September 19, 1911
Brother J. A. Cobb, of Bond, Ala., asks us this
question: "When does the new birth take place? Is it at the time one is
quickened, or is it when one is delivered from the burden of sin and
guilt?'' Different figures are used in Scripture representing the work
of regeneration. Although different figures are used, they all represent
one thing, and that one thing is becoming in possession of eternal life,
or the impartation of that life. Becoming in possession of eternal life
is represented in Scripture as a birth, as a resurrection, as a
creation, as a translation, as a deliverance, etc. All these different
figures represent the same thing. To quicken is to make alive from the
dead. It is to raise up out of a state of death into a state of life. It
is a resurrection. See (Ephesians 2:1-6). This is an instantaneous work.
This is done by the Lord speaking to them, and when He speaks to them He
imparts the divine life. See (John 5:25).
The lesson taught in all these figures is that
the sinner is passive in receiving eternal life. We cannot very well get
more out of a figure than is intended to be taught in it. The very fact
that a child cries is unmistakable proof that a living child has been
born. So when one begins to mourn on account of sin and to cry unto the
Lord, begging for mercy, it is positive proof that he has been born of
God. Then one may ask, "Why does he mourn if he has been born of God?''
We answer, Because he does not know he has been born of God. When the
fact is made known to him that Jesus is his Saviour and that he has been
born of God, then he rejoices. The fact is one thing, and the knowledge
of the fact is another thing.
Our brethren all agree that the sinner is
passive in receiving eternal life, and that it is by the sovereign will
and work of Almighty God. This is the fundamental point, and we are all
agreed on it. We should not, therefore, cavil over the minor matters. C.