant that God makes the soul sensitive, he also draws out its new sensibility in view of the truth. Let us notice also that, as in photography, the picture however perfect needs to be developed and this development takes time, so regeneration is only the beginning of God?s work. Not all the dispositions, but only the governing disposition, is made holy. There is still need that sanctification should follow regeneration and sanctification is a work of God, which lasts for a whole lifetime. We may add that ?heredity affects regeneration as the quality of the film affects photography, and environment affects regeneration as the focus affects photography.? (W. T. Thayer).
Sacramentarianism has so obscured the doctrine of Scripture that many persons who gave no evidence of being regenerate are quite convinced that they are Christians. Uncle John Vassar therefore never asked: ?Are you a Christian?? but always: ?Have you ever been born again?? E. G. Robinson: ?The doctrine of regeneration, aside from sacramentarianism, was not apprehended by Luther or the Reformers, was not indeed wrought out till Wesley taught that God instantaneously renewed the affections and the will.? We get the doctrine of regeneration mainly from the apostle John, as we get the doctrine of justification mainly from the apostle Paul. Stevens, Johannine Theology, 366 ? ?Paul?s great words are justification and righteousness; John?s are, birth from God and life. But, for both Paul and John, faith is life-union with Christ.?
Stearns, Evidence of Christian Experience, 134 ? ?The sinful nature is not gone, but its power is broken, sin no longer dominates the life. It has been thrust from the center to the circumference; it has the sentence of death in itself. the man is freed, at least in potency and promise. 218 ? An activity may be immediate, yet not unmediated. God?s action on the soul may be through the sense, yet still be immediate, as when finite spirits communicate with each other.? Dubois, in Century Magazine, Dec. 1894:233 ? ?Man has made his way up from physical conditions to the consciousness of spiritual needs. Heredity and environment fetter him. He needs spiritual help. God provides a spiritual environment in regeneration. As science is the verification of the ideal in nature, so religion is the verification of the spiritual in human life.? Last sermon of Seth K. Mitchell on Revelations 21:5 ? ?Behold, I make all things new? ? ?God first makes a new man, then gives him a new heart, then a new commandment. He also gives a new body, a new name, a new robe, a new song, and a new home.?
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