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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

John 3:5, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

This morning, there are many people that have the order so terribly wrong with how people are born again and come to a knowledge of conversion. Here, the order laid out about as simply as language can make it. Our Lord did not seek to confuse Nicodemus with this language, but rather showed him the prerequisite for knowledge, sight, pressing in, and seeking after spiritual things. The spiritual things (seen by faith) can only be sought after the indwelling of the Spirit comes into someone and regenerates them. Those who teach the reverse cannot reconcile the order of this verse or verse 3. The regeneration (new birth) happens, and then it is possible (not guaranteed) that someone can see and press into the kingdom here in time.

Perhaps the reason that this is on my mind this morning, is that there is a "religious saying" that seems to be gaining a lot of speed and popularity. I first saw it a few years ago, and I seem to see it more and more every year. It says, "Be ye fishers of men - you catch 'em, and he'll clean 'em." Their analogy is quite off in my opinion, because unless they have already been cleaned from the filth that reigns in these mortal bodies, there is no way for a gospel minister to catch ANY man that has ever lived.  

Notice in the Bible that the Lord ALWAYS prepares the way for the gospel minister. He prepared the way for Philip with the Ethiopian eunuch, for Paul with Lydia, for Peter with Cornelius, etc. This is ALWAYS the prerequisite. Unless the Lord has been there first, we labour in vain in our efforts. Now, how does the Lord prepare the hearts of His people? He speaks about this in this verse and also in Ezekiel 36:25-26 and Titus 3:5. The Lord washes us in water (from His Son, not the baptistery), changes out our stony heart for a fleshy one, and puts His Spirit within us. That set of events (happening instantaneously) is what EVERY single child of grace will experience between conception and the grave.  This act (just like all the other aspects of eternal salvation) are completely passive on the part of man and active on the part of God.  

Then, AFTER this occurrence has taken place, it is possible for this regenerate man to seek after the things of God. This is NOT something that all children of God will engage in. However, they will no longer prosper in their sinful condition (even if they stubbornly follow after it). As Christ told Paul, "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Therefore, cleaning MUST take place before the catching. May we ever seek the truth, and not follow after the "cute" sayings that man devises.

In Hope,

Bro Philip